Working in the emergency services is rewarding and stressful all at the same time. Emergency responders deal with and see things on a daily basis that they wouldn't want even their worst enemy to experience. The life of a first responder is chaotic, stressful, emotional, and scary. They never know when the bell will ring for their next emergency and there's always that tiny little doubt in their mind about not returning home. Here are some tips for the health and wellness of all emergency responders.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
It is vitally important for all first responders to have some sort of exercise regimen in their schedule. Whether they exercise while on duty, during downtime, or on their own while at home; exercise must be a part of their lives. Exercise will help keep their blood flowing and help them keep an ideal weight. This program can be implemented as a platoon or individuals can take it upon themselves to workout when the time is right at the squad or station.
A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is just as important as an exercise routine. It is actually a perfect partner for an exercise routine. The diet should consist of foods that are low in carbohydrates, sugar, and salt. It should also include lots of fruits and vegetables. Be sure to eat three healthy meals per day and if you need to snack in between you should eat something light and healthy, like a granola bar or an apple.
Clean Your Gear
Firefighters are exposed to carcinogens on an almost daily basis. You should always make sure your gear is properly cleaned after a fire. Do not put the dirty gear in your personal vehicle, take it inside your home, or bring it into your office. This will only expose others to the carcinogens that are on the items. It's also important to always wear your SCBA mask at all working fires to avoid as much smoke inhalation as possible.
Take Advantage of Programs
If your organization offers programs that provide counseling for mental health issues, credit issues, family issues, and other problems that make life hard; be sure to take advantage of them. These programs are usually paid for and provided by a local fire district or governing body, which means they come at no cost to you, the first responder. If you need to talk to someone, use one of these programs to get your life in order.
Many people fail to visit their doctor on an annual basis for one reason or another. The same can be said for first responders. Police, fire, and EMS personnel all need to get annual physicals outside of what is provided or required by their employer. Visit your family physician at least once per year to have a physical that includes bloodwork and other tests. This will help you stay healthy on and off the job.
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