Main Content

Fire Prevention & Safety - Research & Development Grants - Eligible Category Information

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

Behavioral, Clinical, and Social Science R&D activities include projects that address behavioral, social science, and cultural research as well as physiological and medical research activities. Such studies address the relevant aspects of reducing fatal and nonfatal injuries among firefighters and target the appropriate level of investigation based on the state of the science.

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

Technology and Product Development

Technology and Product Development activities include projects that result in outcomes that can enhance the safety of firefighter activities. Firefighter safety can be improved through greater understanding of fire phenomena inside and outside of structures, the development of products to enhance firefighter situational awareness and firefighting effectiveness, and the use of fire protection strategies and products to minimize the development of fire hazards. Projects may develop new technologies or adapt existing products and technologies to new uses.

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

Database System Development

Database Systems are used for the systematic collection of information to determine the predictors and correlates for incidents pertaining to fatal and nonfatal injuries. The focus of data collection projects may include but is not limited to the following:
  • 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
Database System development projects may focus on the design and feasibility of a new database system, expand variables and/or data collection methods, seek to build upon an existing database system, or move from a local level database system to a broader State or regional level system.

An example of this type of project is shown below:
  • Firefighter Nonfatal Injury Surveillance System Development
    Drexel University
    Jennifer A. Taylor, Ph.D, MPH

Dissemination and Implementation Research

Dissemination and Implementation Research projects include the ways that new programs, policies, or products with credible evidence of effectiveness are moved to nationwide adoption and use. Credible evidence of effectiveness is defined as positive results from systematic and rigorous study, and the absence of negative results or side effects. These projects may involve studies of the dissemination and implementation of results from a prior firefighter safety, health, and wellness R&D activity provided that the project resulted in success as represented by publication in a peer-reviewed journal or other expert review of findings.

A few examples of this type of project are below:

  • Assessment of Web-Based Interactive Methodology for Dissemination and Diffusion
    Polytechnic University
    Sunil Kumar, Ph.D
  • National Firefighter Sleep Disorders Management Program: Translation to Practice
    The Brigham & Women's Hospital, Inc.
    Charles Czeisler, Ph.D, MD

Preliminary Studies

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.


Last Updated: 
09/29/2014 - 16:45