The Gift from Captain Buscio Program provides medical screenings at no cost, including a stress test, pulmonary function test, EKG, bloodwork, etc. The program was started by Donna Buscio, the wife of Domenick Buscio, a Jersey City fire captain who, at the age of 39 suffered a fatal heart attack while on a family ski vacation.
How did you implement this safety and health program?
Bloomfield Fire Department has for about the last 15 years been actively trying to improve the health and wellness of all our firefighters. It began when we were awarded a grant that allowed us to send all firefighters for a full cardiac screening and a consult with a nutritionist. The life of one of our firefighters was saved by the cardiac screening when multiple blockages were found and he was sent for open heart surgery. Without the screening his issues most likely would have gone undetected, and he would have eventually suffered a heart attack. One of the most important parts of our wellness program is now encouraging our members to participate in the Gift from Captain Buscio Program. Through her personal tragedy, Donna started this program for firefighters. The program has been expanded to four locations in New Jersey and now accepts all first responders, their families and friends. This program is an outstanding tool to try to identify cardiac issues that may have gone undetected otherwise.
We have also been updating the fitness equipment in all firehouses. We've purchased new equipment through grants and have sold or scrapped old equipment to fund the purchase of new equipment. We encourage and allow time for all firefighters to work out during their shift. We have brought in fitness trainers and yoga instructors to offer group workouts while on duty. Now we are bringing in other fitness professionals like Firefighter Functional Fitness to offer classes to our firefighters while on duty that will teach them about fitness, stretching and nutrition.
Lastly, we have purchased gear washers and dryers and are attempting to purchase more for other stations to ensure all members are cleaning gear regularly in order to avoid exposure to carcinogens and other hazards that are present on dirty gear.
Our program has helped to stress the importance of health and wellness to all of our firefighters. It also shows that the department believes in it and cares about the health of all our firefighters
Who can be contacted for more information about these health and wellness programs?
Contact Fire Chief Lou Venezia for information on on any of our programs. First responders in New Jersey can also visit the Gift from Captain Buscio Program to find out more.
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.