This presentation covers key areas identified by national trends.
Reduce risk of chronic disease - heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, certain cancers common to the fire service Ability to fulfill mission – cannot serve community well if we are not fit enough to do the job and do it to the best of our ability Reduce Line-of-Duty-Deaths and injuries Cut costs – improved health and wellness means less costs for both the department and the individual through reduced expenditures for injuries, medical care, time off and backfill, etc. Contribute to research and innovation -- health and safety inititiatves often provide local and national data that can identify specific risks and threats. This can then be contributed to further scientific research, new technology to prevent exposure to the risk, and policies that improve health and provide critical benefits. (e.g. National Firefighter Near-Miss Reporting System, improvement of SCBAs, research used to support policies for cancer presumption or EPA evaluation of toxic chemicals)
Stress/Overexertion was the leading Cause of Fatal Injuries in 2009 (USFA) Heart Attack was the leading Nature of Fatal Injuries in 2009 (USFA) Firefighter Fatalities Under Age 40(USFA) The leading number under the Type of Incident category of USFA LODD stats was not incident related: 38.8%
Eating right, being active, and maintaining a healthy weight are important ways to reduce your risk of cancer,heart disease and diabetes. Sometimes what we think is healthy may not be. Know what you are eating and make sure you are not trading off one problem for another (e.g. something labeled “low calorie” or “low fat” may have high sodium)Tips: Read labels, eat fresh (not processed) when possible, plan menus in advance.
Ability to perform job functions safety at any point -- initial entry into the fire department is critical, but cannot stop there. It must be an ongoing assessment.
Smoking (source: Various, including CDC, American Cancer Society) Tobacco addiction causes 438,000 deaths in the United States each year, making it the leading preventable cause of death. In addition, some 8.6 million Americans live with serious smoking-related illness. According to the CDC the average years of potential life lost from smoking for male smokers was 13 years, and for female smokers was 14 years, with heavy smokers losing more years of life. Smoking causes$167 billion dollars in health-related economic losses every year in the United States. Fires caused by smoking cost approximately $27 billion annually around the world. A smoker pays about $17,500 more in lifetime medical costs than a non-smoker.Smokeless tobacco (source: CDC and National Cancer Institute/NIH)Just like smoking, causes nicotine addiction and dependence. Contains 28 cancer-causing agents Increases the risk of developing cancer of the oral cavity and pancreas; strongly associated with leukoplakia—a precancerous lesion of the soft tissue in the mouth that consists of a white patch or plaque that cannot be scraped off.associated with recession of the gums, gum disease, and tooth decay.Smokeless tobacco use during pregnancy increases the risks for preeclampsia premature birth, and low birth weight; use by men causes reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm cells.
Of the 44.5 million current smokers in the U.S., 70 percent say that they would like to quit. But without assistance, less than five percent are able to stop smoking. According to the American Cancer Society those with the best chance of quitting and staying quit, are those who know what their up against, what their options are, and where to go for help.
From the IAFC Zero tolerance alcohol policy: “ No member of a fire & emergency services agency/organization shall participate in any aspect of the organization and operation of the fire or emergency agency/organization under the influence of alcohol, including but not limited to, any fire and emergency operations, fire-police, training, etc.”
Suicide, which is defined as intentional self-harm, is the 11th leading cause of death among Americans.Non-demographic risk factors for suicide include alcohol abuse, mental illness, stressors, divorce or separation, and the presence of a firearm in the home. The greater number of stressors result in higher suicide risk; the number of stressors exhibited is more important than the nature of the stressor.Action-oriented warning signs include: having difficulties at work or changing work habitsneglecting appearancelosing interest in / dropping out of activities relapsing into drug or alcohol use after a period of recovery, displaying anger and ragegiving away possessionsmaking final or funeral arrangementsending significant relationshipsimproving in mood suddenlyhaving a suicide planoverreacting to criticismself-imposing isolation from othersbeing overly self-criticalcollecting means or tools to commit suicide, and taking unnecessary risks beyond acceptable safety standards in the fire service.Emotional warning signs include: feeling depressed,hopeless or helplesspessimistic about life and the futuremeaningless, restless, agitated, preoccupied with failures. Source: Article:Not without Warning (Fire Chief Magazine April 2003)By Portia Rawles, Psy.D., Assistant Professor, Regent University, Virginia Beach, Va.
Safety Week 2010 Wellness-Fitness Overview
What is Wellness-Fitness? Occupational safety and health Diet and exercise Mental health Awareness - exams and screenings Individual responsibility
What is Wellness-Fitness? Not “One-Size-Fits-All” Individual Department Environmental Threats/Risks Job-related Geographic (e.g. weather) National trends indicate key common areas for consideration
Why Wellness and Fitness? Goal: Increase the chance for a longer and healthier life. Reduce the risk of chronic diseases Ability to fulfill mission Reduce line-of-duty deaths and injuries Save money Contribute to research and innovation Happier personnel
Why Wellness-Fitness? Stress/Overexertion: 57.7% Heart Attack 47.7% Firefighter Fatalities Under Age 40: 28.9% Not Incident Related: 38.8%
Nutrition Reduce risk of leading killers of firefighters Education is critical Balanced diet Life choices; not quick fixes Access to healthy food Firehouse Home Restaurants
Fitness “Fit to Fight” CPAT and beyond Rehabilitation Daily exercise Cardio Calisthenics One size may not fit all Access to equipment in/near firehouse
Stress Management Causes Daily routine: physical, mental strain Major events / incidents; PTSD Family-related stresses Financial (work and home) Stress Reducers Policies that support post-incident health (debriefings, stress management, etc.) Exercise Counseling Family/Friends “Down time”
Smoke and Smokeless Tobacco Cessation Smoking #1 cause of premature death Significant contributor to heart disease, lung disease and cancers Economic impact: personal / departmental Smokeless tobacco Not a safe substitute for smoking cigarettes Nicotine addiction and dependence Known cause of cancers, tooth/gum disease and reproductive disorders
Smoke and Smokeless Tobacco Cessation Education Impact: health, financial, policy Some immediate benefits to quitting Why is it hard to quit? Habit /cravings / brain chemistry Nicotine addition (and withdrawal symptoms) How can we help? Support groups Encourage health plans to include cessation benefits Assistance from health professional Partnerships: mental, physical and dental health professionals; unions; researchers, veteran’s groups, etc.
Alcohol and Other Drugs Zero tolerance policies Not on duty or during potential response times Voluntary removal from duty if unexpectedly called Not in the workplace at any time Regular or random testing policy Assistance to fight addictions Access to support groups and health professionals
Infectious Disease Stay educated on emerging diseases Follow departmental protocols and policies PPE Responder and patient care Dispatch and response Watch for changes in national guidance Vaccinations Keep up to date Policies re: priority on new vaccines
Suicide Prevention Education Talk about it: Bust myths and taboos Know the warnings signs and what to do when you see them Remove the stigma of asking for help Know where to get help Employee Assistance Programs Public or private mental health professionals Support groups
Medical Exams and Screening Stay current Annual medical exams Routine or “milestone” screenings for cancer and other diseases Know your medical history / keep good records Report known, unusual exposures to your doctor Report symptoms or unusual circumstances Change the “it will go away” culture