First responders are the witnesses to the worst days of people's lives. When so much is at stake, fitness has never been more important. It's not enough to just be physically fit. When people are at their worst, they need you at your best - not only physically but mentally.
August is Wellness Month. From getting adequate sleep to nutrition, there are many factors that can affect our physical and mental wellbeing.
What dangers do firefighters face on the job?
What can I do to prevent injuries on the job?
Quality personal protective equipment will not only save your life but improve your quality of life long-term. Protective clothing and equipment reduces mobility, agility, dexterity, and coordination. Additionally, your mobility, strength, and endurance can be seriously compromised by the weight and bulk added to you.
The First Due has been trusted by departments for 50 years and is highly regarded as the tradition of the west. 50 years ago, Phenix founders, fire captains Ray Russell and Ronny Coleman, found themselves frustrated by the equipment available to them at the time. They wanted to create a helmet that was comfortable, light, and ergonomic in design.
The First Due is the all-risk helmet and available in multiple configurations to fit whatever emergency call you may face. It is lightweight and ergonomically designed to reduce the extreme neck fatigue that many face while on long calls. The safest helmet is the one you keep on your head.
With Phenix's unique suspension design, all of our helmets are able to be uniquely adjusted both vertically and horizontally ensuring the perfect fit every time. Our suspensions are interchangeable to every Phenix helmet and every part of the helmet can be easily taken apart with no tools necessary.
The average adult requires anywhere from 6 to 10 hours of sleep each day.
|Age Range||Recommended Hours of Sleep|
|Newborn||0-3 months old||14-17 hours|
|Infant||4-11 months old||12-15 hours|
|Toddler||1-2 years old||11-14 hours|
|Preschool||3-5 years old||10-13 hours|
|School-age||6-13 years old||9-11 hours|
|Teen||14-17 years old||8-10 hours|
|Young Adult||18-25 years old||7-9 hours|
|Adult||26-64 years old||7-9 hours|
|Older Adult||65 years or older||7-8 hours|
Sleep quantity is not that only part that matters - quality sleep matters. It's possible to get the hours of sleep you need and not feel refreshed because your sleep is fragmented or non-restorative.
Long wake periods, such as working longer than a typical 8 hour shift can impair performance. In fact, being awake for 15 hours straight decreases your performance as much as if your blood alcohol level were .05% - the legal limit is .08%; and being awake for 24 hours produces impairment equivalent to a blood alcohol level of .10% - .2% above the legal limit.
When you have a full night's rest, your level of alertness is restored to near-normal levels immediately upon awakening. Failure to have sufficient sleep has a detrimental effect on alertness and performance over time that increases linearly with sleep loss. Chronic sleep loss can result in decreased ability to think clearly, handle complex mental tasks, form new memories, and solve problems.
The average firefighter gets 5.6 hours of sleep with their sleep being interrupted an average 1.9 times. Failure to get adequate, restful sleep can have long-term effects on your health and impact your performance.
What happens if you don't get enough sleep?
What are the long-term risks of sleep deprivation?
How can I get better sleep?
When it comes to health, many people think of physical fitness and neglect to address their mental wellness. 3 OUT OF 5 will not seek mental or emotional help because of the stigma within the fire service while 2 OUT OF 3 have never had enough time to recover between traumatic events.
50%OF FIREFIGHTER DEATHS ARE DUE TO STRESS AND EXHAUSTION
|THERE IS A FEAR OF BEING
"unfit for duty" or seen as "weak"BY PEERS IF MENTAL HEALTH HELP IS SOUGHT
|FIRST RESPONDERS CONTEMPLATE SUICIDE AT A RATE
10xHIGHER THAN THE AVERAGE AMERICAN ADULT
What impacts firefighter mental health?
How can you remove the stigma surrounding mental health?
Elliot, MD, FACP, FACSM, Diane L., et al. “The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Fire Fighters and EMS Responders.” International Fire Chiefs Association, 2006, pp. 1–58, www.iafc.org/docs/default-source/1safehealthshs/progssleep_sleepdeprivationreport.pdf?sfvrsn=f9e4da0d_2.
“Here’s What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep (and How Much You Really Need a Night).” Cleveland Clinic, 25 Mar. 2022, health.clevelandclinic.org/happens-body-dont-get-enough-sleep/#:~:text=Some%20of%20the%20most%20serious,function%20and%20lower%20sex%20drive.
Ruderman Foundation. “Ruderman White Paper on Mental Health and Suicide of First Responders.” Ruderman Family Foundation, 10 Apr. 2018, rudermanfoundation.org/white_papers/police-officers-and-firefighters-are-more-likely-to-die-by-suicide-than-in-line-of-duty.
“Sleep Tips: 6 Steps to Better Sleep.” Mayo Clinic, 7 May 2022, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379?reDate=02082022.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “First Responders: Behavioral Health Concerns, Emergency Response, and Trauma.” Disaster Technical Assistance Center Supplemental Research Bulletin, 2018, pp. 1–15, www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/dtac/supplementalresearchbulletin-firstresponders-may2018.pdf.
Suni, Eric. “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?” Sleep Foundation, 13 Apr. 2022, www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need#:~:text=National%20Sleep%20Foundation%20guidelines1,to%208%20hours%20per%20night.
United States Fire Administration and Homeland Security. “Firefighter Suicide Reporting.” Fiscal Year 2021 Report to Congress, 2021, pp. 1–12, www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/2022-01/FEMA%20-%20Firefighter%20Suicide%20Reporting%20%281%29.pdf.
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