Honor Fallen Firefighters By Protecting Yourself

Wednesday, 06 October 2010
Every October, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation sponsors the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend to honor firefighters who died in the line of duty during the previous year. The event is an opportunity for the nation to remember and pay tribute to those who have fallen while serving and protecting their communities. As announced by the United States Fire Administration, there were 90 on-duty firefighter deaths in 2009. In addition, military firefighters who had not been previously honored were added to the Memorial wall. This year’s Memorial Weekend was held October 2-3 in Emmitsburg, MD.
The intense situations that emergency responders face put their bodies under tremendous stress and increase their risk of heart and other diseases. In addition, vehicle accidents account for the second leading cause of firefighter fatalities. These facts reinforce what most firefighters know: they need to get and stay healthy and commit to following safety protocol to protect their lives. But there's a gap between knowing the importance of good health and safety practices and actually changing attitudes and behaviors.
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is dedicated to preventing firefighter deaths and injury through a variety of information and resources. The NVFC’s Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program promotes fitness, nutrition, and health awareness within America’s fire and emergency services. It is the nation's only heart attack prevention program targeted at all firefighters and EMS personnel, both volunteer and career. In 2008, the NVFC created a Health and Safety Committee to further the NVFC’s focus on protecting first responders by providing insight on issues and policies relating to the health and safety of volunteer firefighters and emergency personnel. To more effectively address the health and safety issues impacting the volunteer fire service, the Committee established the Volunteer Firefighter Health and Safety Priorities “B.E.S.T. Practices.”
You can help honor fallen firefighters by pledging to keep yourself healthy and strong so that you can protect those who depend on you. Making even small changes now can decrease your risk of disease and accidents and ensure that you are ready for the next call. Learn more about what you can do to become and stay heart-healthy from the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program. Find out more about the NVFC’s health and safety initiatives and download the Volunteer Firefighter Health and Safety Priorities poster at www.nvfc.org/health_safety.

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