This section contains information about the research and development projects in the five project categories in the R&D program. The content is useful for those in the fire service seeking information about to how to improve the safety and health of firefighters.
The purpose of this funding activity is to improve firefighter health and life safety through research and development projects. Grantee projects focus on topics known to be major causes of, or related to major causes of, firefighter morbidity and mortality. Five project categories are listed below, but the order in which they are listed does not indicate their level of importance; this is not an all-inclusive list of the categories of projects that have been funded.
- Behavioral, Clinical, and Social Science Studies
- Technology and Product Development
- Database System Development
- Dissemination and Implementation Research
- Preliminary Studies
At the most basic level, these studies may be foundational, investigating the underlying risk and protective factors associated with certain injury outcomes. These may include individual-level characteristics; departmental/organizational policies, practices, and norms; and environmental factors that may be linked to incidents involving injury outcomes. Where evidence exists to progress to more applied research, studies emphasize intervention development and testing for effectiveness, including field testing.
A few examples of these types of projects are shown below:
- Predicting Cardiovascular Risk and Fitness in Firefighters
The President and Fellows of Harvard College
Stefanos Kales, Ph.D, MPH
- Fireground Rehab Evaluation (FIRE) Trial
University of Pittsburgh
David Hostler, Ph.D
- FIRE Study: A Prospective Evaluation of Health Behavior Risk for Injury among Firefighters
National Development and Research Institutes, Inc.
Sara Jahnke, Ph.D
Projects address the safety of firefighters for all types of fire incidents including residential, commercial, industrial, and wildland fires. Technology and Product Development projects address fire and firefighting hazards by making use of technology transfer opportunities in which existing technologies can be adapted to enhance firefighter safety.
As the intention of the R&D activities is to deliver outcomes that can be applied to improve firefighter safety, projects assess the use of the products and technology by the fire service under realistic fire conditions. Technology and product development projects assess the ultimate practicality of deployment through the use of the results by firefighters during actual firefighting operations.
A few examples of these types of projects are below:
- Firefighter Safety and Photovoltaic Systems
Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.
Pravinray Gandhi, Ph.D
- Whole Glove Test Technologies to Advance Performance Standards for Firefighter Gloves
North Carolina State University
Roger L. Barker, Ph.D
- Escape Rope Performance and Design in Fireground Applications
The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Gavin Horn, Ph.D
- Firefighter demographic and health factors (e.g., age; blood pressure)
- Firefighter employment factors (e.g., shift; volunteer; training)
- Firefighter safety behaviors (e.g., seat belt use; hydration)
- Firefighting equipment
- Personal protective equipment
- Departmental/organizational safety policies and practices
- Cultural or social norms regarding injury prevention practices
- Community-based resources (e.g., hospitals, cornrnunication systems)
- Environmental factors such as local building structures, types of building materials
An example of this type of project is shown below:
- Firefighter Nonfatal Injury Surveillance System Development
Jennifer A. Taylor, Ph.D, MPH
A few examples of this type of project are below:
Some project ideas may require information, evidence, experimentation, and study in order to justify a larger and complete study that can impact firefighter safety, health, and wellness. Preliminary studies have limited goals and short-duration investigations designed specifically to explore ideas that may be appropriate for further development in a full study in one of the four primary categories of R&D activities.