Assistant Deputy Chief Rob Heppell of the Saanich Fire Department stands with members of the SportsCardiologyBC. (Photo courtesy Rob Heppell)

Nearly 100 Saanich firefighters join heart health study for first responders

About half of on-duty fatalities caused by cardiac incidents, firefighter says

Saanich firefighters chose to show heart health some love and took part in a sports cardio study this month.

During the week of June 8, a research team from SportsCardiologyBC spent five days working with and screening members of the Saanich Fire Department, said Assistant Deputy Chief Rob Heppell.

The researchers are working their way across the province recruiting participants for the heart health program for first responders, Heppell explained. He called it a win-win because the SportsCardiologyBC team got to collect data and Saanich firefighters got to have their heart health assessed.

READ ALSO: Saanich firefighters adjust to COVID-19 while maintaining community connections

Heppell said more than 90 members of the department participated in the voluntary comprehensive cardiac screening. He was “thrilled with the level of participation” as the study was “really a benefit to the department.”

Members were asked to fill out confidential questionnaires about their health, lifestyle and career. Then, the firefighters had blood work done and their blood pressure assessed before moving on to the stress test – exercise on a stationary bike.

READ ALSO: Welcome to grilling season: Saanich firefighter talks barbecue safety tips

Afterwards, participants were invited to speak privately with a cardiologist from SportsCardiologyBC about the results, their personal heart health and any lifestyle changes they should make. Heppell said this was a bonus for participants because, without symptoms, it can be difficult to get an appointment with a cardiologist which often means underlying issues are unaddressed until a medical incident occurs.

It’s important for everyone to be aware of cardiovascular disease and to check-in with a doctor, Heppell said, but for firefighters, it can be vital. According to research, about 45 per cent of on-duty fatalities among firefighters are caused by cardiovascular incidents, he explained.

READ ALSO: Canadian study finds ‘stunning’ lack of research into women’s heart health

“A cardiovascular event, particularly a fatality can be devastating to the firefighter’s family and the community at large,” Heppell said.

He added that while Saanich firefighters aren’t required to have an annual physical, it’s recommended. “Early detection is the key,” he said. “It’s important for all of us – not only firefighters.”


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

firefightersHealth

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Greater Victoria housing market sees positive bump in June

Sales up by 76.8 per cent compared to May

Owners say loss of parking pushes businesses to the brink

New Penny Farthing patio ‘will be like New Orleans, or Las Vegas’

Saanich plugs into $100,000 government grant for 20 new EV chargers

Six chargers to be installed at four municipal parks

Saanich woman says sexual assault was dismissed by police because of her ‘body language’

Patrol officers investigate sexual assault files, make decisions on what goes to Crown counsel

‘Tarantula moth’ spotted in broad daylight in Victoria

Polyphemus moths are one of the largest insects in B.C.

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

Playing his tune

Musician Daniel Morel breaks out a tune with his harmonica in front… Continue reading

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Black worker files discrimination complaint against Facebook

Oscar Veneszee, Jr. has worked as an operations program manager at Facebook since 2017

Nestle Canada selling bottled water business to local family-owned company

The Pure Life bottled water business is being sold to Ice River Springs

Major B.C. salmon farm tests new containment system to curb sea lice infestations

System “essentially eliminates” contact between wild and farmed fish stocks, says Cermaq

Most Read