Heart attacks leading cause of death for firefighters - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Heart attacks leading cause of death for firefighters

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-Heart attacks are the leading cause of death among firefighters because of the high level of stress from their job.

"There is a high level of stress when you respond to certain types of incidents, even just being paged out for the initial call you're going from 0 to 60 in a matter of a few seconds," said Jonesboro Fire Chief Kevin Miller. 

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, firefighters are more likely to suffer a heart attack at work than any other profession. Miller said this could be attributed to a number of stressors that come with the job.

"Depending on the type of call you show up and see whether it's a extrication, structure fire , certain time of medical issues adds even more stress when you have to take care of the particular call you're responding to," he said. 

Miller said it's important for a fireman to incorporate fitness into their schedule.

"This is a physically demanding job and we want to make sure our firefighters are able to meet the minimum physical requirement," he said. "We've been trying to figure out ways for years that we can curtail that and to be able to make the firefighters better, healthy, healthier overall."

Miller said they provide their firemen with a yearly physical and a fitness evaluation.  

"Better eating habits, healthier living, quitting smoking," he said. "These are all things that potentially improve your overall health and lifestyle which can make you a better person and a better firefighter."

Miller said leading a healthy lifestyle will pay off down the road.

"We want you to be able to have a long, productive career and an even longer and productive retirement after you leave the department," he said. 

In 2014, there have been 7 firefighter deaths in the U.S., and five were caused by a heart attack. 

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