NVFC, Joe Montana and Novartis Team Up for Firefighter Health

Friday, 20 October 2006
Director Heather Schafer (right) with Joe Montana in Hartford, CT.

Football legend Joe Montana spoke to firefighters and emergency medical personnel on May 10 about the importance of maintaining healthier blood pressure levels. The National Volunteer Fire Council's (NVFC) Heart Healthy Firefighter Program and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation's BP Success Zone program sponsored the event at the Hartford (CT) Fire Training Facility as part of a joint effort to educate firefighters about their increased risk of heart disease.

About 100 firefighters, including many chiefs, gathered to hear Montana and James M. Rippe, MD discuss the dangers of uncontrolled hypertension, or high blood pressure. Montana spoke of his own battle with high blood pressure, which he was diagnosed with in 2002, and the dangers it can cause if left unchecked. He also shared his recipe for "Joe's Overtime Oatmeal Cookies," which were available for the audience to eat. After his speech and a question-and-answer session, Montana had his blood pressure checked on the Hartford Fire Rehabilitation Bus.

Firefighters are at a particularly high risk of hypertension due to the stress their hearts are under while fighting fires. Heart attack, which can result from high blood pressure, is the leading cause of firefighter deaths. The NVFC launched its Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program in 2003 in a proactive effort to reverse this alarming and preventable trend through proper fitness, nutrition and health education. For more information about the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program, visit www.GETBPDOWN.com or call toll-free 877-GET-BP-DOWN.

The Hartford event was one of a series of talks Montana and Dr. Rippe are giving across the country. Stay tuned to the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program Web site for information on upcoming appearances.



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