Volunteer Fire Departments Face Hurdles in Improving Members’ Health

By Ryan T. Harding   One of the many challenges volunteer fire departments face is the health and fitness levels of their members. Although this is a pressing issue, the vast majority of volunteer fire departments are doing little to address it, and the logistical and regulatory burdens surrounding this task further hinder the development of these programs. Background Volunteer fire departments make up the majority of the fire service. According to the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), of the 1,140,750 firefighters nationwide, 69 percent are volunteers. Additionally, of the 30,052 fire departments in the United States, 85 percent are staffed mostly or entirely by volunteers.1 V...

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