In its 2013 Strategic Plan Initiatives, the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation has placed an emphasis on the health of firefighters. Some of these initiatives include supporting cardiovascular and sleep-deprivation studies, offering mental, emotional and psychological health resources, and generating funding for Peer Fitness Trainers (PFT) to prevent on-the-job injuries.
Recently, strides were made on the Cardiovascular Initiative, as reported by the Arizona Daily Wildcat:
Dr. Wayne Peate, an associate professor at the College of Public Health, proposed that the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation look at funding a study where at-risk firefighters receive an ultrasound to look for.
“The study that Dr. Peate did through the UA College of Public Health demonstrated the efficacy of the ultrasound to the point where now we want to do it with the firefighters,” said Mike McKendrick, chairman of the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation. “The added hope is that this will become the national standard.”
The study, which ended in 2011, found that the ultrasound machine is more effective than the heart CT scan in detecting blockages in the arteries, and that with the ultrasound there is no radiation, Peate said.
How has the Greater Tucson Firefighting Community benefitted from this study? UA News goes on to report:
As a result of the study, the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation decided to provide funding for an ultrasound machine in the firefighter’s clinic in Tucson. The machine will be placed
in the clinic by December, in hopes that it will benefit firefighters.
“What the foundation looks at is if we have just one save, it’s worthwhile,” McKendrick said. “The save could be really saving a firefighter’s life, or even letting a firefighter know that he or she has potential for that cardiac disease so they can go to their primary care physician and be treated.”
The study showed there was a cheaper, more accurate and less dangerous way of detecting abnormalities than with other types of technology, Peate said. Early intervention can help firefighters to stay healthy in their careers, he added.
“If we can get it ahead of time, let the firefighter know there’s a problem, then we can treat it,” McKendrick said. “There’s really not a lot more traumatic than a firefighter having a heart attack at work. You have to save the person there to do the saving, and that’s very traumatic.”
Brittny Mejia I Arizona Daily Wildcat
For the full article, go to: http://www.wildcat.arizona.edu/article/2012/11/ultrasound-
firefighters-clinic-ua-study-111912. For more information on the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation and its initiatives: www.tucsonfirefoundation.com.