Week 6 Forum – Health and Wellness
The fire service’s greatest asset is not equipment, apparatus, or stations, but rather its personnel. Through its personnel, the fire department serves the public, accomplishes its missions, and is able to make a difference in the community. By committing to a wellness program, the fire department often increases the members’ trust, which enhances every program and each call answered by the fire department. Placing a high priority on wellness makes sense for everyone, including fire service personnel, the taxpayers, and the public served.
After reading Chapter 9 in your textbook as well as the supplemental reading, Implementation of the First Wellness-Fitness Evaluation for the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department, and completing your own research, write a post that answers the following:
1. Discuss your departments health and wellness program.
2. Discuss any improvements you think need to be made to your program?
3. How has the program benefited your department?
4. If your department does not have a wellness program or if you are not associated with a department, then discuss a program you would implement for your department or for a fictional department.
5. How do you think your program will benefit your department or fictional department?
Being a federal fire department, we have a strong health & Wellness program. We take annual physicals that include multiple elements of measurement to view not only our overall health, but identify risk factors that may show our health is getting worse. We measure hearing loss, vision loss, visual acuity loss, changes in lung capacity, measurement of our blood labs to show if we are starting to increase in cardiac risks, etc.
I believe our program would benefit from adding in some manner of physical assessment as well. We really have a lot of members of the department that would not be viewed as firefighters were it not for the uniforms they wear because they are out of shape enough to make one think that they would not be a part of such a physical job. This is one of the issues with being a part of a department that does not run very many calls, because we even lack the ability of being shown how much we have allowed ourselves to slip in terms of fitness. I wish we would implement the findings and recommendations of NFPA 1582 and have a program that provides a non-punitive evaluation of physical fitness for duty.
I believe the challenge here is to do so with enough incentives to ensure that people actually work to improve the results. I think what DFR is doing would work well. Moving someone to different capacities based on their fitness is not necessarily punitive, but definitely motivating. I would not personally want to be moved to Limited Duty because of my fitness. I would actually feel embarrassed to have that happen. I know others who would love it. So it does really come down to the person. Still, it would be a great start. (Winter, n.d.) (Bryant, 2017)
It benefits our department that we get to have the health exam results and know if we have issues we need to address, but adding in the physical element would motivate a lot of people who are otherwise, unfortunately, not that motivated to begin with.
Winter, D. (n.d.) Implementation of the first wellness-fitness evaluation for the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department (Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy2.apus.edu/docview/1032806608/fulltextPDF/4F43943345D0433BPQ/1?accountid=8289)
Bryant, A. (June 2017) What do the NFPA 1582 Physical Fitness Requirements Say? (Retrieved from https://www.firerescue1.com/firefighting-101/articles/what-do-the-nfpa-1582-physical-fitness-requirements-say-O7AnVpUgU22nrYIA/) Fire Rescue 1
I hope you all are having a great week! This week’s topic is interesting. Recently, there have been a lot of attempts to overhaul department health and wellness programs. Some departments even fire heath and wellness staff, such as chiefs and administrators. Fort Hood has also joined this positive trend. We have put out new SOG’s regarding cleanliness of gear before, during, and after calls where carcinogen exposure was likely. I know the Air Force is trying out a “clean cab” policy. This basically means that gear and equipment exposed to carcinogens or chemicals will not be stored or put in the cab until it has undergone decontamination. I know my department is interested in this program as well. The biggest change Fort Hood FD has made was to purchase every person on the operations manning a second set of gear. A second set of gear is an easy way to make sure you don’t bring unwanted chemicals back to the station and minimize risk of additional exposure. During a fire call or any call where firefighters have been exposed to health risks, additional personnel from the department will bring the extra sets of gear to the scene and take old gear away to be decontaminated. I think this is an excellent step towards the future for Fort Hood and the fire service. Firefighters are exposed to many different hazards and contaminants throughout their career. Anything that can be done to minimize amount and time of exposure to hazards is a step forward. More and more departments are going this route to try and reduce the amount of health problems for firefighters during and after their careers. Progress like this will benefit all future firefighters and their departments, as well as help the fire service develop new strategies to increase safety measures.