Diabetic firefighters?

firefighter dude
By firefighter dude Latest Reply 2014-11-20 17:25:02 -0600
Started 2014-11-17 14:43:48 -0600

Hi I wonder if there are any diabetic firefighters? (And if you are thinking of becoming a firefighter, with either type 1 or type 2, I could be able to answer some questions you may have.) I am currently taking firefighting 1 class, I have type 1 diabetes, and I have asked my doctors and my fire instructors if diabetics could become firefighters they both said " of course as long as the diabetics sugar levels are under control." Do you think that diabetics are capable of the job? I made this post because I know that some diabetics don't think they can do this job and there isn't much talk about this topic.

20 replies

sandyfrazzini 2014-11-20 14:18:19 -0600 Report

Hey firefighter dude, I was thinking about the insulin pump and the tubing like Joyce mentioned and i believe the is one insulin pump that is wireless. Not sure but I think it's the omni pod, anyway it may be worth checking out? Are you even on a pump now? I love mine, but they are not for everyone.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-18 21:43:18 -0600 Report

I spent 10 years as a volunteer EMT. I met several firefighters who are Type 1 and 2 diabetics. They never let being diabetic stop them from being all they can be. Due to surgery on my hand, I could no longer lift a stretcher. I now do a lot of community work and work closely with the Police Department. There are police officers who are diabetic. Both jobs are highly stressful because you don't know what the situation is until you arrive on the scene. You also don't know what is going to happen once you are on the scene and not everything is a textbook case. You have to be able to adapt to the situation.

Our Police Commissioner is having officers trained to recognize diabetic crisis situations. Often police officers are on the scene before paramedics or firefighter EMT's. The reason why he did this is because two of us on the Community Relations board are diabetics. There are times people are pulled over or stopped for being drunk or disorderly in vehicles or on foot and charged with being drunk when they are actually experiencing a diabetic episode.

I have also transported a fire captain to the ER because he was hypoglycemic. He returned to his job a few days later. He had been in a meeting and forgot to take his insulin.

It doesn't matter if you have diabetes or not, you can be all you can be if you choose to work at it. The only limitations a person has are the ones each of us put on ourselves. Having been in the fire department and seen things the average person will never see, I suggest that you let your fellow coworkers know you are a diabetic and to stay in control of your diabetes as much as possible. When you are feeling stressed, talk to someone. Don't let the stress build up and you will be very successful. Always strive to move forward and you will do well in your career. One day you may become Fire Chief and diabetes never held you back.

firefighter dude
firefighter dude 2014-11-18 22:02:51 -0600 Report

Thank very much Joyce you have gave me a new hope. I put this topic up because I have look for hours for any source of a diabetic firefighter and I hope a kid with any type of diabetes who wants to be come a firefighter would see this and read your comment and they will feel motivated to still fulfill there dream like I am hoping to do with mine.

sandyfrazzini 2014-11-18 14:07:09 -0600 Report

I Think that you can do anything you truely want to do if you want it enough. I also believe that anyone even considering becoming a firefighter has to be aware of all the dangers, not just someone with diabetes. you will just have to be more aware, I would suggest an insulin pump with CGM system which can help predict lows and highs before they happen. It truely takes a special person to put their lives on the line for us everyday. Thank you and be safe in whatever you decide.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-19 13:21:18 -0600 Report

An insulin pump might not be a good thing because firefighters are going into open flames and even with the clothing worn, the pump could get hot or be in the way of the equipment they wear. The best thing for him to do is to find out if he can have one while at work.

firefighter dude
firefighter dude 2014-11-19 16:13:47 -0600 Report

I was thinking about the tubing insulin pumps as I can disconnect it when I am at a fire and I don't have to worry about the system overheating or me getting to much insulin . And I can ask my local fire department if they will allow insulin pumps too. And thanks for the advice.

firefighter dude
firefighter dude 2014-11-18 15:50:28 -0600 Report

Thanks you for the motivation sandyfrazzini. It's my dream to be a firefighter and if I can't be a firefighter I am ok with being a EMT but I am truly motivated to become a fireman.

aleahk 2014-11-17 16:30:20 -0600 Report

Firefighter dude,
That's awesome that you want to be part of a fire department. My dad is currently a firefighter, and while he doesn't have diabetes I have some insight. James is right, some calls are exhausting and have potential to last 8+ hours without a break. However, if you work for a large city many times they have a truck specifically for food/coffee that is stationed at the bigger calls (5 alarm fires, forest fires, etc). When you are investigating stations and testing it is definitely something to ask them about. Best of luck!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-19 13:10:38 -0600 Report

I live in a big city. We have a truck that supplies food and beverages for the firefighters. An ambulance is always on the scene of fires over 1 alarm. During the winter months the Mass Transit Administration sends a bus for them to use for warmth and rest.

A lot of the surrounding counties in my state have the same things in place. I think it all depends on where you are. A small town might not have what a major city has but odds are volunteers will come out with food and beverages for them.

firefighter dude
firefighter dude 2014-11-17 16:39:58 -0600 Report

Thank you, Aleahk for the information and the advice, I am very thankful for people who have commented so fast. I am taking a fire fighting 1 class and working with my fire instructor about the problems I might face on the job. I am also in an explores program with my local fire department to see what is like as a firefighter.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-19 13:18:10 -0600 Report

You could join a volunteer fire company. When I was a member we had students from the Universities program as members. Some dropped out of the program because they could not apply what they were learning in class to the realities of an actual fire scene. We had a kid who was so overzealous we had to practically strangle him to get him to understand what he was learning in the field.

Depending on where you are, it may be required to take an EMT course. In my city all firefighters take the course. If the Medics are all busy, firefighters respond and can provide basic medical care until paramedics arrive on the scene.

The most important thing to remember. Your education will not stop in the classroom. Once you are on the streets is when your education really begins.

firefighter dude
firefighter dude 2014-11-17 15:17:48 -0600 Report

Oh cool and thanks. How was the volunteer fire departments? Thinking of joining one before going to a real fire department.

jayabee52 2014-11-19 07:32:39 -0600 Report

FD, I loved it there! I probably would still be there had there not been political stuff going on at my work which necessitated moving to a different place of employment (not much else to do in small town Nebraska which necessitated a move)

jayabee52 2014-11-17 15:14:16 -0600 Report

Howdy FD
I used to be a volunteer firefighter, but that was before I was Dx'd with type 2. I went through a fire school for volunteers and was in a burning house during a practice burn. I also assisted with the ambulance runs from our small Nebraska town.

I do know of a couple people who are firefighters and have diabetes. I queried the DC search engine and found this list of replies which has the word firefighter in it ~ http://www.diabeticconnect.com/search?query=f...

I would not be honest if I didn't express some concern for your safety. If you get to fighting a really big fire and you don't have time to eat properly you could get a hypo, and endanger yourself and others who would need to care for you, taking away from the effort to fight the fire.

It would be much safer for you and everyone else to become an EMT or related function.

Just sayin'

Praying for your safety