Thursday, January 17, 2019

If Firefighters had to do their jobs like Policemen

A fire truck with one firefighter driving it would be sent to an address without a clear indication of the problem.  The complainant is a neighbor who said they saw smoke or steam or something coming from the house, or vehicle or alley.  When the fire truck pulls up, the complainant runs outside and yells at the fireman for taking too long, and tells him not to park in front of his house.  

The fireman sees smoke coming out of the house in question, so he knocks on that door.  After 15 minutes of knocking, the door is opened by a person who speaks English as a second language, poorly, who says there is no fire, even as smoke is billowing out the door he is standing in.  The homeowner tells the fireman to screw off and slams the door in the fireman’s face.  The fireman goes to his truck, gets on his computer to see if the house has had issues in the past.  He finds out that this house has had a history of fires, and now sees smoke and flames on the roof.  

Since the house is obviously on fire, the fireman requests permission to fight the fire, and gives reasons why he believes the house is on fire.  Neighbors are now banging on the fire truck screaming for the fireman to do something.  A bystander is making a video with his cell phone and demanding the fireman’s name and badge number.  The fireman radios for another truck with two firemen on it.  An hour goes by before they get official permission to fight the fire, and turn on the hoses to put water on the house.  Neighbors complain that the trucks are too loud.  Firemen go inside, resuscitate the homeowner and put out the fire.

The fireman then sits in his truck writing up his report about the fire while eating a convenience store burrito and drinking cold coffee.

His report says why he thought the house was actually burning, how the fire was put out, and that that they took no more steps than absolutely necessary.  He makes a list of all those affected by the fire, including names, dates of birth, and addresses, and how they were affected.  Before completing this report, he is sent to fight another fire across town.  This process is repeated three more times during his shift.  When his shift is over, he reports back to headquarters and submits his reports to the Captain, who wants to know if all the houses in the report had really been on fire, and if he was justified in putting the fires out.

Seven months later the fireman goes to court to swear that the house was on fire, and that he was sent to the house to fight the fire.  The homeowners’ lawyer cross-examines the fireman about the temperature of the flames in both Celsius and Fahrenheit,  what stage the fire was in when the fireman pulled up, the color of the carpet in the house, how much water was used to put the fire out, and why did they break the front window, and why they broke the lock on the front door.  Would the house have burned if no firemen had showed up?  Who reported the fire; how did they know it was smoke and not steam?  Was the fire truck properly certified, and when.  Was the fireman’s training up to date?  

Five months later the court rules that the house had been on fire and the fireman was justified in putting it out.  But the report chastises the fireman for damage to the rug, wrecking the shrubs, and bruising the homeowner’s ribs while doing CPR.  

The homeowner is awarded damages, and the fireman has a disciplinary letter added to his file for ruining the shrub.

Six months later the fireman gets a photo radar ticket for speeding on his way to the fire, and has to go back to court to justify his actions.


Friday, January 11, 2019

More Good News on the Long Term Benefits of Fitness

Men’s cardiorespiratory fitness affects stroke risk, researchers say

Carolyn Crist, 
Washington Post 
Health and Science Section, 
Jan 8, 2019

Low fitness levels have long been tied to higher risk for heart problems. Now researchers say men’s cardiorespiratory fitness is tied to their risk for stroke, as well.

Researchers in Norway followed 2,014 middle-aged men for more than 20 years. Those who were unfit for the whole study period, or who started out fit but became less so, were twice as likely to have a stroke as those who stayed fit or became fit, they reported in the International Journal of Stroke.

“Stroke is a devastating condition that can be lethal and leaves most patients disabled or speech-impaired for life,” said lead study author Erik Prestgaard, a doctor with Oslo University Hospital, in a phone interview. “Prevention is important,” he added, “and patients can directly change their fitness.”

The men in the study were enrolled in 1972-1975 at ages 40 to 59. At the start and again seven years later, their cardiorespiratory fitness was assessed with a bicycle test and with measurements of blood pressure and heart rate. Researchers then followed the men’s health for about 24 years through medical records and national registries.

Based on the men’s cardiorespiratory fitness trend between the initial assessments seven years apart, about 39 percent of them “remained fit” (which means they maintained an average fitness level throughout). Another 39 percent “remained unfit” (started out below average and stayed there). Eleven percent “became unfit” (dropped from above average), and another 11 percent “became fit” (improved from below average to above average).

Overall, 199 men had strokes, with the highest risk seen among those who became unfit.

