Coronary heart disease risk in volunteer firefighters in Victoria, Australia

Alexander Wolkow, Kevin Netto, Peter Langridge, Jeff Green, David Nichols, Michael Sergeant, Brad Aisbett

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major problem for firefighters, even when considering the healthy worker effect (HWE). Although volunteer firefighters outnumber paid personnel, previous research has focused on paid US firefighters. By contrast, no CHD data for Australian firefighters exist. Risk factor data were collected from 2,943 Australian volunteer firefighters and CHD risk was compared with reference "low-risk" and Australian population data. Predicted CHD risk for male and female firefighter was 19.2% and 5.1%, respectively. Female firefighters high blood pressure and fasting glucose was significantly lower than the general population, whereas all other risk factors was similar to the general population. Firefighters' CHD risk was greater than other volunteer and paid emergency services, but the prevalence for most risk factors was similar to the general population. Therefore, Australian volunteer firefighters may not benefit from the HWE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-120
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Environmental & Occupational Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Coronary heart disease
  • Occupational health
  • Workplace

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