Posted by mmierzejewski | General, Health, Safety
Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 2:03 pm

Not in Our House

Not in Our House, cancer awareness campaign, was launched within LION’s booth at the Fire Department Instructor’s Conference (FDIC).

Since 2002, more than 60% of career firefighters added to the IAFF memorial of LODD’s have died from cancer. Scientist equate the rise of cancer related deaths with firefighters to the synthetic materials now used in homes. These materials burn quicker, and release more cancer-causing carcinogens into the air.

Not in Our House asks firefighters to sign an online pledge of safety on the website, www.notinourhouse.com, and provides downloadable resources, awareness statistics, and an outlet to share personal firefighter cancer stories.

LION, in partnership with industry organizations such as the: NFFF First Responders Center for Excellence, Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN), and the National Volunteer Fire Council, are promoting Not in Our House to challenge industry ideals that lead to higher risks of cancer in firefighters, and make a lasting effect on the fire service.

To help launch the campaign, “Chicago Fire” television actors, Eamonn Walker (Battalion Chief Wallace Boden), and Dave Eigenberg (Christopher Herrmann), were present in the LION booth on Friday, April 28 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The actors provided a photo and signing opportunity for show attendees to support the Not in Our House Campaign, and raise money for the non-profit, Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN). Show attendees also had the opportunity to win a trip to the set of “Chicago Fire” during an actual film set shooting, and to win a leather helmet signed by the cast of “Chicago Fire,” as well as an opportunity to participate in a ‘Fill the Boot’ donation.

Thanks to the generosity  of the show attendees in raising money to support  non-profit FCSN, who works to help firefighters, and their families suffering from cancer.

The campaign will continue to grow and change with the needs of the fire service, but more information can be found online at the Not in Our House website, notinourhouse.com.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | General, Health, Leatherhead Instructors, Performance, Safety
Thursday, March 19th, 2015 1:03 pm

Leatherhead Thursday: Physical fitness in the fire service

By Shane Wells

of the Leatherhead Instructors

Many departments across the United States require that new recruits pass a physical fitness or abilities test of some kind prior to their appointment to the position. So why aren’t more departments requiring their firefighters to keep up some type of physical fitness performance level? One reason might be a rejection from the local union. They may fear losing their job if unable to meet the fitness requirements. Many cities have or are implementing work place wellness programs that are voluntary. These programs are sometimes encouraged by workers compensation for lower rates. My question is why aren’t more firefighters proactive in starting physical fitness programs in their own departments? Core training is gaining in popularity among firefighters.

The National Occupational Research Agenda has identified traumatic injury and intervention effectiveness as two of its priority research areas. Injuries are the leading cause of mortality and loss of potential years of life for working individuals. This study focused on a unique method of injury prediction and prevention in high risk workers using a functional movement screen and core strength intervention. Many workers must deal with physically demanding tasks that involve awkward positions and less than optimal ergonomics. Firefighting is a particular hazardous profession with exposure to a host of chemical, biological, and physical hazards including musculoskeletal trauma. Firefighters perform physically demanding tasks such as forcible entry and rescues that are injury prone because of maneuvers that compromise trunk stability and ergonomically hazardous conditions. Because of the nature of firefighting, these physical conditions are often difficult to control. There are over one million firefighters in the United States and the injury rates of firefighters are among the highest in all occupations. In 2006 U.S. firefighters sustained 88,500 injuries while on duty. Forty four percent of all U.S. firefighters have suffered from sprains and strains while on duty. It is important for firefighters to be fit because they work in physically unpredictable settings, and must maintain a high level of fitness for at least 20 years before they are eligible for retirement. Various strategies have been evaluated to decrease the occurrence and the severity of the firefighter’s injuries. These methods have focused on exercise, training, ergonomic coaching and flexibility improvements. A physical fitness intervention for firefighters was shown to effective in reducing injuries, but the scope of the study was limited to back disorders. A firefighter flexibility training program did not find improvement in injury incidence, though lost time, severity and costs improved. Workplace injuries are multi-factorial, especially in occupations where work events are unpredictable and task completion places rigorous demands on the body. Furthermore, many ergonomic interventions have limited applicability in certain firefighter tasks. For example, a firefighter who must crawl under wreckage and control his or her body to rapidly rescue a trapped individual has severe ergonomic challenges that are difficult to address with standard ergonomic suggestions such as “lift with your legs not with your back.” Although many firefighter exercise programs have focused on upper and lower body strength, they have paid less attention to core stability and strength and the other dimensions of movement that might decrease the chance of injury in the above scenario. Core stability is the ability of the lumbopelvic hip complex to prevent buckling and to return to equilibrium after perturbation. Although static elements (bone and soft tissue) contribute to some degree, core stability is predominately maintained by the dynamic function of muscular elements. There is clear relationship between trunk muscle activity and lower extremity movement. Current research suggests that decreased core strength may contribute to injuries of the back and extremities, that training may decrease musculoskeletal damage, and that core stability can be tested using functional movement methods. The study goes on to talk about how a group of 433 firefighters were ran through a battery of seven tests over a four week period in 2004. After that they were enrolled in a training program designed by multi-disciplinary team. Participants were all taught techniques to strengthen core muscles and to decrease mechanical load on the affected parts of their musculoskeletal system during these ergonomically challenging job tasks.

