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....heart attack is one of the most common causes of death among middle aged firefighters. In their defense, however, most departments do not facilitate or pay for firefighters to stay in shape. A lot of firehouses don't have gyms and you can't be out on a run when the alarm bell rings. So they sit around the station and eat 90% of the time. The guys that are in great shape work out on their own time, but unfortunately a lot of people don't see the inherent risk of letting themselves go....and it's not only firefighters and EMS. There are more than a few deputies in the three-county area who are over-tasking their cardio-vascular system. If there's any doubt, I challenge any one of them to run (not jog) for 200 yards, then draw their wepon and fire ten shots on a standard B-27 or 30 target at fifteen yards. It will truly open their eyes. Every single police department, sheriff's department, and fire department should have height/weight or BMI standards and semi-annual physical fitness testing....and like the military, they should also be paid for the time they are working out. Now, for the dark side of the equation? Most departments don't say anything about overweight or out-of-shape personnel because when a retiree checks out at fifty or sixty, they save on his pension. If he stays in great shape, he may hang around until he's eighty or ninety, and that costs money!


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