Personal victory, public effect

You are a firefighter. It doesn’t matter whether volunteer or career. When the call comes, you go. Usually, everyone comes back. Occasionally, someone doesn’t. You don’t want that firefighter to be you.

A cursory glance at the recommendations of the National Fire Protection Association and International Association of Fire Chiefs shows that much of the fire service thinking is in the vanguard of fitness, health, safety, injury prevention, and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, many of these recommendations are not implemented and the standards are not adhered to on the departmental level.

What can the average firefighter do to improve this situation?

Steps to Personal Change

The genesis of any change is to simply begin. Make an honest evaluation of where you are right now regarding your health habits, including strength and conditioning, nutrition, tobacco use (this includes the smokeless), stress, and overall lifestyle. Taking the initiative by implementing changes you deem necessary gives you a much improved chance of succeeding than if you wait for changes to be forced on you through illness, injury, or job requirements. Being proactive gives you the advantage of choosing your path to the ultimate goal.

So what is the ultimate goal? The goal is to be fit and healthy enough so that you may have a long, exemplary career as a firefighter and live to tell long, rambling stories about it when you are old and gray. With this goal in mind, you need to begin charting a path to get you there.

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