Dave Wurtzel is the founder and executive director of “The First Twenty,” a nonprofit dedicated to improving the health of the American firefighter. Our mission is to decrease Line of Duty Deaths due to heart attack in today’s fire service”, says Wurtzel
Wurtzel, a 20-year veteran volunteer firefighter, came across the statistic that heart attack is the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths of firefighters, accounting for more than half, “I couldn’t just say I hope somebody else figures that out,” he says. “I felt compelled – something should be done.”
After learning that there was no nationally available wellness program geared to firefighters, he set out to develop one. With a team of experts, Wurtzel launched “The First Twenty” in 2012. Since then, thousands of firefighters across the country have enrolled in its three-pronged program. The program is also working with universities and hospitals to research the approach for even broader application to advance the wellness of the country’s 1.1 million firefighters.