Health & Safety

June 14, 2013

Firefighters focus on heart health

“What are you usually doing at 2 a.m.?” A seemingly simple question with an obvious answer was asked by Chief Master Sgt. Charles Funkhouser, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Emergency Services fire chief. Most would say sleeping.

There is, however, a group of people who aren’t afforded the luxury of sleeping through every night. Firefighters are expected to respond to calls at all hours of the day or night every day. It’s these circumstances that put a strain, both mentally and physically, on those who are so heavily relied upon.

The Luke Air Force Base Fire Department hosted a seminar Thursday and today at the base theater to help bring the importance of heart health to members of the local firefighting team. Presenters provided critical information on heart health and nutrition.

Funkhouser and Marty Yates, deputy fire chief, spoke out about the lasting complications firefighters suffer as a consequence of their demanding occupation. Chief among health complications, and arguably the most concerning, is cardiovascular health.

More than half of firefighter line-of-duty deaths are cardiac related, according to a study from the American Journal of Health Promotion on health concerns of the U.S. Fire Service.

The heart beats most slowly during sleep. On-call firefighters who may be sleeping are often abruptly awakened, forcing the heart from a resting rate to a more adrenaline induced rate. This scenario has the potential to put a great deal of strain on a firefighter’s heart and is being attributed to the rising number of cardiovascular health issues in the firefighting community.

Another factor adversely affecting firefighters’ health is poor nutrition. Yates said firefighters commonly share the same nutritional patterns as a result of having to be with each other a majority of the time, and those same nutrition patterns often tend to be less than desirable. Yates explained that if the issue of poor nutrition among firefighters is going to be resolved, it needs to be a result of conscious decisions made by the firefighters as a whole. Firefighters will have to require the assistance of each other to successfully incorporate these dietary alterations.

The final major issue covered by the chief and deputy chief was the concept of internal fitness. Funkhouser expressed concern that firefighters are developing their beach body muscle groups, or the aesthetically appealing muscles, instead of focusing on cardiovascular exercises. When firefighters focus on this area of fitness, they aren’t doing much to promote heart-healthy living, something that has been proven to be needed by all firefighters. Funkhouser said firefighters need to be concerned more with fitness internally, and need to be sure that overall health is not neglected at the expense of having a certain look.

Firefighters provide an essential service to the society, and they are relied upon daily to respond to emergencies that cover the entire spectrum. The issue of poor cardiovascular health can follow a firefighter into their retirement, and is something that will certainly continue to be watched closely until the high number of firefighter deaths attributed to cardiac problems is reduced.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Lightening-within-five

Lightning over Luke …

The F-35 Lightning II isn’t the only lightning striking over Luke Air Force Base. This strike, about five miles west of the Luke flightline, was captured on camera at 1:12 a.m. Aug. 12 at the jet engine test cell.
 
 

Program smooths change from military to civilian life

It can be difficult to find work in today’s economy, even more so for families that are moving to a new area or families that are transitioning from military to civilian life. One program available to veterans is the Workforce Investment Act, which can help veterans have a smooth transition to civilian work. The 56th...
 
 

New form second chance to do EPRs right

Without fail, every time I am around a group of young NCOs, there is one subject guaranteed to come up — the enduring question of “How can I write a stronger EPR for my Airman?” My answer to this question is fairly standard and is one that a chief shared with me many years ago....
 

 

Plan for final out

How many of you are prepared for life outside of the military? Seriously, if you were told tomorrow was your final out, what would you do? We are currently in an environment where Defense Department rollbacks are a serious issue we must all contemplate. Fewer officers are being commissioned. Last year there was only one...
 
 

News Briefs August 22, 2014

Commander’s call Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, will hold a commander’s call Monday in the Luke Air Force Base theater at 7 a.m. for Airmen, 9 a.m. for NCOs, 11 a.m. for senior NCOs, 1 p.m. for civilians, 3 p.m. for officers and 5 p.m. for those not able to make another...
 
 
Airman 1st Class 
JAMES HENSLEY

Commandant challenges students to be best

Airman 1st ClassJAMES HENSLEY Master Sgt. Sheris Poisson, 56th Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School commandant, briefs students Aug. 12 about the active-shooter exercise Aug. 15 at Luke Air Force Base. Poisson asked ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin