Title: “Recommendations to reduce sudden cardiac related death in the fire service”
Supervisor: Dr Peter Crocker (Kinesiology)
Second Reader: Dr. Don McKenzie (Kinesiology)
Abstract: It has been well documented that sudden cardiovascular related death is the number one cause of on-duty fatalities in the fire service, most specifically during fire ground operations. In fact, the fire service has the highest occupational cardiac related fatalities, more than twice that of the next highest occupational group. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 51% of all on-duty death is sudden cardiac related. On-duty death has reduced in the fire service, but sudden cardiac related death has consistently been number one for many years. Research suggests that firefighters on average have lower than the recommended cardiovascular capacity required to perform their duties effectively and safely. Volunteer/part-time firefighters are more prone to a reduced cardiovascular capacity. A deteriorated cardiovascular capacity is a strong predictor of potential sudden cardiac related death and cardiovascular disease. Four positive health behaviors are provided that help increase a firefighter’s aerobic capacity. The positive health behaviors are related to physical activity, dietary suggestions, managing stress, and reducing exposure to poisonous gases. Further, the utilization of the Health Belief Model is used to increase participation of the positive health behaviors mentioned in the paper.
Overall, the public underwhelmingly dismisses the health guidelines put forward by the government. The public is provided with more education and awareness about health, but the participation in physical activity has only increased slightly. This paper could assist in promoting greater participation in positive health behaviors in firefighters and reduce the premature fatalities of many middle-aged firefighters.