CFFF Courage Vol.14 NA


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Page 53 of 77

I n the occupational sector, organizations have identified that a healthy population leads to a more productive workforce. Enhanced performance and reduced illness rates can be achieved through wellness programs to increase an organization's effectiveness. Physicians, psychologists, coaches and trainers are often hired to deliver wellness programs to employers with the task of bettering health and reducing illness and injury rates. Creating health benefits and reducing illness through lifestyle change can be a challenging task, but results can be obtained with even modest interventions and wellness support. The Calgary Fire Department began this targeted approach to Health Screening and Wellness back in 1996 by becoming an active member in the IAFF/IAFC Wellness Fitness Initiative. Twenty-two years later, the Calgary Fire Department still remains an active part of this Task Force and has built dedicated resources for the early detection of occupational disease, health surveillance, physical fitness screening, health promotion and injury reduction. In 2004, the Calgary Fire Department opened a Wellness Centre which displayed the dedicated partner- ship between Management and Union committed to doing what they knew was right for its members. This program expanded the early detection model and is now looking more in depth at statistical data collected to date, to better target population needs related to health risk factors, performance and injury prevention. Firefighting is an occupation where the physical demands, potential for exposure, and mental strain can lead to illnesses and injuries. Many of these are more prevalent in the fire service as compared to the average population. In 2018, over 700 medical finds were investigated in Calgary firefighters. Mental health, sleep, cardiac, chronic musculoskeletal and cancer investigations were the top categories. Early investigations lead to early interventions and more positive health outcomes. Utilizing this information, the Wellness, Safety and Disability Management Division alongside Calgary Fire Department management continue to strive and support its members in the areas where they need it. It is important that fire departments, from a health and safety perspective, protect members from injury, illness and disease while also supporting a healthy lifestyle that targets performance and health benefits. Calgary Fire Department's program takes this proactive wellness approach and continues to build on initiatives and early detection methods. Their policy will protect and support members while at work, off work, and keep them on the path to a healthy retirement. 49 Fire Fighter Safety FIRE FIGHTER WELLNESS AND PERFORMANCE By Darren Gardiner, Exercise Physiology Supervisor, Calgary Fire Department Fire Headquarters - Wellness Centre Calgary Fire Department annual wellness screening

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