Mid-Atlantic Rescue Systems, Inc.

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“Prevention” Sounds Great to Me – Let’s Do it!!!!!

Each Year October rolls around and we are surrounded with information, events and activities in the area of Fire Prevention. The efforts I observe from local Fire Departments are remarkable. Countless hours volunteered to bring the information to Schools, Businesses and Communities. It’s organized, it’s well thought out and it works. It saves property. It saves Lives. Excellent!

As remarkable as it is – It prompts me to wonder what is it that has all these wonderful people dedicating so much of their lives to saving others yet keeps them from recognizing the value of prevention in their own lives.

In my line of work, I often obtain new clients soon after they have experienced a health issue. Sometimes it is high blood pressure…sometimes elevated cholesterol and/or triglycerides. Diabetes, Heart Disease and Cancer often send folks in my direction. Age doesn’t seem to discriminate. They are young and old alike. Many are Firefighters. Many are the same Firefighters that I have watched devote countless hours to the Community in all areas, including Fire Prevention.

Rest assured, I love them all and shall always willingly do all I can to guide them on a proper journey to Health and Wellness. When they arrive to me, there are no lectures of “why didn’t you come to me sooner?” There are no “I told you So’s”. I will always stand at the ready. Always – and be grateful they came, regardless of when or why.

BUT….. (I imagine you knew there was a BUT!)…I naturally urge you (and all of them) NOW (while healthy) to dutifully consider Personal Health and Wellness. See your physician. Take the first steps toward improving your nutritional habits. Get going on that exercise program. Surely once cleared by your physician you can get moving on that, even on the most basic level. Quite simply: Begin and Continue.

I am not sure what is keeping people away. I know we are all well versed in the perils of Heart Disease and its title as the #1 cause of “Line of Duty” deaths. I know the fact that Cancer is the fastest growing killer amongst Firefighters has been duly noted. I have yet to run across anyone who doesn’t know that exercise can reduce the risk factors of both Heart Disease and Cancer. It’s a well known fact that exercise has long been touted for decreasing Obesity, High Blood Pressure and Stress. Heck it can even enhance more restful sleep. Surely sleep has gotta be up there on the list of ‘must haves'. Do we need to run through the entire list?

It is frustrating to me, yet a fact nonetheless, that I cannot make the decision for others. They have to be ready and they have to be Committed. Ready and Committed are two qualities ever present amongst Firefighters – so I remain hopeful things will change.

I have often told Firefighters it’s quite possible that I am addressing the wrong audience. I just may have greater success addressing their loved ones, because we are the ones who will be left behind to miss ‘em like crazy. “We can’t imagine our lives without you and we don’t ever want to lose you”.

I say “WE” because this is something that is all too familiar to me. Lost my Dad 26 years ago (“Line of Duty” Heart Attack”). Since that time I have lost many many friends, young and old (far too soon) to a disease that has been proven to be preventable in many cases. We all know there are no guarantees. We also know that Prevention is about decreasing the risks. Let’s go for that and keep more of you around for many years to come. Prevention – sure sounds Great to me!

I urge you all to see your physician and get on the Road to Prevention ASAP.

Stay Safe…See ya Next Month - and the month after that…and the month after that…etc...Yes????

PS...Fitness Programs are popping up in more and more Fire Houses throughout the Country. I am thrilled that everyday more and more of you are exercising. To those of you who are already on the right track, I commend you.

Quite possibly you have a Buddy or Two that has yet to take that First Step. Why not make October "Take your Buddy to the Gym Month"? Of course they have to see the Dr. first, but I'm confident you'll get the job done. Spread The Word. Save a life!

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Lori Ann HodgkinsonSenior Correspondent

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