The average age of first stroke was 73 in both of the unfit groups, 75 in the “remained fit” and 77 in the “became fit” groups, the study team said.

Men who had higher fitness levels while younger and became unfit had twice the stroke risk as men who remained fit, the study also found. Similarly, those starting with low fitness levels who became fit cut their stroke risk in half compared with those who stayed unfit.

“You would expect that fitness would reduce the risk of stroke, but we were surprised by the large reduction,” Prestgaard said. In further analyses, he said, “each small improvement in fitness helped.”

Future studies should confirm these findings using better measures of cardiorespiratory fitness than were available in the 1970s, the authors said.

The recently updated “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans” says adults should do at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week and muscle-strengthening activities at least two days per week.

“Fitness recognizes no age, and it’s never too old to start exercising,” said Peter Kokkinos of Veterans Affairs Medical Center of Washington, D.C. “This study shows that exercise benefits last for years, and you can see the difference all the way to 25 years,” he said in a phone interview. “Early changes have lasting effects.”


Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Challenge Goes to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting

The American College of Sports Medicine hosts the 3M | Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge® at its 66th Annual Meeting, the last week in May 2019 at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC). The Worldwide membership of the college is north of 55,000; approximately 7,000 will be in attendance. 

The Challenge will take place next door, on the parking lot of the Rosen Center. 

For three days, Monday, through Thursday, we will welcome members of the College to organize three-to-five person relay teams, based upon their academic affiliation. We are recruiting Challenge Competitors to coach the teams in preparation for a seeding round run prior to the Finals. 

The Collegiate Cup Challenge Championship will take place 9PM (2100hrs) Thursday night, under the lights, as 32 Colleges and Universities go head to head in an NCAA-style, single elimination tournament. Membership on a team requires a common educational, or HealthCare affiliation including undergraduate, or graduate student, or faculty member. 

All team members will execute a hold harmless waiver and be issued a fire helmet and gloves for their race. Athlete apparel will be appropriate and supplied by individuals. 

The basics: There are five linked evolutions, with a baton pass between each of the competitors. An instructional video may be viewed here: «in production; the link will be up shortly»

The seeding round will be used to populate the 32 brackets, with the first round of 16 races and 8 the next, etc. Advancement is not based on time, but the order of finish. 

Time slots for practice will be made through EventBrite® on a first-come basis. Thirty minutes of course time will be allocated, with two teams per half hour. More practice time will be allocated, based on demand. 

There will be a 2-hour occupational health and fitness Symposium on Friday, open free of charge for all active duty firefighters. 

An official Regional Event will take place on Friday with Individuals and Teams with Tandems and Relays on Saturday. Start times to be determined. 

All coaches will have their entry fees waived. 

Questions: Give Daniel a call at the office: 301.421.4433

Thursday, January 3, 2019

In the Opioid Crises, What It Takes to Save a Life: A TED Talk

As a fire chief and first responder, Jan Rader has spent her career saving lives. But when the opioid epidemic hit her town, she realized they needed to take a brand-new approach to life-saving. In this powerful, hopeful talk, Rader shows what it's like on the front lines of this crisis -- and how her community is taking an unusual new approach to treating substance-abuse disorder that starts with listening.

To watch Chief Rader’s TED Talk, click here: TED Talk by Chief Jan Rader

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Tried STRAVA Yet?

If you're looking for a cool smart phone app to track your physical activity, I suggest Strava. I believe that it's still free, although you might have to search the site for the fine print on "free."

Strava will track just about any ambulatory kind of activity. My favorites are running, walking (as in touring) and the low impact benefits of cycling.

My running is on hold while I'm recovering from a partial tear of my Achilles that took place the last day of WCXXVII in Sacramento.

Here's one of the cool benefits is the production of a MP4 file, summarizing your activities over the year.

I just downloaded mine for 2018; here it is:

POD’s 2018 Year in Review in Video

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Yes exercise really does play a role in weight loss

David Prologo
November 4, 
The Washington Post

“Exercise isn’t really important for weight loss” has become a popular sentiment in the weight-loss community. “It’s all about diet,” many say. “Don’t worry about exercise so much.”

This idea crept out amid infinite theories about dieting and weight loss, and it quickly gained popularity, with one article alone citing 60 studies to support and spread this notion like wildfire.

The truth is that you absolutely can — and should — exercise your way to weight loss. So why is anyone saying otherwise?

