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NCFPD changes employee wellness programs

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The North County Fire Protection District has changed employee wellness program providers.

The fire district had been using the SACFIT Wellness Program, but a 5-0 NCFPD board vote Dec. 14 approved a transition to the On-Duty Health Firefighter Health and Fitness Assessment.

“That’s our hope that we can provide our folks with a wellness program that will keep them mentally and physically healthy and strong throughout their career,” said NCFPD fire chief Keith McReynolds.

North County Fire had been using SACFIT for more than a decade, but SACFIT has been limited to employee fitness evaluations. “Historically we have provided a fitness-based wellness program,” McReynolds said. “This new program will actually provide medical testing for our folks.”

On-Duty Health will also provide audiometric testing, vision evaluation, a cardiac stress test and maximum oxygen consumption rate measurements, ultrasound testing which includes early cancer detection, and behavioral health assessments. On-Duty Health provides health specialist physicians, nurse practitioners, exercise physiologists, and ultrasound and x-ray technicians who are trained in National Fire Protection Association health standards.

“It really is cutting edge,” McReynolds said.

Each employee will receive a fully electronic and secure online portal with all assessment results which are stored for the user’s ongoing access.

The additional annual cost for the fire district is $15,000, although studies have shown that fire departments using Wellness Fitness Initiative programs spend only one-third of the amount for injured or ill fire service employees that departments without a WFI program spend.

 

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