The best way to diminish the effects of any diseases, illnesses or injuries is to detect them as early as possible. This is especially true for firefighters who, in many cases, are at greater risk for certain diseases, illnesses, and injuries than the general population. Annual physicals, based upon testing criteria for the increased health risks faced by firefighters, have proven to lead to early detection and prevention of long term illnesses.
In 2017 the FRCE entered in to memorandum of understanding with the International Association of Fire Chiefs to develop resources for firefighters and clinicians on physicals and how to best implement a physical program.
This free Healthcare Provider’s Guide to Firefighter Physicals was developed by the IAFC and is available for you to bring to your physician to help them understand the physiological demands of firefighting and the resulting health risks research shows firefighters are most prone to.
The IAFC Safety, Health, and Survival Section compiled this information and sample documents to assist with the development and implementation of an annual medical evaluation program.
As a follow to the original implementation guide the IAFC developed a follow up document in 2017.
This National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard outlines an occupational medical program that will reduce risks and provide for the health, safety, and effectiveness of firefighters operating to protect civilian life and property. The full text of this standard can be viewed for free on the NFPA website.
Due to the physical demands of the job, it is essential that all uniformed personnel maintain a high level of fitness-wellness. The purpose of the Wellness Fitness Initiative (WFI) is to ensure that uniformed personnel are healthy enough to work safely and effectively during their careers and maintain good health during their retirement.
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) supports annual medical assessments for all firefighters, but understands the barriers and limitations that may exist. This document outlines several options for departments to consider in developing a firefighter medical assessment program.