Oklahoma State University in the Fire and Safety and Engineering Technology program needs help validating study on hearing Aids in the Fire Service.
Research project evaluating the melting temperature and maximum working temperatures of hearing aids. This study could be significant in that many fire fighters wear hearing aids against code and obviously, they are exposed to extreme temperatures and conditions as they fight fires and rescue individuals. Study could validate the safety of wearing hearing aids while in such conditions.
The anonymous survey with questions regarding hearing aid usage in the fire department. The survey is 6 questions and should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Below is a link to the survey.
The leading cause of death among firefighters is heart attacks like a sudden cardiac arrest and myocardial infarction. Take a look at this this study as it equated the cost-effectiveness of three strategies to prevent heart attacks among firefighters. The conclusions a wellness-fitness programs might be a cost-effective answer to prevention of heart attacks among firefighters compared to real-time physiologic monitoring or doing nothing.
Published in Bio-Med Central
The IAFC and its Safety, Health and Survival Section today released A Healthcare Provider’s Guide to Firefighter – down load the guide at (http://www.fstaresearch.org/resource/?FstarId=11591) to assist healthcare providers in the evaluation and treatment of the health and wellness of firefighters. The guide serves as an important new tool for firefighters to manage their own healthcare.
The research-supported, experience-driven guide, available due to the work of IAFC SHS members features a systems approach to the physical examination of firefighters, addressing cardiovascular health and fitness, cancer, musculoskeletal injuries, behavioral health, lung disease, sleep disorders and infectious diseases.
Firefighting is physically taxing, dangerous and stressful; this guide provides both the context and information needed to improve the medical testing and treatment of firefighters by their personal private primary care providers. This free Healthcare Provider’s Guide to Firefighter Physicals is available for you to bring to your physician to help them understand the physiological demands of firefighting and the resulting health risks research shows firefighters are most prone to.
The guide assists primary care providers in the evaluation, treatment and ongoing surveillance of the unique health and wellness needs of firefighters. Its medical recommendations are research-supported and experience-driven. It was written by physicians, healthcare professionals, researchers and fire service experts experienced in evaluating and treating firefighters. The concise format and well thought out content is continuously well received by physicians looking for information on the health needs of firefighters.
The best way to diminish the effects of any diseases, illnesses or injuries is to detect them as early as possible. This is especially true for firefighters who, in many cases, are at greater risk for certain diseases, illnesses, and injuries than the general population. The best way to find these diseases, illnesses and injuries early is for healthcare providers to have an increased awareness and for firefighters to have annual physicals that can catch abnormalities early.
This guide is for any firefighter, whether career or volunteer, whether your department provides annual physicals or not. Help improve your personal private primary care provider’s understanding of your unique firefighter healthcare needs. Bring the guide to your next annual physical exam.
Submitted by the IAFC Volunteer and Combination Officers Section (VCOS) and supported by the IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section (SHS), the position statement encourages chiefs of fire and rescue departments to support the initiative being facilitated by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Firefighter Cancer Support Network.
“With the rate of firefighter deaths linked to cancer growing every year, we also encourage departments to look for other ways to be proactive in alleviating exposure to known toxins and carcinogens,” the statement says. “We strongly support the funding for, and provision of, secondary firefighting hoods and gear bags to transport Personal Protective ensemble (PPE) as ways to mitigate exposure to such carcinogens. Furthermore, we encourage the continuous use of SCBA through overhaul and the use of disposable wipes at every fire during rehab to remove potential carcinogens.”
The statement says the IAFC “strongly recommends that all fire and emergency service agencies/organizations develop written policies and have procedures in place to support and enforce these policy recommendations.”
The position statement was adopted by the IAFC Board of Director on May 12, 2016. Read full position statement.
Request for Nominations of Candidates To Serve on the World Trade Center Health Program Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee (the STAC or the Committee), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services
Request for Nominations of Candidates To Serve on the World Trade Center Health Program Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee (the STAC or the Committee), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services
The CDC is soliciting nominations for membership on the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee (STAC).
Title I of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111-347 (Jan. 2, 2011), amended by Pub. L. 114-113 (Dec. 18, 2015), added Title XXXIII to the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act), establishing the WTC Health Program within HHS (42 U.S.C. 300mm to 300mm-61). Section 3302(a) of the PHS Act established the WTC Health Program STAC. The STAC is governed by the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (Pub. L. 92-463, 5 U.S.C. App.), which sets forth standards for the formation and use of advisory committees in the Executive Branch. PHS Act Section 3302(a)(1) establishes that the STAC will review scientific and medical evidence and make recommendations to the WTC Program Administrator on additional WTC Health Program eligibility criteria and on additional WTC-related health conditions. Section 3341(c) of the PHS Act requires the WTC Program Administrator to also consult with the STAC on research regarding certain health conditions related to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The STAC may also be consulted on other matters related to implementation and improvement of the WTC Health Program, as outlined in the PHS Act, at the discretion of the WTC Program Administrator.
In accordance with Section 3302(a)(2) of the PHS Act, the WTC Program Administrator will appoint the members of the committee, which must include at least:
- 4 occupational physicians, at least two of whom have experience treating WTC rescue and recovery workers;
- 1 physician with expertise in pulmonary medicine;
- 2 environmental medicine or environmental health specialists;
- 2 representatives of WTC responders;
- 2 representatives of certified-eligible WTC survivors;
- 1 industrial hygienist;
- 1 toxicologist;
- 1 epidemiologist; and
- 1 mental health professional.
