Firefighter Medical Surveillance Program
Unique challenges require unique solutions
Preparation is key for fire fighting and fire prevention. When a response to a fire is required, well planned and practiced policies and procedures are initiated. But what about after the fire is out? What polices and procedures are initiated for the fire fighters who may have been exposed to toxic substances?
The typical response is either do nothing or go see your family physician. The result is lack of medical follow-up, lack of understanding of toxic exposures by family physicians and lack of systemic review and tracking.
Fire fighters may experience serious health problems many years after exposure. The key for prevention and treatment is early testing, detection and monitoring. Occupational disease from fire fighting is recongnized by the Ontario Government and covers both full time and volunteer firefighters.
In recognition of the unique medical challenges and exposures that firefighters face during the course of their careers, Workplace Medical Corp have worked with an number of fire departments to develop and implement specialized occupational health programs for firefighters.
Implementing a medical surveillance program for fire fighters requires more planning and preparation than a typical medical surveillance program. Unique issues that need to be addressed include:
- Setting policy
- Integration with other post incident policies and procedures
- Support from both management and front line fire fighters
- Medical direction and support from occupational health physicians with expertise and experience in this area
- Availability and quick response time for medical testing
- Follow-up and return-to-work policy
The WMC Fire Fighter Medical Surveillance Program
- The WMC program starts with education for all stakeholders. Understanding the objectives of the program, what the program is and what it isn't is key for obtaining support for the program and its successful implementation.
- Policy can be development with the support of WMC consultants and occupational health physicians.
- Access to specialized medical examinations and testing for:
a) New Hires
- To establish baseline health status for monitoring purposes
- To ensure that the candidate is medically fit to conduct his job safely
b) On Going Surveillance
- To ensure the early detection and treatment of medical problems resulting from frequent and long term exposure to harmful or toxic substances
c) Post Incident
- To ensure that a formal procedure is already established and ready to implement
- To ensure that firefighters receive appropriate, specific post exposure medical assessments and testing
- To ensure that the firefighter’s own family doctor receives all test results and is able to provide the appropriate treatment and follow-up.
Partner with Workplace Medical Corp - an organization that specializes in
occupational health and has successfully developed medical surveillance programs
for other fire departments. We will work with you to establish a medical program
that can be activated on short notice and will ensure that your firefighters receive
the appropriate medical follow-up.
Please contact us for additional information. We will be happy to arrange an introductory meeting to discuss this program with you in detail.