|Project Title:||Assessment of Web-Based Interactive Methodology for Dissemination and Diffusion|
|Principle Investigator:||Sunil Kumar, Ph.D|
|Period of Performance:||05/28/2010 - 11/27/2013|
Research projects conducted around the world have made substantial progress in the development of technologies and tactics for improving firefighter safety. However, the gap between science-based interventions and widespread practice remains large. This is because the fire service not only needs information and knowledge but also methods for effective and efficient ongoing dissemination and training.
The study purposes are (1) to assess and establish that a web-based interactive (aka game system) platform is an effective means for training and improving firefighter knowledge and skills, and (2) to evaluate whether web-based interactive training offers the most effective and efficient instrument for dissemination and diffusion for a wide variety of fire situations and topics when compared to traditional methods.
Experiments will be conducted using random assignment of firefighters from New York City (New York City Fire Department) and Chicago (Chicago Fire Department) to different training methods (traditional classroom and web-based game system) for comparative effectiveness and cost analyses. A third non-urban fire department also will participate, including random assignment to both training methods.
To determine the generalizability of the platform for various fire training scenarios, three very different cases, each with prior AFG funding to establish effectiveness, will be examined: (1) strategies for fighting wind-driven high-rise fires (identified in a previous study by the Polytechnic Institute of New York University), (2) fighting residential fires with engineered lumber (evidence determined in a prior Underwriters Laboratories--Chicago Fire Department study), and fatigue management (developed and tested by Brigham Women's Hospital). Each scenario will be observed in each of the three fire service settings and with both of the training methods.
Projected Results and Conclusions:
Web-based interactive tools can provide at least the same level of knowledge and skills to trainees as achieved with a traditional classroom approach. Importantly, such new tools can accomplish fire service training goals more efficiently and with lower cost, enhancing dissemination and implementation of new training products.
With these findings, web-based interactive training will allow fire services to rapidly absorb and implement procedures and tools developed via recent scientific endeavors for improving firefighter safety, health, and wellness.