For 10 years, I have been studying the epidemic of failed weight-loss attempts and researching the phenomenon of hundreds of millions of people embarking on weight-loss attempts — then quitting. Meanwhile, exercise remains the most common practice among nationally tracked persons who are able to maintain weight loss over time. Ninety percent of people who lose significant weight and keep it off exercise at least one hour a day, on average. There are a few reasons that exercise for weight loss gets a bad rap.

First, the public is looking, in large part, for a quick fix — and the diet and weight-loss industry exploits this consumer desire for an immediate solution.

Many studies have shown that exercise changes your body’s composition, improves your resting metabolism and alters your food preferences. These plain and simple facts have stood the test of time, but go largely unnoticed compared to most sensationalized diet products (change through exercise over time is a much tougher sell than a five-day “cleanse”). Moreover, many people consider one hour a day for exercise to be unreasonable or undoable, and find themselves looking elsewhere for an easier fix.

Second, the unknown. Doctors and nutritionists have done a poor job of explaining the link between exercise and dietary habits, perhaps because they often exist as separate camps.

Exercise directly changes our dietary habits, which means we actually have an easier time making healthier choices when engaged in exercise over time. Without exercise, abrupt changes in dietary habits, especially if they result in calorie restrictions, are very difficult for dieters to sustain. In addition, the longer we make those healthy choices, the more likely they will become habit.

For example, when a 42-year-old female who is 5-foot-4 and 240 pounds decides to lose weight on her own, she is likely to struggle with abruptly switching her food choices to vegetables and broiled fish, mostly because she will feel overwhelming hunger pangs (but also for other reasons, such as new onset fatigue, soreness, depression and irritability, among other things). But if we take that same person and increase his or her exercise capacity to a critical point, those choices become much easier to endure.

Third, limited capacity. Exercise originally got demoted following a series of studies that enrolled overweight or obese folks looking to lose weight who had limited ability to exercise. Asking someone with limited ability to exercise to lose weight using exercise is like telling someone to empty a pool full of water with a plastic cup. It cannot be accomplished in any reasonable amount of time. So, when you measure how much weight they can “burn off” over time, the answer is not much, because most sedentary patients can burn 500 or fewer calories a week. As a result, the shaky conclusion that exercise was less important for weight loss emerged and was quickly sensationalized.

What is missing from this logic, however, is that people can change exercise capacity. As exercise capacity goes up for an otherwise sedentary individual and approaches that of a lean person, the ability to lose weight with exercise dramatically changes.

It’s like giving the participant in our pool-emptying example a bucket, or even a hose. The ability to jog for 30 minutes uninterrupted, or ride a bicycle for 60 minutes, is what separates so many would-be dieters from their lean counterparts and accounts for most tried and failed weight-loss attempts. Moreover, once a person achieves a critical point of exercise capacity, the experience of exercise itself becomes more pleasant, and the experience can even be fun.

So, can you exercise your way to weight loss? Absolutely. Of course, abrupt calorie restrictions will result in weight loss for the short run, but it is extremely difficult for folks to maintain that restriction for significant lengths of time, and most either end up quitting or regaining lost weight. Exercise, however, is a tried and true way to make dietary changes more tolerable. Focusing on exercise and changing exercise capacity first makes it easier to ultimately make better food choices and enjoy clean living, which means significant weight loss that can be maintained over time.

Prologo is associate professor in the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine. This report was originally published on

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A Visit to W.L. Gore

Yesterday, the 10th of December, Hanna Oh and I visited the Gore-Tex factory in Elkton, MD. We’d like to show you photos of our incredible tour, but photography was prohibited.

Gore-Tex is a product that was discovered by W.L. Gore while an employee of DuPont. DuPont wasn’t interested in the application and gave Mr. Gore the rights to pursue what would become a multi-million dollar business.

You’re probably aware of Cross-Tech, the membrane barrier in your turnout gear. And, the Gore product that’s in the liners of your gloves and boots.

Then, there’s sporting apparel, for skiing, hunting or whatever.

Gore has been a sponsor of the Challenge for neigh on 20 years. And, all indications are for another 20.

We visited their environmental chamber- a one-of-a-kind, where not only the temperature can be controlled, but relative humidity and thermal loads, via radiant heat and wind velocity. An animated mannequin can be used to test a whole variety of human movements while wearing any number of garments.

Other laboratories were testing abrasion or resistance to delamination or integrity for bursting under pressure.

So, a big shout-out and expression of appreciation to a company that is uniquely American with a huge contribution in industry, sport and more recently medical applications such as stents and grafts.