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.
Sometimes … as hard as it may be for us to understand, there are incidents that occur when we fail despite how good a crew we may have had on the first due rigs. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard you may have trained and prepared for your moment to perform.
Among the approximately 1.1 million firefighters in the United States (of whom about 70% are volunteers and 30% are paid career personnel), about 100 die each year in the line of duty. With the exception of 2001, when 344 firefighters died as a result of the events of September 11 at the World Trade Center in New York City, the number of deaths per year has stayed relatively steady, even though the number of structural fires in the United States has been steadily decreasing.
Every year, more firefighters die in the line of duty because of heart attacks than any other cause. This February, take time during American Heart Month to know your health and learn what you can do to lessen your risks of heart attack and other life-threatening or life-altering conditions.