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Challenge Idea: Get Screened

This February, challenge your department members to get screened and know their risk for heart attack, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and more. Being a first responder puts you at increased risk for many health concerns, including heart attack. The strenuous duties of emergency response places increased demands on firefighters' bodies, which may not be physically prepared for the strain. It is important for you to know your risk factors – professional, lifestyle, and hereditary – so you can take the necessary steps to prevent a serious illness before it happens. Once you know your risks, you can work with your doctor or healthcare provider to develop a wellness plan that is right for you.

Challenge Rules:

  1. If you haven’t had a full physical in the past year, schedule one as soon as possible. If you have had one more recently, find your test results.
  2. Use the information your doctor gave you to develop a health and fitness plan. Did you have a risk of high cholesterol? Make preemptive changes now. Are you slightly overweight? Make changes in your diet now to get back on track. Make sure and talk to you doctor about your wellness plan. For additional information, visit web sites like the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
  3. You’ve completed the challenge once you have had your annual screening and have a plan in place to maintain or adopt a healthy lifestyle.

To encourage your department members, try sending out weekly emails with success stories of individuals who caught a disease in the early stages through health screenings. Send out information on the types of screenings recommended for different age groups. Organize a group to attend a free local screening event (such as the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program booth at a trade show). Set up a bulletin board with risk factor and screening guidelines information. Find more resources and information on the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program web site.

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