NVFC’s Second Annual National Firefighter Health Week, held from August 18-22, 2008, was an opportunity for first responders, departments, and families to begin or reenergize their health and wellness goals. Departments and emergency service organizations all across the U.S. conducted special activities and events during National Firefighter Health Week, including the Hermosa Beach (CA) Firefighters Association (HBFA) and the Friendship Fire Company #1 (PA).
The HBFA, a nonprofit membership organization comprised of career firefighters who serve the citizens of Hermosa Beach, CA, observed National Firefighter Health Week by inviting experts to conduct health talks to impart the importance of healthy living to its members. The event featured Dr. Michael Richman, WebMD’s medical cholesterol expert, as well as other health professionals in fitness, nutrition, heart-health, and stress management. Materials from the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program were also distributed to attendees as resources to assist them on their path to healthy living. “Across the board, we’ve seen our members apply the lessons learned from Health Week to make small changes that make a big difference,” said Brian Grebbien, President of the Local 3371 HBFA. “Everyone – firefighters, receptionists, the Chief – has started making healthier meal choices and increasing their exercise participation.”
The HBFA emphasized that Health Week and its messages of firefighter health and wellness are critical to all first responders, both volunteer and career. All of the HBFA’s members attended, along with community members. The event was featured on Fire Department Network News. Learn more about the Hermosa Beach Firefighters Association at www.hbfirefighters.com.
As part of their National Firefighter Health Week programming, the first responders of Friendship Fire Company #1, a volunteer department in Geigertown, PA, received blood pressure screenings and important health information from representatives of Reading Hospital. In addition, each firefighter received a week-long pass to Flying Hills Fitness, and one firefighter was chosen at random to receive a free three-month pass. The Fire Company reports continued success in the time since Health Week, with several members adopting a regular workout program. For more information about Friendship Fire Company #1, visit www.geigertownfireco.com.
The activities organized by departments around the country to promote health and wellness awareness in the volunteer fire and emergency services are helping save lives every day. For more information on how to create a healthier department and participate in National Firefighter Health Week next year, visit the Heart-Healthy Firefighter web site.