For one year following the training, information on the type and number of injury cases, cost of treatment, and the lost day’s due to injury were gathered by the organization’s worker’s comp department. Comparing the number of injuries pre and post-intervention of these 433 firefighters, lost time injuries were reduced by 62%, whereas total injuries were reduced by 44% compared to a historical control group. In my area there are several Cross Fit gyms that have continued to gain in popularity. Cross Fit is a core building focused workout program.

Reference: Peate, W. F., Bates, G., Lunda, K., Francis, S., & Bellamy, K. (2007). Core strength: a new model for injury prediction and prevention. J Occup Med Toxicol, 2(3), 1-9.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, Health, Leatherhead Instructors, Performance, Safety, Training
Thursday, February 19th, 2015 3:02 pm

Leatherhead Thursday: The importance of precision

By James R. Dennison

of the Leatherhead Instructors

Saws, hand tools, ladders, hoses, nozzles, rescue equipment, and gas tools can be found on all fire trucks across America. There are many similarities between manufacturers of the equipment, but there are also many differences. The manufacturer of the equipment is unimportant, but the knowledge needed to use your departments’ equipment is absolutely monumental. The operations and abilities of the tools that we regularly use are second nature to us, but the stuff that seems to spend more time on the rig than in use may be far from familiar.

The proper start up procedures for your saws can make or break you in an emergency. Small engines can prove to be challenging in themselves due to their “cold blooded” nature, but knowing how to properly handle the equipment and how to overcome things such as a flooded engine or loose chain can keep you in the game.  Regular maintenance of the equipment is imperative to smooth operations, but can also provide an understanding of the more technical aspects of the saws.

Hose loads and lays are never the same between two fire departments, and often are different between the trucks in your bays. The loads, lengths, and nozzles are typically set up for the area in which you respond and departmental preference. Understanding the proper way to deploy each type of load on your trucks can save time, property, and lives. Knowing your loads and lengths will enable you to quickly add sections when needed to reach the fire, ensure efficiency of deployment, and allow you to be an asset instead of liability to your company. Knowing and understanding the type of nozzle, its flow, operation, and pressure is also necessary to be successful on the job.

Routine care of your hand tools, personal equipment, and PPE will greatly reduce failure on the emergency scene. Keeping your hand tools clean, properly assembled, and sharpened is your responsibility; don’t rely on the previous crew or user to maintain them. You better know where and how to use the tools in your pockets if you are going to carry them; it is ignorant to have a mass pile of items on you that you have no idea how to use or where it is. Do you like to wear the same underwear several days in a row? I hope not! Treat your turnout gear the same way. If you use it, clean it! Proper maintenance of turnout gear can prevent you from absorbing carcinogens on a regular basis and allow the gear to effectively work when needed.

Keep in mind that even the simple things can be reviewed and a lot can be gained. Take five minutes and look at your hydraulic rescue tools; which way do you move the control to make the tool operate? How far does the hydraulic reel reach? What type of oil does the hydraulic reservoir use? Are the tools clean? I bet you can refresh your mind and maybe gain something you didn’t know in that five minutes!

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, Health, Safety
Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 10:01 am

Leatherhead Thursday: Firefighter injuries and physical fitness

By Shane Wells

of the Leatherhead Instructors

Firefighters are at increased risk of musculoskeletal injuries and cardiorespiratory illnesses compared to other occupations. Each year tens of thousands of firefighters are injured while fighting fires, rescuing people, responding to emergencies, and training incidences. Occupational injuries are the leading cause of disability and early retirement.  Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of work related death.  All of these injuries contribute to a significant human and financial toll. In addition departments suffer lost work hours, higher insurance premiums, increased overtime, disability and early retirement payments.

Despite measures to prevent injuries such as improving our protective clothing and changing health and safety regulations very little about individual factors influencing firefighter injuries are known. Certain literature has predicted things such as; equipment failure, protective equipment not being worn, lack of training, fitness, team work, and  human error, in addition to fatigue, weather, poor decision making and communication systems.  However, very little information about how individual lifestyle variables and obesity contribute to the risk of injuries among firefighters.

