Honor Fallen Firefighters this October

Tuesday, 04 October 2011

Every October, the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend is held to honor fire and EMS personnel who died in the line-of-duty during the previous year. Sponsored by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, the event is an opportunity for the nation to honor the dedication and remember the sacrifice of those who have fallen protecting and serving their communities.

This year’s Memorial Weekend will be held October 15-16 at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD. Seventy-two firefighters who died in 2010 and 17 firefighters who died in previous years will be honored at this year’s ceremony. The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) will be among the participants in the memorial ceremony.

Emergency responders face extreme situations that put their bodies under great stress, increasing their risk of heart attacks and other diseases. In 2010, 55 on-duty firefighter deaths were related to stress and overexertion, with 50 of those deaths caused by heart attacks. Heart attack is consistently the leading cause of line–of-duty deaths nationwide. These facts serve as a reminder that it is important for firefighters to commit to following a healthy lifestyle to be as prepared as possible for the demands of the job. Only you can change your health and safety practices to benefit not only yourself, but your whole community.

The NVFC’s Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program is the nation’s only heart attack prevention program directed at all firefighters and EMS personnel, both volunteer and career. The Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program provides a variety of information and resources regarding health and safety for first responders. In addition, the NVFC established the Volunteer Firefighter Health and Safety Priorities, or B.E.S.T. Practices, to address the health and safety issues impacting the volunteer fire service. Adopt the B.E.S.T. Practices in your department to ensure your first responders stay strong and are ready for the call.

You can help honor fallen firefighters by pledging to keep yourself healthy and strong so that you can protect yourself as well as 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 and find resources for getting and staying 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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