Step One Foods’ Healthy Hearts for Heroes Project

Step One Foods’ Healthy Hearts for Heroes Project

Healthy Hearts Project

Left to right: SLPFD Chief Steve Koering, SOF Co-founder Barb Birr, Sen. Al Franken, SOF Co-founder Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, SLPFD Asst. Chief Rodger Coppa, Minnesota State Fire Marshall Bruce West.
Photo credit: Seth Rowe

At Step One Foods we love firefighters, especially our local fire department in St. Louis Park. So it was troubling to learn the details of their cardiovascular risks.

The single largest occupational hazard for firefighters (FFs) is not trauma, but rather cardiovascular disease, which accounts for 45% of on-duty deaths. Additionally, for every on-duty firefighter death, there are an estimated 17 non-fatal cardiovascular disease events.

Although responding to a fire is associated with significant physical, emotional and mental stress, it is the presence of underlying cardiovascular disease risk factors that disproportionately contributes to firefighter mortality. 

We were determined to help stop the number one on-the-job killer of these heroes. We found the perfect partner to help us develop a unique demonstration project right up the street. Our own St. Louis Park FD has been a leader in developing and implementing firefighter wellness initiatives for well over a decade.

The results of our project exceeded our wildest expectations: we achieved an 18% reduction in firefighter cardiovascular disease risk in just 30 days. 

Step One Foods two-per-day food system is an ideal fit for firefighters who have demanding and unpredictable work schedules. And it turns out firefighters really like the our foods, especially the pancakes and chocolate bars.

This week, US Senator Al Franken and the Minnesota State Fire Marshall met with us to discuss the results and ways to roll this program out to fire departments throughout Minnesota and the country. 

Our work to help firefighters is something of which we are really proud. We’ll be sharing updates over the coming months.

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