BACKGROUND: Firefighting is among the most dangerous professions and requires exceptional physical fitness and focus while working. Patient-reported outcomes are a commonly used method to evaluate subjective health information and may be utilized by fire departments to identify the health status of firefighters and provide insight to promote their health and wellness.
OBJECTIVE: This study is a novel analysis of firefighters’ self-reported health to potentially identify musculoskeletal dysfunction, assist in therapeutic intervention, and improve overall health and wellness.
METHODS: Firefighters were evaluated using seven different self-reported health surveys to assess various physical capabilities and quality of life. The questionnaires were delivered via online format and administered once to provide a snapshot of a suburban Oklahoma fire department.
RESULTS: Using the Disablement in the Physically Active Scale, 14 of the 35 firefighters answered “slight, moderate, or severe” for the pain and motion variables. Only two of the firefighters indicated no stiffness or soreness after activity on the Nirschl Phase Rating Scale. The firefighters mean rating for “energy/fatigue” via the RAND-36 was 54.14 out of 100.
CONCLUSION: Firefighters frequently report pain, impaired motion, and soreness, indicating areas in which health and wellness interventions may be helpful. The incorporation of periodic health surveys into firefighter health and wellness programming can highlight the presence of concerns, as well as intervention effectiveness by subjective health status reporting. By combining the health surveys with aerobic and core strength exercises, fire departments may be able to monitor and improve firefighter health.
- Health surveys
- diagnostic self evaluation
- fire and rescue personnel
- surveys and questionnaires