Safety, Health And Survival Section Spotlight: Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue

In 2015, Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue, led by Battalion Chief Jo-Ann Lorber, wrote in Life Scan Physicals for the FY2015 Assistance to Firefighters Grant. Once awarded with the grant, they went on to build physicals into their annual plan across the department. Story follows…

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How did you implement this safety and health program?

Life Scan Physicals was written for the FY2015 Assistance to Firefighters Grant. We were awarded the grant in August 2015 in which we initiated the actual physicals in May 2016. When the grant was written, we asked for additional tests to be done for our personnel so that we could get a baseline on all of our members. We included Hepatitis A, B and C, Quantiferon (TB testing), chest and lumbar x-rays and heavy metals/Cholinestrese testing.

Life Scan Wellness Centers’ health/wellness program is an integrated medical approach to firefighter exams that combines an annual physical with life-saving, early detection testing for major diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and aneurysms before they reach catastrophic level. It provides our personnel with a thorough assessment of their health as well as recommendations for achieving and maintaining long term health and managing medical risk. Life Scan physicals comply with NFPA 1582 guidelines and the IAFF/IAFC Wellness Fitness Initiative (WFI).

O2X is a new program that we are just starting this year. So far we have sent 12 employees to the four (4) day training. We will be having a functional mobility and body composition test coming up at the end of March. All employees will have access to an app that is available for iPhone and Android. We are looking at budgeting for the future by actually hiring an O2X Human Performance Specialist that can provide one-on-one training within the department and there is a possibility of collaborating with other fire rescue agencies in our County to keep the costs down for each agency.

At Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue (FLFR), there is wide agreement that our personnel need to have high levels of wellness and fitness so they are ready to respond at a moment’s notice to the wide range of fire, rescue and emergency medical calls that transpire daily. Unfortunately, evidence suggests the fire service is plagued with high rates of overweight and obesity, low fitness, metabolic syndrome, poor cholesterol profiles and high rates of cancer. Being a CFAI accredited fire rescue agency, one of our core competencies is that we establish and ensure that we keep a wellness/fitness program. 

Who can be contacted for more information about these health and wellness programs?

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The IAFC Safety, Health and Survival (SHS) Section is committed to reducing injuries and deaths in our fire service. Does your department have a program that has resulted in improved health and safety of your personnel? We want to share it! Fill out this brief survey and you may be the next spotlight.

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