Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program Awarded $1 Million for Phase Four

Thursday, 01 June 2006
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) was awarded a $1 million Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) for Phase Four of its Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program. The grant is administered through the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate in the Department of Homeland Security, in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.

"The Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program is very important to the safety and welfare of firefighters across the nation," said Maggie Wilson, Director of Health and Safety for the NVFC. "Heart attack is the leading cause of firefighter fatalities. This grant will enable us to expand our heart attack prevention efforts and reach more firefighters with our messages and healthy lifestyle information."

Over half of all firefighter deaths are attributed to heart attacks. The NVFC launched the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program in 2003 as a proactive effort to reverse this alarming trend. Phases One and Two of the program emphasized the need for health screenings among firefighters, and the NVFC offered free cholesterol, blood pressure and body composition screenings for firefighters at national fire service trade shows. More than 10,000 firefighter and emergency service personnel have been screened to date.

Phase Four of the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program includes the following efforts:

  • Continued collaboration between the NVFC and its expert Medical Advisory Panel, which provides guidance in the areas of proper nutrition, physical fitness and cardiology, and with the NVFC Work Group, which will review the success of Phase Three, oversee Phase Four and serve as co-exhibitors with the NVFC at major fire service trade shows.
  • Travel to four national fire service trade shows throughout the year, offering free health screenings and cooking demonstrations as well as distributing vital heart-healthy information.
  • Continuation of the Fired Up For Fitness Challenge, in which firefighters log their daily physical activity and are rewarded with incentives at certain milestones to keep them motivated.
  • Outreach efforts to promote the program through advertising, articles, conferences and other public relations initiatives.
  • Expansion of the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program website and E-News electronic newsletter.
While the NVFC promotes the interests of the volunteer fire and emergency service, the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program impacts all firefighters and emergency service personnel, both paid and volunteer. To learn more about the program, visit www.healthy-firefighter.org.

The AFG program awards grants directly to fire departments of a state to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel, with respect to fire and fire-related hazards. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis to applicants that address AFG program priorities, demonstrate financial need and demonstrate the benefit to be derived from their projects. For more information, visit www.firegrantsupport.com/afg.



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