Reducing Firefighter Fatalitys One Heart at a Time

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Reducing the Number of Firefighter Fatalities One Heart at A Time I doubt that anyone would argue with the statement that firefighting is a dangerous occupation. The natural reaction of most is to flee from a burning building, but firefighters are not most people. Firefighters risk their lives on a day-to-day basis rushing to the scene of an emergency, fighting blazing fires, and entering burning buildings; it is hard to believe that the number one cause of line-of-duty deaths is cardiac events (FEMA, 2011).
The fire service is constantly changing and evolving to reduce the number of preventable accidents. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) states, “Through research, study, training, improved operations, development of new technologies, the appropriate use of staffing, and other factors, it should be possible to significantly reduce the number of firefighters killed each year (2012).” Firefighters are no longer allowed to ride on the side or back of the fire truck as a measure of safety to protect them from being thrown from the vehicle. That seems like a common sense idea, but what has the fire service done to address the issue of cardiac arrest? In 2011, nearly sixty percent of firefighter fatalities were related to cardiac emergencies (FEMA, 2012). The fire service is always coming up with new ideas and standards to reduce the number of firefighters who perish from burns, smoke inhalation, building collapse, and many other hazards that firefighters face, but heart attacks are killing more personnel than all of those combined. This should be the fire service’s number one concern. Although not all heart attacks are preventable, The American Heart Association, Red Cross, Surgeon General, and many other professionals agree that by controlling ones diet and exercising regularly, you can greatly reduce the risk of cardiac problems. Firefighters are subjected to a number of health risks that naturally increases their chances of having cardiac problems.

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