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Are we Healthier ?

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Thought I would stimulate some discussion on this one. I think we all know the answer though. :)

When I joined back in the 90s, you were in a minority if you didn't smoke. In fact stations had dedicated smoking rooms. We also ate a little different than we do now, it was quick and easy and perhaps not the most healthiest compared to todays chicken breasts and salad, amongst many other healthier meals watches now prepare. The lack of station cooks also means FFs are preparing meals themselves.

I find it quite interesting that if you now smoke, you are the minority and having had a look, I am not aware of anyone on one of my stations, out of 44 staff that actually smoke, or knowingly vape. I often eat with the watches and its all very healthy.

Is this the same trend over the country ?

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Going to play devils advocate here & say overall people are becoming more unhealthy. Obesity & waistlines have increased over the last 20 years & highly processed food is more readily available. Also due to advances in technology we now have more distractions which has made some more lazy. 

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I suppose the current media narrative is that everyone is getting fatter and we are all eating kebabs and pizzas as we sit in front of PCs and X-boxes. Maybe there's some truth in that within certain sectors of the community, but I question whether those entering the fire service since have followed that downward curve in the same way.

I know Carl has set the comparison date as the 90s, but I will extend that to when I joined the job in the 1970s if I may.

It was a different world back then and significantly so (including the language - so be warned).

We had fast food shops but nowhere near as many as now, but the food we ate at home - and especially on the station - was far more basic and hardly any consideration was given to calories or fat intake.

Fags were everywhere. The first thing many did after taking a lungful of smoke on the fireground was to light one up. The brand you smoked would define you. Filters were for poofs.

Our day shift started at 9am with a cuppa in a smoke filled mess. At 11am, we would have two giant sandwiches consisting of four 30mm thick slices of uncut white bread (sliced bread was for poofs). A generous serving of gated cheap cheddar, finished with a shovel full of raw onion and a tablespoon Branston pickle would make up the snack.

Two hours later, we would enjoy lunch. A huge roast dinner with all the trimmings, or maybe a giant shepherds pie. Afterwards, apple pie and thick viscous custard or bread & butter pudding would fill any gaps in our stomach.

Hopefully the Guvnor would have got drills out of the way first thing as there wouldn’t be much support for running around after that stodge-fest.  We would watch an episode of Crown Court (a cheap but fascinating daytime tv drama) and try not to move too much.

We may have to do a few hydrants or a 1(1)d  - a 7(2)d in todays money, then back for a nap as they was pretty exhausting

Thankfully, the only gym anyone knew was the Mess Manager at the neighbouring station (Jim - see what I did there?) as there wasnt one on the station, indeed there weren’t many gyms out there at all. Plus of course, gyms were for poofs.

Some stations would have cake and tea at 3pm to line the stomach for a few beers after work and if you were lucky, a pastie and chips or KFC before you got home.

The night shift would involve a huge curry or chilli at 20:00 (two hours in) then a few beers and a fry up at 8am before before you went home at 9. Marvellous

Fast forward to the 2000s when I was approaching the end of my operational career and the attitude to health, food and exercise had changed beyond description.

Gyms were on stations and popular, indeed firefighters signing up to gyms off duty. A total lard ban on stations as olive oil was introduced, butter almost went the same way as discussions on polyunsaturates around the mess table highlighted the health risks.

Looking after yourself in the 70s was not getting caught having a drunken party in the basement on nights. By 2000 looking after yourself was healthy eating and exercising. Breakfasts had muesli, brunches replaced sandwiches included green vegetables and salads were no longer for poofs - we all ate them!

And it wasnt just the body we were looking after. Fatal incidents were dealt with in the 70s by a beer after work and encouragement to pull your socks up. PTSD hadn’t been invented then, but if it had - you guessed it - only poofs would have suffered from it

So on balance, unless there’s been a huge decline in standards since I retired, the firefighting community are living life much more healthily now.

That lifestyle and improvements to H&S procedures (ie BA at car fires) means you lot will all outlive me, and I will raise a glass (of gluten free, low calorie mineral water in a rainbow coloured  recycled beaker) to that!!

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first thing i was asked on day one, and i mean first thing was did i want booking on dinners,etc.

like many i ve seen smokers pushed out station into the yard,however that means those left having a fag break every hour on the hour during the day

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Smokers are a rarity now Ive learned, its those vaping that are are everywhere ( myself included; coincidentally at disciplinary once i found myself having a vape outside with the AC chairing the meeting during a break in proceedings … I was the one who was in trouble by the way, yet the chat was of a social nature, just two people having a hit of their vice in a few minutes of “break time” )

I only joined 8 years ago and it seems like it was 5 minutes ago but there were alot more smokers even back then in the job. I was a heavy smoker, i remember being sent to babysit an LLP half a mile away from a job overnight on releifs and panicking that the 8 I had on me wasnt going to last the next 4-6 hours. I feel there were positives to it. Going back to the above bit about having a vape with the AC, it fostered a social atmosphere.

You’d get back from a bad job and four of us would get off the truck and light up. No dark cloud hanging over us, just a few lads outside taking the mick and having a bit of banter over a smoke. The group had the staples im sure have been seen on fire stations all over. The one who rolls his own. The one who is a “social smoker” yet never bought any and cadged off someone else, the one who would smoke three in a row. But it is a rarity as we all have to work longer so have to look after ourselves “you wouldnt put chip oil in a Ferrari would ya son” my old WC was fond of saying

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23 hours ago, Carl said:

I am not aware of anyone on one of my stations, out of 44 staff that actually smoke, or knowingly vape.


As my SM there's things you should know and there's things you shouldn't 😂😜😘

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7 hours ago, CaptainFlack said:

As my SM there's things you should know and there's things you shouldn't

As one of my 44, there are things I know, that you don't think I know, ;)

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