Injury Risk Reduction Programs for Firefighters—A Case Example

by Carl H. Sheppard, CSCS, TSAC-F
TSAC Report July 2015
Vol 45, Issue 1

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The program described in this article is an example of how a department can attempt to address and potentially prevent musculoskeletal injuries in firefighters and similar tactical populations. This process includes the use of movement screens, active workshops, and various modes of feedback.

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Injury prevention, or more specifically, musculoskeletal injury (MSI) prevention is often a topic of discussion for senior command in professional fire departments, and with good reason. MSI can account for 57% of all injuries suffered by firefighter personnel, on and off the fireground (9). Furthermore, MSI can affect the personnel pool, burdening the fiscal solvency of a department, which must either backfill these positions or send crews out at dangerously low staffing levels (8). In the example used for this article, from 2013 – 2015, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department (FCFRD) spent over 19 million dollars on MSI treatment, rehabilitation, and backfill.

This article originally appeared in TSAC Report, the NSCA’s quarterly, online-only publication geared toward the training of tactical athletes, operators, and facilitators. It provides research-based articles, performance drills, and conditioning techniques for operational, tactical athletes. The TSAC Report is only available for NSCA Members. Read more articles from TSAC Report 

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Carl H. Sheppard, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, TSAC-F

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Carl Sheppard is currently the Director of the Army Wellness Center at Ft. Carson, CO. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®) ...

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