Understanding and using NFPA 1582 and the IAFF/IAFC Wellness Fitness Initiative
Information and sample documents to assist with the education and implementation of an annual medical evaluation program.
It's a significant fact that annually nearly half of all firefighter fatalities occur as a result of medical emergencies. The severe physical nature firefighting and the harsh environmental conditions where firefighters perform their duties dramatically increases susceptibility to stress and overexertion. Many of these deaths could potentially be avoided through early detection of underlying medical conditions by an annual routine medical examination.
The economic costs associated with a firefighter's death far outstrip the costs of ensuring that firefighters receive an annual medical examination. Put simply, firefighters' lives are worth far more than the cost of implementing a wellness-fitness program that starts with an annual physical. Knowing this, the IAFC's position is that every firefighter receives an annual medical examination and that this examination follows as closely as possible the guidance of NFPA 1582.
Chiefs have an obligation to find funding sources and develop creative strategies to ensure the safety of their personnel. The IAFC Safety, Health, and Survival Section compiled this guide to support that responsibility.