Firefighter Moore has battled cancer not once, but twice. The brotherhood and sisterhood supported him from the beginning.
As firefighters, we recognize that preplanning a building is a necessity. We learn how it is laid out, what the pitfalls are, how to best attack the fire based on the building, and how to have a successful outcome. I know from experience that it’s not the premiere training like live-fire training, saving our own, technical rescue, and it probably ranks below throwing ladders. Yet when responding to a possible fire, that little book of preplans is a wealth of knowledge and a possible lifesaver. My question to all of you in the fire and EMS organizations: have you preplanned your life in the event of a mental health crisis?
The topic of cancer and how it relates to the fire service is one that has been front page news for quite some time. It is no secret that we as firefighters are at a much higher risk to contract a host of cancers. Much time has been spent communicating the importance of washing and decontaminating our gear after we leave a fire. However, I pose the question: "Is laundering our gear enough to reduce our risk?”
Mental illness has been characterized in movies and television as raging, grandiose individuals. Sometimes that does occur, but it’s in a fraction of the population with mental illness today.
After 20-plus years in sports medicine, strength and conditioning, and tactical fitness there are not many times I walk away from a conference with a treasure trove of new and updated science.
When we talk about firefighter wellness, there always seems to be the debate as to what constitutes health? I sometimes struggle with Safety and Health Week, as I do with Fire Prevention Week, as to how we become more sensitive to the issue by proclaiming a week in its honor when we are actually dealing with a 365-day challenge to define and address our firefighters’ health.
We work day after day with our fellow firefighters and know them better than anyone else. And we all know firefighters who may be struggling with personal issues. With 20 to 30 percent of firefighters battling addiction, PTSD, depression or other mental health issues, it's time we all look at each other and offer help.
Cancer. This simple six-letter word strikes fear into everyone who has been diagnosed with the dreaded disease, but too many members of the fire service are like the proverbial ostrich with their head buried in the sand: They act as though by ignoring the issue, they can make it go away or that it somehow won’t affect them.
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) have announced the theme for the 2015 International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week: Creating a Culture of Safety.
“You have cancer!” … the three words that no one would ever want to hear. These three words are truly game changers in the life of countless firefighters across our country. For my family, my friends and the brotherhood within the fire service in my county, surrounding counties and the state, the news of my cancer diagnosis was taken quite hard by many.