Obesity in adults has doubled in the past 15 years, and the rate of severe obesity has quadrupled. Today roughly 2/3 of adults are overweight and 1/3 is obese. It is also known that as BMI increases certain diseases increase as well, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Studies have shown ties between obesity and increased risk of occupational injuries. Research is scarce about the association between obesity and risk of occupational injuries among firefighters.

Posten and colleagues conducted a study of 433 firefighters that participated in the Promoting Healthy Lifestyles Alternative Models Effects (PHLAME) worksite wellness program. This program was implemented in fire departments in Oregon and Washington five years after that program was first introduced. These were the findings; of the 433 firefighters there were 184 injuries overall and 160 injured firefighters had at least one injury. Of the 184 injuries, 68 were injuries for which a worker’s compensation claim was filled (37%). About 35% of injuries involved the back which was twice as many as the next largest category which was knee and lower leg at 17%. Twenty five percent of firefighters were in the normal weight category. Fifty-six percent were in the overweight category. Nineteen percent were in the obese category. Firefighters that were in the overweight or obese categories had a higher percentage of injury prevalence for all types of physician’s visits. The body part injured the most was the back. There were also a higher percentage of firefighters in the obese category that required a visit to a specialist as compared to the 12.5 % of firefighters in the normal weight category.

Other studies also show a mismatch between fitness and health requirements of firefighting and the current profile of the fire service. Current standards recommend that firemen participate in a fitness program, but it is the responsibility of each individual department to decide whether or not to institute a program. The NFPA 1583 Standard recommends a program that is positive, non-punitive, and does not set fitness standards. Cardiovascular events are by far the leading cause of line of duty deaths among firefighters. Appropriate fitness programs can enhance overall health, improve performance, and lessen the risk of firefighter injury and fatality. Firefighters and the public they serve will benefit from more fitness programs in the Fire Service. Some different types of physical training include; aerobic training, Sprint Interval Training (SIT), and functional training. Aerobic training provides several health benefits, including improved body composition, serum lipids, glucose metabolism, and maximal aerobics capacity. SIT is a type of high-intensity interval training that is designed to improve endurance, increase anaerobic threshold, and improve maximal performance. Functional training targets movements that are necessary for everyday living. Functional training utilizes full-body, dynamic movements to increase muscular strength and endurance as well as aerobic capacity using equipment such as medicine balls, physioballs, and exercise bands to provide resistance. This type of exercise mimics the high-intensity demands of firefighting. CrossFit workouts have been gaining popularity in progressive departments across the country.

There must be a cultural change within the U.S Fire Service in order to improve fitness and decrease injuries and cardiac events. Fit firefighters have increased mobility, energy, and endurance, allowing them to better perform job duties efficiently and safely.  Fit firefighters also are less likely to jeopardize the safety of their fellow firefighters or the public they serve.

Reference

Kuehl, K. S., Kisbu-Sakarya, Y., Elliot, D. L., Moe, E. L., DeFrancesco, C. A., MacKinnon, D. P. & Kuehl, H. E. (2012). Body mass index is a predictor of fire fighter injury and worker compensation claims. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 54(5), 579.

Smith, D. L. (2011). Firefighter fitness: improving performance and preventing injuries and fatalities. Current sports medicine reports, 10(3), 167-172.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Events, Firefighter Combat Challenge, General, Health
Monday, November 10th, 2014 11:11 am

LION sponsors the Firefighter Combat Challenge in Phoenix

We all know the importance of health and fitness for firefighters, and the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge World Championships exemplify the hard work, rigorous training and fitness levels from firefighters who compete in this event.

This past week firefighters from around the world gathered in Phoenix, Arizona to compete in the 23 rd annual World Challenge, their last stop after a year of grueling competitions. LION has been a proud sponsor of the Challenge since its inception in 1992, we believe in encouraging and recognizing firefighters who take the initiative to maintain exemplary health goals and sportsmanship.

We saluted the outstanding athletes who have distinguished themselves on the course by inducting them into the LION’s Den, the letteman jacket program that recognizes those athletes who strive and succeed by posting times that place them at the top of of the sport.

Congratulations to all the combat challenge participants that worked hard throughout the year!

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Events, Fire and Rescue, General, Health, News, Safety, Training
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 8:10 am

Fire service organizations send letter to the Health and Human Services Secretary amid ebola concerns


Representatives from the Congressional Fire Services Institute, International Association of Fire Fighters, International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Volunteer Fire Council sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asking for their support in protecting EMS personnel against the current Ebola outbreak.

These fire service organizations specifically requested the Health Department’s “commitment to ensuring EMS personnel have sufficient training and resources to respond to suspected cases of Ebola.”

Here an excerpt of the letter, focusing on preventative measures that can help protect First Responders.

