The job of a firefighter is inherently dangerous and always associated with some risk—both acute and chronic. Our Safety, Health and Survival Section, along with many other elements of the IAFC and sister organizations have worked tirelessly to improve firefighter safety over the past few decades.
Without a doubt, cancer, cardiovascular health and physical fitness are topics of conversation happening much more frequently around the kitchen tables of fire stations across the world. However, we still have much left to accomplish!
I challenge each of you to do more to improve the health of our firefighters. A shining opportunity is participation in 2018’s Safety Stand Down, which takes place this coming week, June 17-23. The theme for the 2018 Safety Stand Down is “Be Aware – Get Checked.”
The theme focuses on understanding, implementing and monitoring a comprehensive annual medical/physical for firefighters and navigating the Road Map to Firefighter Health and Wellness.
I commend our Safety, Health and Survival Section and the National Volunteer Fire Council for assembling excellent Safety Stand Down resources this year. The resources are designed to increase awareness among firefighters about how to educate their physicians on risks, where to go for the latest information on the IAFC occupational hazard profile and how to access available resources about annual physicals.
For too long, fire chiefs have been distracted by the chronic and pressing issues of the day—budgets, apparatus, staffing and the like. We can’t forget that the physical and mental health of our members is paramount to public safety. We must protect our most important investment, our firefighters, by providing creative and comprehensive opportunities to keep them healthy and physically prepared to do this job.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that your own personal health sets an important example for firefighters. We can all eat a more healthfully, exercise a little more frequently and eliminate unhealthy behavior. Challenge yourself to make a difference not just for your firefighters, but for yourself as well.
Fire Chief Thomas C. Jenkins V
President and Chairman of the Board