The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) today kicked off an international awareness campaign, “If You Don’t Feel Well, Don’t Make It Your Farewell,” to raise awareness throughout the fire and emergency service worldwide about the fatal risks of ignoring signs of cardiac arrest among firefighters, leaders, and all first responders.
Fire Chief Gary Ludwig, IAFC president and chairman of the board, launched the initiative with a powerful video illustrating how ignoring the symptoms and signals our bodies are sending during cardiac incidents too often leads to death. The IAFC has developed an online toolkit for fire service leaders everywhere to help them educate their departments and begin to change the culture of denial in the profession.
“About half of all firefighter deaths each year are cardiac related,” said Ludwig, fire chief of the Champaign (Illinois) Fire Department.” Many of these firefighters complained of not feeling right prior to cardiac arrest. My initiative is to change the culture in the fire and emergency services through awareness and education to prevent firefighters from dying of a cardiac event after some training or operational event.”
Ludwig says the only way to change the culture of ignoring the warning signs, such as chest tightness and shortness of breath, is through education and awareness. The IAFC thanks founding partner AMR and supporting partner PulsePoint for making this initiative possible. To learn more, visit IAFC.org/dontfeelwell.