It is highly likely that more individuals infected with Ebola will seek assistance from emergency response personnel in the coming months. As the vast majority of EMS in the United States is performed by firefighters who have been cross‐trained as emergency medical technicians and paramedics, it is crucial that we ensure such personnel are properly trained and equipped to respond to such a scenario.

At a minimum, responding departments must provide sufficient personal protective equipment for all responders, including fluid resistant or impermeable long‐sleeved gowns, double gloves, eye protection, leg coverings, disposable shoe covers, and N95 respirators. As we learn more about the disease, additional protections may also be required.

Departments must also provide specialized training to all responders to limit the spread of the disease and provide the highest quality care for patients. Responders must learn to recognize a potential Ebola infection, institute necessary precautions to limit the spread of the disease, and utilize proper disinfection procedures.

You can read the letter in its entirety here.

The IAFC has compiled thorough information and guidance on Ebola for EMS personnel here.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, Health
Monday, July 28th, 2014 1:07 pm

FireRescue1.com: Firefighting among best work-life balance jobs

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is no easy task. Glassdoor, which compiles data about workplaces, released a list of the top highly rated jobs for work-life balance. The results are based on employee feedback over the past year, according to the report.

Ratings were based on a five-point scale, with 1 representing dissatisfied, 3 representing OK and 5 meaning very satisfied.

Firefighting took the ninth spot with a work-life balance rating of 4.1. Curious to see what other jobs made the list? Check them out on FireRescue1.com.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, Health, Training
Friday, July 25th, 2014 10:07 am

Fire Academy Friday: How firefighting affects the body


It’s Fire Academy Friday! LION Fire Academy provides fire department members with online training on PPE and Continuing Education Units for successful completion.  Fire instructors can incorporate PPE education into their classes and have their students earn credits.  If you are a fire student or contemplating a career in firefighting, you’ll find helpful quizzes, videos and links on PPE and other firefighting topics.

NFPA 1851 and NFPA 1500 training modules are valid for any brand of PPE.

This week’s video covers how your body is affected during firefighting operations, including:

  • Heat Stress
  • Ways to combat heat stress
  • On-scene rehabilitation
  • Rehydration
  • Active cooling
  • Medical monitoring
  • Effective physical fitness

After you’ve finished watching, take the test.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, Health, Safety
Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 9:06 am

Strategies for Protecting Firefighter Hearing

By Seth R. Nadel

For FireRescue

There is something dangerous that can be found at fire and rescue scenes that we often notice, but tend to ignore. Although it doesn’t present an immediate danger, it can have a negative impact on our health. But this danger is something we never talk about, perhaps because we no longer hear it. While we address the obvious dangers of flame, heat, toxic smoke, collapse, stress, falls, etc., we don’t seem to notice the impact of the one danger that we bring to the scene—noise.

I’m sensitive to the issue, as I have had tinnitus ringing in my ears for 50 years. While mine was not caused by my time in the fire service, it has impacted my life. My chosen career in the military never happened because I didn’t hear well enough to pass the physical. I know I missed out on a number of good opportunities, because I couldn’t hear either the offer or the positive response to my queries. So how could fireground noise be harmful?

Noise Level
Consider the noise level at a simple nighttime motor vehicle accident involving extrication. After the siren is turned off, the fire truck’s engine continues to run at high revolutions per minute (RPM) to keep a line charged. Next, in most cases, a gas-powered generator is fired up to power the lights. Then, another gas-powered unit is started up to power the extrication tools. All of this is going on while we’re hammering on various steel parts to clear them for the power tools. On some occasions, we also add the noise from a gas-powered saw that cuts away the steel or fiberglass around the structural members.

At a structure fire, we have multiple engines running at high RPM to pump water, chainsaws cutting ventilation holes in roofs, and gas-powered fans creating positive pressure ventilation (PPV). Add radios, the noise from the fire, team members cutting holes in walls and breaking doors, and lights at a night scene, and it’s a wonder any of us can still hear. Of course we then turn up our radios so we can hear them over all the ambient noise, and yell into our team members’ ears to give and get commands.

Read more.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, General, Health, PPE
Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 9:05 am

Study highlights need to decontaminate gear after the fire is out

By Dr. Mallika Marshall
For CBS Boston

With every call, firefighters know they could be putting their lives on the line. “You know it’s a dangerous job,” explained Kevin McNiff, a 28-year veteran of the Boston Fire Department. “But you really don’t think about the silent killer, which is cancer,” he said. But now, McNiff is forced to think about it. At 53-years-old he is being treated for kidney cancer. “I have a battle ahead of me,” he said.

It’s a battle more firefighters are facing. A study done by NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health looked at more than 30,000 firefighters and found significantly higher rates of respiratory, digestive and urinary cancers than in the general population. “I’ve known dozens upon dozens of guys that have gotten cancer on this job,” McNiff said.

(more…)

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