By David Madden

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — Some 2,800 firefighters and emergency medical technicians in Camden County will benefit from a new partnership between the county and a major health care provider.

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Cooper University Hospital will provide health screenings at firehouses throughout the county.  First responders can also make appointments with physicians.

The idea is to diagnose any potential health problems in first responders before they’re called out on a job.

Nationwide, 44 percent of on-duty firefighter deaths are caused by sudden cardiac arrest.

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Clementon, NJ fire chief Randy Freiling is a fan of the new program.

“This partnership allows us an additional venue to seek information based on the occupation that we do,” he said.  “I can’t even put into words how phenomenal of a concept this really is.”

Private insurance will pay for most of the program. Those without insurance will pay no more than $375 for a battery of tests.

The program is scheduled to get underway early next year.

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