NPR logo

Firefighters Face Added Risk of Fatal Heart Attack

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/9047656/9047660" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Firefighters Face Added Risk of Fatal Heart Attack

Health

Firefighters Face Added Risk of Fatal Heart Attack

Firefighters Face Added Risk of Fatal Heart Attack

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/9047656/9047660" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

There is something about fighting fires that puts firefighters at much greater risk of having a fatal heart attack.

Firefighters are twice as likely to die from a heart attack in the line of duty than are policemen, and three times more likely than EMTs. Now a study in The New England Journal of Medicine finds that firefighters are up to 136 times more likely to die of a heart attack while fighting a blaze than when they're on non-emergency duty.

Some say that society should aggressively promote heart health and physical fitness to counteract firefighters' special risk — especially among the nation's volunteer firefighters, who make up 70 percent of the total force.