Firefighters give their lives to their duty - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Firefighters give their lives to their duty

  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Local artists auction work to benefit Albany Humane Society

    Local artists auction work to benefit Albany Humane Society

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 4:07 AM EDT2014-09-16 08:07:28 GMT
    Animal lovers can give back to the Albany Humane Society in a very unique way. Local artists will be auctioning off their work to benefit the non-profit organization through Artists for Animals. More >>
    Animal lovers can give back to the Albany Humane Society in a very unique way. Local artists will be auctioning off their work to benefit the non-profit organization through Artists for Animals. 
    More >>
  • Worth County is Camera Ready

    Worth County is Camera Ready

    Monday, September 15 2014 10:50 PM EDT2014-09-16 02:50:56 GMT
    Karen Rackley, Sylvester-Worth County Chamber of Commerce Executive DirectorKaren Rackley, Sylvester-Worth County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director
    Every county in Georgia is now camera ready.Worth County is one of the final 20 counties that just earned the designation meant to show television and movie producers that local communities are able and willing to help them. More >>
    Every county in Georgia is now camera ready.Worth County is one of the final 20 counties that just earned the designation meant to show television and movie producers that local communities are able and willing to help them. More >>
  • Sylvester city departments remain without phone service

    Sylvester city departments remain without phone service

    Monday, September 15 2014 10:50 PM EDT2014-09-16 02:50:33 GMT
    Bill Yearta, Mayor of SylvesterBill Yearta, Mayor of Sylvester
    All city departments in Sylvester remain without phone service. The phone system went down on Monday at Sylvester City Hall and the police, fire, and public works departments.More >>
    All city departments in Sylvester remain without phone service. The phone system went down on Monday at Sylvester City Hall and the police, fire, and public works departments.More >>

January 10, 2005

Albany - One-hundred-seven American firefighters died in the line of duty last year. Nearly half the firefighters who died suffered heart attacks or strokes.

Fire fighting is one of the most dangerous jobs in America, and the hazards of fire fighting don't end once the blaze is put out. The stress and dangers of the job nearly left Albany's Fire Department without a chief this year.

"There's nothing like the satisfaction of walking away from a good-working fire knowing what you've done saved a life and saved a family from a huge amount of property loss." Albany Fire Chief Jimmie Arrowood has been fighting fires for more than 30 years. He put out flames long before air filtration systems and high tech fire resistant clothes protected firefighters. "In my day, it was a canvas coat, a plastic helmet, and no breathing apparatus."

The hazards of the job caught up with Chief Arrowood in September when he suffered a heart attack. He was forced to make some changes. "Change in diet and exercise habits, basically if it taste good I can't swallow it."

He was a lucky one though. 49 firefighters died from heart attacks last year. Those deaths made up nearly half of the 107 line-of-duty deaths in 2004.

The job of a firefighter is unique in that one second you're sitting in a quiet fire station and within ten minutes you're inside a burning building with your heart racing. That stress, over the years, can take a dangerous toll on the body.

"The fire service has spent a lot of time and effort in the last ten years in firefighter occupational safety," said Chief Arrowood.

Firefighters are now required to do more than 240 hours of training, and they undergo physical fitness test twice a year to make sure their bodies are up to the task.

Their equipment better filters the harmful smoke. , but burns, smoke inhalation and accidents inside a fire still kill firefighters each year. Despite the dangers, it's a job firefighters say they live for and sometimes die for.

Pennsylvania had the highest number of firefighter deaths last year. Seventeen firefighters were killed.

posted at 3:54PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com