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First Responders Get Free Health Screenings from County Gov't

The Camden County mobile health vehicle was in Collingswood on Thursday morning to help screen firefighters for health risks.

Collingswood firefighters got free health screenings courtesy of health professionals from the county and Cooper University. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.
Collingswood firefighters got free health screenings courtesy of health professionals from the county and Cooper University. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

Nearly half of all firefighters who are killed in the line of duty aren't felled by smoke inhalation, building collapse, or brain injury—they're killed by heart disease, according to stats published by FEMA.

That's far too many for something that can be addressed with better preventive care, according to Camden County leaders.

So as part of a new initiative called "Helping Our Heroes," the county government has partnered with healthcare professionals from Cooper to provide free wellness screenings for local emergency services personnel.

On Thursday, the program made its first stop of the year at the Collingswood Community Center to provide checkups to members of the Collingswood Fire Department.

Long hours of interrupted or infrequent sleep, high caffeine intake, and high stress are par for the course, said Collingswood Fire Chief Keith Davis—and that's before firefighter/EMTs catapult themselves across town to the latest emergency.

"It's really all we know," added firefighter Ted Aurig. "It's kind of our lifestyle to go from 0 to 100 in a couple of seconds."

"Public health is more than just being here," said health educator Lynn Rosner, who was handing out preventive care information in the county health mobile.

"It's working with your communities in policy change," she said.

The program is designed to give first responders "a more global outlook" on their overall health, said Camden County spokesperson Dan Keashen.

"It gives the health department a whole new audience to speak with," he said.

Click the video above to hear Davis talk about the impact of the health screenings on his department.

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