IAFC Position: Health and Fitness Programs for Every Department
Every Fire Chief Should Adopt and Implement a Comprehensive Health and Fitness Program for their Department
The NFPA 1500 Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program clearly outlines the necessity and mechanisms for establishing a departmental health and fitness program. Compliance with this standard is important because the overall health and fitness of every firefighter is a critical component of a department’s operational capabilities.
Data has demonstrated that heart attacks and strokes are a leading cause of firefighter deaths and there is an alarming increase in the nature and extent of cancer cases directly linked to a firefighter’s exposure to hazardous environments. Since firefighter injuries and sudden cardiac deaths can be dramatically reduced with a comprehensive health and fitness program, the measurable benefits of such a health and fitness program are cost effective forboth the community and the fire department.
Every fire chief should adopt and implement a comprehensive health and fitness program, to include annual medical evaluations and cancer screenings that meet NFPA 1582, to ensure the safety and well-being of every firefighter under his/her jurisdiction and should personally pledge to participate in the same program, along with the firefighters, to demonstrate his/her commitment.
ADOPTED BY: IAFC Board of Directors, August 2009