How to Create and Implement a Health and Wellness Program for Your Department

As firefighters and emergency responders, it’s more important than ever to be in good health. Your community depends on you to be ready immediately in a variety of emergency situations. In order to respond quickly and work efficiently to resolve problems, a healthy body and mind are imperative.

One way to improve the health and wellness of all your emergency responder workers is to implement a health and wellness program. Here’s how to get started.

1. Set specific goals. 

Every department will face different challenges and goals. It’s important to be specific in establishing both.

Setting goals and identifying key challenges may be something you do alone as the department head. Or, you may choose to have a department-wide meeting with everyone, announcing a health and wellness initiative and getting feedback.

Regardless of your method, make sure you come away with several key goals that are unique to your situation. For example, you might decide that you want your health and wellness program to help your team:

  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Improve cardiovascular disease risk markers (high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, etc.)
  • Complete physical tasks with improved ease and efficiency

2. Create an action plan.

Now that you have a list of goals, how will you go about achieving them? Many departments create incentive programs to motivate employees. Conversely, some departments will find it more appropriate to keep each employee’s goals and progress personal and confidential.

You’ll also need to establish a method of gathering everyone’s data. If you want to reduce smoking, have employees track their daily cigarette intake. If you want to track blood pressure, plan a monthly blood pressure check-in day, and keep a chart (public or private) to track progress.

Other important elements of your action plan should include securing sponsors to support your program if necessary and creating a concrete timeline.

3. Ensure you have a comprehensive insurance plan for all employees. 

Whether volunteer, combination, or career firefighters and emergency responders, all of your employees need to have complete and quality firefighting insurance.

Fire Department & Emergency Service Insurance with FirePlus provides comprehensive property, liability, and casualty insurance to firefighters and first responders. While your health and wellness program will ideally reduce overall occasions of accident and illness, a quality insurance program like FirePlus is also crucial for your protection and your department’s.

4. Make an announcement.

If your team hasn’t been alerted already, make a general announcement about the new health and wellness plan. Explain the new program in detail from start to finish, and be sure to provide written outlines of how tracking and incentives (if any) will work.

Additionally, make sure everyone is aware of your department’s firefighting insurance plan and how it works. Misunderstanding of insurance benefits and perks is a common reason more employees don’t take advantage of offerings or incorrectly file claims.

Implementing a health and wellness program for your department will not only improve the performance of your firefighters and emergency responders; it will also create a more positive work environment and result in fewer illnesses, injuries, and absences for your team.

About Provident FirePlus

At Provident FirePlus, we offer custom tailored packages to best protect firefighters and volunteer firefighters. We understand the risks that emergency response teams are subjected to on a daily basis, and have worked to serve these dedicated professionals for over 87 years. For more information about our products and policies, we invite you to contact our experts today at (800) 447-0360.