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Each year we mourn the loss of many Firefighters due to heart attacks on the job. This being a preventable incident to a large degree, why have we not put this above the "toys" we continue to purchase in our budgets and how do we justify the purchase over ones health ? We can afford aluminum wheels on our fire truck, but we cant afford a physical to make sure our members get home. Your Thoughts ?

Stay Safe !! Dennis

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I agree. We have our yearly fit test that encompasses a health survey, blood pressure, heart rate and a lung volume test but no real physical. Everyone is jumping on the seatbelt bandwagon but we loose a lot more brothers due to heart attacks.
As far as price goes Deborah Heart and Lung Hospital runs a program for New Jersey Firefighters.

Below are a link and some information from their site.

“A Gift from Captain Buscio,” which began in Jersey City and now spans across the State of New Jersey to offer strictly confidential comprehensive medical evaluations with no out-of-pocket cost to all firefighters and officers.
This is the web site. I had trouble linking it to the above post.
http://www.deborah.org/new/p+c/buscio.html
Hi Steve,

I personally met Mrs Busico in Wildwood NJ at the Firemans Convention when my son was receiving a scholarship and spoke to her for a period of time in 2004. This physical is very indepth as well as intense but when you are done you truly know wear you stand. There are some of us wanting to take this but have scheduling conflicts. I have a physical each year at my cost as well as the Prostate and colon. I am a fan of preventitave Medicine but unless you have insurance you know it's not getting done. And we know the insurance problem nationwide as well as in NJ. It would be nice if the next budget that is put together by Commissioners, Chiefs or Administrators can include a line item for physicals so when the new toys come in we know the men will be alive to play with them. The physical is free if you have no insurance and only bill your insurance co for what they cover if you do. The stress test is intense !!

Stay Safe !! Dennis
G******** all -

Call me silly, but while I agree that the municipalities and the commissioners of our service are responsible to keep us in a medical surveillance program, how many of us are trying to do the right thing on our own? Does your department have an exercise program, and equipment? Is it being used? Our department has adopted guidelines that require all on-duty personnel to participate in some sort of physical cardiovascular activity for 30 minutes at a minimum. I give my guys all the time they want in the exercise room, it is an investment in their future.

Every time you spend some time on the treadmill, or walking around town, doing something, you are lessening the potential of heart disease. Combine that with a healthy diet at the fire station and you are well on your way to a positive change in your health. Our meals yesterday at work was Grilled Chicken Salad for lunch, with Turkey Burgers and roasted potato wedges for dinner. Not too bad.

As far as the medical program ,I have my doctor keep up with my medical info as well. I just completed a nuclear stress test two months ago, just because I am a firefighter. Insurance covered it, and the peace of mind it gives you is priceless. So, when push comes to shove, remember it is OUR health we are fighting about, so let's make it OUR responsibility too.

DIESEL
Hey Mike,

It's been quite some time, had you as one of my instructors in a couple classes as well as High Angle Rescue,Rigging,Knots. I agree with you 100% it is our responsiblity to maintain our health ,but it seems as Volunteer FF's we get the short end of the stick most of the time. A small incentive goes a long way to changing the attitudes of many, especially thoes who Volunteer and have no health insurance. Our Dept. has no policy for health or fitness after many attempts to get one. My station gym equipment and kitchen was removed to store another piece of apparatus that is hardly used. Most All members of my company train in various ways to maintain health but many cannot afford the physicals. I walk my 2 dogs 3 plus miles with the wife and have a tread mill and wilder bowflex machine. My son also a firefighter goes to a gym and found out Middletown FD has a program with a gym for a small fee the district pays for, they use the gym and receive credit for fitness training and other family members get a discount also. Just that small incentive has changed attitudes for many to the benifit of their health as well as the community. A non District Dept the money just seems never to be there. We are truly responsible for ourselves, but a little help never hurts. The Middletown program is my next attempt !

Thanks for the reply !!

STAY SAFE !! Dennis
Dennis - seems as though the powers that be should put more emphasis on the health of their members, whether career or volunteer. I do 3 plus miles with my 18 month old in the stroller in front of me, plus I own an elliptical machine that supplements my workout in the firehouse. at least we are trying, and that makes a big difference.

Good luck, hope you can change their minds.

DIESEL
I just receive this Report of the week from the Firefighter Near-Miss Reporting system
Report Number: 08-0000091
Report Date: 02/16/2008 02:10
Synopsis
Annual physical saves firefighter's life
Event Description
Department member was participating in annual physical. Physical consists of comprehensive program as outlined in the IAFF Wellness-Fitness Initiative and follows NFPA 1582: Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments. Abnormality noted during cardiac evaluation. Member followed up with specialist and was confirmed to have significant problem requiring immediate surgical intervention. Surgery was successful. Fire department physician's evaluation and recommendation along with member's immediate follow up are credited with saving member's life.
Lessons Learned
The role of a comprehensive annual medical evaluation program for firefighters cannot be ignored. All operational firefighters should be required to obtain an annual physical that includes a cardiac stress test and pulmonary function evaluation. Heeding the recommendation of the fire department physician will save your life. The IAFF Wellness-Fitness Initiative and NFPA 1582 are two proven documents for improving firefighter longevity.
So why don’t we get them? $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ Poor excuse, but it’s true.
DON’T be the next one, BE safe!
Richard

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