The Austin Public Safety Wellness Center offers a variety of services available to public safety personnel. We provide annual medical testing (spirometry, hearing, vision, EKG/Stress, and tuberculosis screening) reviewed by the medical director, Dr. Paul Parrish. Other services include lab review, case management, vaccination programs, exposure management, and health interventions.
For personnel with certain medical diseases, the case is closely followed by the medical team in order to ensure that the personnel can complete job duties in the field.
The cardiac stress test or "the submaximal treadmill evaluation" is used to evaluate aerobic capacity. For incumbent firefighters, aerobic capacity is measured annually as part of the mandatory wellness exam. The EKG is used as a screening tool for cardiac disease and disorders beginning at 40 years old incumbent firefighters, and is also conducted immediately before all cardiac stress tests. For cadets, the cardiac stress test is used to evaluate aerobic capacity and screen for cardiac disease. To be considered for entrance into the Training Academy, a minimum aerobic capacity of 12 Metabolic Equivalent Tasks (METS) is required.
Public safety employees are at risk for occupational hearing loss due to possible long-term exposure to loud noises. Audiometry is a portion of the medical exam conducted during pre-employment to establish a baseline for candidates, as well as annually for incumbents as a screening tool to identify hearing loss. In the event a member needs hearing aids, the screening records are utilized for workers' compensation purposes.
Prior to your hearing exam, please Submit Records Request.
The occupational health physician assesses medical and fitness exam during results blood work, and works with employees to achieve optimal health. Based on this assessment, he/she may refer personnel to needed resources. In the hiring process, he/she evaluates whether the candidate is medically cleared to perform job tasks for firefighting according to National Fire Protection Association standards.
Spirometry testing is administered as a portion of the medical exam during pre-employment for candidates, as well as annually for incumbents. Spirometry tests assess specific factors of lung function for occupational safety. They are continued on an annual basis to allow the occupational health physician to screen for lung disease.
This video is a demonstration of the test. A member takes a deep breath, creates a tight seal on the mouthpiece, breathes out forcefully, and keeps breathing until the examiner tells him/her to stop; each member needs to take three to eight breaths. The test will indicate when the examiner should stop, and then the physician will review the results.
All personnel will have their vaccinations updated per the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for healthcare providers. This includes Hep A, Hep B, MMR, and TDAP. Each year, flu vaccines will also be provided for personnel.
Request: Vaccine Records
The following are vaccine information sheets giving general information about those offered:
Vision screening is administered as a portion of the medical exam, both pre-employment for candidates, as well as annually for incumbents. During the hiring process, they are conducted to screen for specific visual problems which may impact certain duties. These screenings are continued on an annual basis to allow the occupational health physician to identify changes in visual function or ocular health.
Blood pressure, height, and weight are measured.
Cadet screening, annual testing, light duty, exit exam
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As the Wellness Program Medical Director since 2005. Dr. Parrish is a board certified occupational physician who earned his medical degree from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He earned his Master of Public Health degree and completed an occupational medicine residency at Johns Hopkins University. Paul served in the U.S. Air Force for over 10 years, including an assignment as a Flight Surgeon, before coming to Austin.