It would appear that now, for the month of May with spring fully in bloom, is a wonderful opportunity to report about the new Life Scan Wellness Center located near the Fire/Rescue Training Academy, specifically on the grounds of the old Police Academy. The program is designed to provide a 'snapshot' of each participant's current health status, an assessment that is quite elaborate and well-worth the time spent with the proceedings. Aside from the incredibly professional and courteous service provided, thereby making the procedure far less taxing than might otherwise be assumed, the entire examination is simply an indispensable tool in establishing a benchmark which to draw comparisons from in future, annual examinations. Look for more information on the entire process in an upcoming segment on our department's weekly Cable Access Training program.
Speaking of which, during this month of May, 2005, 'C.A.T.S.' will feature another special segment, this one devoted to the Family Support Services of North Florida and, specifically, the organization's worthy 'Foster Parenting' program. Chief Executive Officer Jim Adams is featured in the program as he explains the procedures and importance of the foster parenting program and how members of the Jacksonville Fire/Rescue Department can and should get involved. Be sure to tune in.
As mentioned in this copy previously, the comprehensive Life Scan Wellness assessment is quite valuable and thorough. This has become all the more evident as bloodwork tests for the HAZMAT crew of Station 21 revealed an inexplicable elevation of a heavy metal in their samples. Acting without hesitation, the Department immediately ordered a temporary closing of Fire Station 21 in order to allow the Department of Health to perform testing on air and water within the station. Engine, Ladder and Rescue crews were relocated to stations in direct proximity to the first due territory, thereby ensuring continued service to that district, and plans are being formulated to provide new accommodations as soon as possible. In somewhat related news, the wellness program within the department received good news with the receipt of federal grant monies under the Firefighter's Assistance Grant Program to be used in procuring cardio-vascular exercise equipment for many of the fire stations throughout our city. From stairsteppers and stationary bikes to treadmills, cardio-related exercise equipment is a much needed and welcomed addition to the inventory of those items needed in ensuring that the best fire/rescue department in the nation can continue to perform at the highest level possible; cardio-vascular related illnesses consistently account for the vast majority of deaths within the fire service.