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Firefighting and Health


FSTAR, Occupational Risks, and The Need for Firefighter Physicals

Research shows firefighters are at increased risk for cardiovascular events, respiratory illnesses, many cancers, musculoskeletal injuries, and behavioral health issues as a result of their job. It is our belief that very few firefighters undergo the necessary medical monitoring needed to prevent or catch these potentially devastating, life-altering illnesses or injuries. It is the focus of the Firefighter Safety Through Advanced Research (FSTAR) Health program to improve the awareness of firefighters and healthcare providers to these increased occupational risks and by doing so improve the health and wellness of our nation’s firefighters.

FSTAR Health Will:

  • Develop a research-supported guide to conducting firefighter physicals for healthcare providers.
    With the assistance of healthcare providers, researchers and fire service leaders, FSTAR Health is building materials that will assist healthcare providers to deliver the comprehensive level of care needed for firefighters. While NFPA 1582 provides for a comprehensive, gold-standard physical, the reality is that many firefighters are not receiving a minimum of care. FSTAR Health is seeking to bridge this gap by providing clear, succinct guidelines on the specific medical monitoring and testing requirements needed to ensure firefighters are receiving the care they need based upon their unique occupational hazards.
  • Deliver a comprehensive outreach program to raise fire service and medical practitioner awareness of the risks firefighters face on the job.
    Through a comprehensive outreach campaign, FSTAR Health will deliver information to individual firefighters, fire departments, and healthcare providers on the toll firefighting takes on the health and wellness of firefighters. FSTAR Health is focused on critical topics such as cardiac health, cancer, respiratory diseases, musculoskeletal injuries and behavioral health related issues and will provide research-based, real-world, accessible tools and information. Visit for research, resources and other materials produced by FSTAR
  • Update the Fire Department’s Guide to Implementing NFPA 1582.
    With the assistance of the IAFC’s Safety, Health and Survival Section, FSTAR Health is updating the Fire Department’s Guide to Implementing NFPA 1582. This guide presents fire departments with a process for implementing a top-notch medical physicals and wellness program. The guide will present case studies, resources, tools, and access to research to improve the implementation of their health and wellness programs.
  • Study the feasibility of credentialing clinicians who perform NFPA 1582 physicals.
    Other industries conduct specific and detailed medical exams for their workers using certified healthcare providers. Certifying the NFPA 1582 physical proficiency of a healthcare provider will assist fire departments select those qualified practitioners to deliver the highest and best care to their firefighters. The focus of a certification program will emphasize healthcare provider education and ability to conduct NFPA 1582 physicals that meet the specific needs of their patients. The feasibility study will assess the efficacy, value, and implementation process for creating a healthcare provider credentialing program.