USFA Supports National Firefighter Health Week

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) is encouraging firefighters and fire departments to focus on health and wellness next week through participation in the Third Annual National Firefighter Health Week, happening Aug. 17-21. The theme for this year is "It takes a healthy heart, mind, and body to do what you do - Keep It Strong."

"Heart attack is the leading cause of firefighter on-duty fatalities year after year, making health and wellness essential to reducing firefighter deaths," said Glenn A. Gaines, acting USFA assistant administrator. "We support this outstanding initiative of the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) with their National Firefighter Health Week and ask firefighters and fire departments to participate in the programs and activities of this week-long effort now and throughout the year."

National Firefighter Health Week is an initiative to educate the fire and emergency services community about a variety of health and wellness issues that affect first responders. The program encourages first responders to learn their risk factors and commit to making healthy lifestyle changes, not just during Firefighter Health Week, but throughout the year.

"Health and wellness of our nation's first responders is a top priority of the National Volunteer Fire Council," said Heather Schafer, NVFC executive director. "Heart disease results in more on-duty firefighter deaths than any other cause. First responders also face risks to their health from a number of other factors, from exposure to debris and particle matter, to stress, to poor nutrition and fitness habits, and other concerns. The NVFC created National Firefighter Health Week to encourage first responders to focus on important health and wellness issues and make the changes in their lives to get healthy so they can avoid preventable illness and stay strong for those who depend on them--their families, departments, and communities."

Further information may be obtained from the NVFC National Firefighter Health Week Resource Center's Web site at www.healthy-firefighter.org.

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