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Fire Prevention & Safety Grants - Research & Development

Applied Research Projects

R&D Awards

R&D Abstracts

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Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Research and Development (R&D) Activity is aimed at improving firefighter safety, health or well-being through research and development. The five project categories eligible for funding under this activity are:

1.            Clinical Studies;

2.            Technology and Product Development;

3.            Database System Development;

4.            Preliminary Studies; and,

5.            Early Career Investigator.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to seek partnerships with the fire service that will support the ongoing project efforts from design through dissemination and implementation.

The emphasis of this program is on research that will yield results that can be readily applied to improve firefighter safety, health, and well-being. R&D Grants have been awarded since 2005.

A picture of a flre fighter sitting on a fire truck, holding her head in her hands.

Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Grant Award Results

FEMA made six awards under the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 FP&S R&D Grant Program, for a total of $8,365,202. This report is based on results from each of the FY 2016 grants awarded in 2017 and ending in 2020 and 2021. Analysis of data and dissemination of results may continue after the end of the award period of performance. Therefore, additional results of interest to the fire service may be available at meetings, in publications, and through on-line podcasts published after this report.

Read the 2016 Report

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View the 2015 Report

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Applied Research Projects

Clinical Studies

The R&D Clinical Studies category includes projects that address behavioral, social science, and cultural research as well as physiological and medical research activities. Such studies must address the relevant aspects of reducing fatal and non-fatal injuries among firefighters and, where possible, have rigorous design that permits attribution of results to the intervention. In addition to being relevant and rigorous, each study should target the appropriate level of investigation based on the state of the science.

At the most basic level, the study might be foundational, investigating the underlying risk and protective factors associated with certain injury outcomes. These may include the following:

  • Individual level characteristics;
  • Departmental/organizational policies;
  • Firefighter behavioral practices and norms; and,
  • Environmental factors.

Where evidence exists to progress to more applied research, the study should emphasize intervention development and testing for effectiveness, including in the field setting. For instance, if certain tests in clinical care settings are known to identify those at risk for cardiovascular events, then the study may focus on modification, if necessary, and implementation of such tests in fire service settings. To ensure study rigor, the study’s design would use a randomized control trial, with comparison to usual care. Inclusion of a cost-effectiveness analysis is strongly encouraged.

Where the effectiveness of an intervention has been established in the field setting, the final level of study aims to facilitate adoption of the research results in the fire service by conducting dissemination and implementation research. Such a study may investigate the impact of strategies for widespread implementation with fidelity. Credible evidence of effectiveness is defined as positive results from systematic and rigorous study, and the absence of negative results or side effects.

Technology and Product Development

The Technology and Product Development category includes projects that result in outcomes that can enhance safety of firefighter activities. Firefighter safety can be improved through greater understanding of fire phenomena inside and outside structures, and the development of products to enhance firefighter situational awareness and effectiveness. Projects can develop new technology or adapt existing products and technology to new uses.

Projects address the safety of firefighters for all types of responses including residential, commercial, industrial, and wildland fires. Technology and product development projects can 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 Activity is to deliver outcomes that are likely to be implemented nationally by the fire service, inclusion of a cost-effectiveness analysis is encouraged. Technology and product development projects need to assess the ultimate practicality of deployment and use of the results by the fire service. In making a selection of local fire department and national fire service organization partners, consideration should be given to the capabilities of the partners to support the project efforts from design through dissemination and implementation.

Database System Development

Database Systems are used for the systematic collection of information to determine the predictors and correlates 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, communication systems);
  • Environmental factors such as local building structures, types of building materials; and
  • Exposure to hazardous substances.

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.

Preliminary Studies

Project ideas may require information, evidence, experimentation; and study to justify a larger and complete project that can impact firefighter safety, health; or well-being. Preliminary studies, although narrower in scope, must have the same high levels of scientific rigor and relevance to the fire service as studies in other R&D Activity categories. The successful completion of a preliminary study does not result in special priority for the larger follow-on proposal submitted in a subsequent application period. The level of funding requested should be proportionate to the limited goal and purpose of the preliminary effort.

Early Career Investigator

This project category is intended to promote the development of principle investigators (PIs) engaged in research to improving firefighter safety, health; and well-being. This category is reserved for projects led by a PI who received a terminal academic degree (a doctoral level, professional level, or equivalent advanced level research degree) or ended post-graduate training (such as a post-doctoral fellowship or residency, whichever date is later) within 10 years of the opening date of the application period and who has not been a PI on a previous FP&S Program award. The applicant must identify a mentor to provide guidance to the research.  Projects aligned under any of the above-mentioned categories or that are affiliated with ongoing fire service research efforts are encouraged. The applicant’s institution must be the sponsoring institution, as individuals are not eligible to receive an award under this program. These projects are limited to a maximum $600,000 federal share.

Research and Development Grants Awarded Fiscal Years 2005 - 2022

Fiscal YearTotal Number of AwardsTotal Federal Funds Awarded

Connect With Us

If you have questions about clinical projects, please contact Dr. Susie Day.

If you have any questions about technology and product development projects, please contact Dr. Dave Evans.

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