Fit as a firefighter

First things to do

You cannot wait on getting a good physical so I have written a one-page letter for your doctor that will explain why your medical exam has to be so thorough.  Some fire fighters think their doctor is doing a great job but in reality they are doing a good job if you were just a regular civilian.  I have also included on the side bar the medical exam information sheets from the IAFF that you can take to your family doctor.  Your doctor may need convincing to do the extensive physical and blood work due to the extra costs of the tests or perhaps because you lack obvious signs and symptoms of disease. Let them know all the toxins you have been exposed to and the possible illnesses you may have been in contact with from patients you have assisted. This is not a scare tactic but an unfortunate reality that has touched other fire fighters and their families.  By informing your doctor of these increased health risks, your chances of getting more than just the standard tests are improved.

Remember, this fire fighter specific exam is to discover health issues early to get treatment sooner. Some tests may be covered by your private insurance if your department does not have the Wellness Fitness Initiative program in place (give your insurance company a call ahead of time).  Rookies need to get this exam in order to have a record of baseline levels and it is never too late to get one. Everyone is different, your blood levels and other body function test’s may be at the high or low end of normal. If you have your baseline levels recorded and on file (always 100%confidential) they can then be used to compare new results with older results to see if any changes have occurred.  Read about the FDNY post 911 Lung Function tests in the power point presentation on the side bar and then get your baseline ASAP.