At this time the Administrator is seeking nominations for members fulfilling the following categories:
- Mental Health Professional
- Occupational physician who has experience treating WTC rescue and recovery workers;
- Industrial Hygienist;
- Representative of WTC responders;
- Representative of certified-eligible WTC survivors
Additional members may be appointed at the discretion of the WTC Program Administrator.
A STAC member’s term appointment may last 3 years. If a vacancy occurs, the WTC Program Administrator may appoint a new member who fulfills the same membership category as the predecessor. STAC members may be appointed to successive terms. The frequency of committee meetings shall be determined by the WTC Program Administrator based on program needs. Meetings may occur up to four times a year. Members are paid the Special Government Employee rate of $250 per day, and travel costs and per diem are included and based on the Federal Travel Regulations.
Any interested person or organization may self-nominate or nominate one or more qualified persons for membership.
Nominations must include the following information:
- The nominee’s contact information and current occupation or position;
- The nominee’s resume or curriculum vitae, including prior or current membership on other National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), CDC, or HHS advisory committees or other relevant organizations, associations, and committees;
- The category of membership (environmental medicine or environmental health specialist, occupational physician, pulmonary Start Printed Page 73405physician, representative of WTC responders, or certified-eligible WTC survivor representative) that the candidate is qualified to represent;
- A summary of the background, experience, and qualifications that demonstrates the nominee’s suitability for the nominated membership category;
- Articles or other documents the nominee has authored that indicate the nominee’s knowledge and experience in relevant subject categories; and
- A statement that the nominee is aware of the nomination, is willing to regularly attend and participate in STAC meetings, and has no known conflicts of interest that would preclude membership on the Committee.
STAC members will be selected upon the basis of their relevant experience and competence in their respective categorical fields. The information received through this nomination process, in addition to other relevant sources of information, will assist the WTC Program Administrator in appointing members to serve on the STAC. In selecting members, the WTC Program Administrator will consider individuals nominated in response to this Federal Register notice, as well as other qualified individuals.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services policy stipulates that Committee membership be balanced in terms of points of view represented, and the committee’s function. Appointments shall be made without discrimination on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, HIV status, disability, and cultural, religious, or socioeconomic status. Nominees must be U.S. citizens, and cannot be full-time employees of the U.S. Government. Current participation on federal workgroups or prior experience serving on a federal advisory committee does not disqualify a candidate; however, HHS policy is to avoid excessive individual service on advisory committees and multiple committee memberships. Committee members are Special Government Employees, requiring the filing of financial disclosure reports at the beginning and annually during their terms. CDC reviews potential candidates for the STAC membership each year, and provides a slate of nominees for consideration to the Secretary of HHS for final selection.
Candidates invited to serve will be asked to submit the “Confidential Financial Disclosure Report,” OGE Form 450. This form is used by CDC to determine whether there is a financial conflict between that person’s private interests and activities and their public responsibilities as a Special Government Employee as well as any appearance of a loss of impartiality, as defined by Federal regulation. The form may be viewed and downloaded at http://www.oge.gov/Forms-Library/OGE-Form-450Confidential-Financial-Disclosure-Report/. This form should not be submitted as part of a nomination.
Dates: Nominations must be submitted (postmarked or electronically received) by December 15, 2016.
Submissions must be electronic or by mail. Submissions should reference docket 229-E. Electronic submissions: You may electronically submit nominations, including attachments, to email@example.com. Attachments in Microsoft Word are preferred. Regular, Express, or Overnight Mail: Written nominations may be submitted (one original and two copies) to the following address only: NIOSH Docket 229-E, c/o Mia Wallace, Committee Management Specialist, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd. NE., MS: E-20, Atlanta, Georgia 30329. Telephone and facsimile submissions cannot be accepted.
For Further Information Contact: Paul Middendorf, Acting Deputy Associate Director for Science, 1600 Clifton Rd. NE., MS: E-20, Atlanta, GA 30329-4027; telephone (404)498-2500 (this is not a toll-free number); email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, has been delegated the authority to sign Federal Register notices pertaining to announcements of meetings and other committee management activities for both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Elaine L. Baker,
Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
End Signature End Preamble
[FR Doc. 2016-25731 Filed 10-24-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
Safety & Health: The Silent Fire Service Heroes
Safety from fire should not be a topic for discussion during only 1 or 2 weeks of the year. It is definitely a year-round public responsibility. I believe that the highest state and municipal officials must assume greater responsibility for leadership in this field.We in the federal government can give aid within the framework of existing agencies. But the impetus must come from the states and from every community and every individual in the land. ~ Harry S. Truman
These words, spoken by President Harry Truman as he opened the Conference on Fire Prevention, May 5, 1947, are as true today as they were back then. Fire prevention is an everyday occurrence that must be taken seriously by every fire chief and fire department in this nation, not just a once-a-year event.
And not surprisingly, fire prevention has a direct connection to the safety and survival of all of your members, not just the public you’re sworn to protect. Probably the most overlooked Life Safety Initiative (LSI) and their direct link to firefighter safety and survival are LSI 14: Public Education and LSI 15: Code Enforcement & Sprinklers.
While a number of reasons could be given as to why the tailboard firefighter may not relate to these LSIs as they do to the other 13, LSI 14 and LSI 15 are nonetheless just as important. In fact, an argument can be made that they’re more so than any other listed.
But how can these be that important when they are may not really impact the average firefighter each day?
Well, it would be safe to say that the folks who do fire prevention and fire-code enforcement save more lives than anyone who rides backwards on a fire apparatus. Dramatic and heroic things can take place when you’re crawling into an immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH) environment to slay the dragon and pull the sweet baby girl from the clutches of death.
But have you ever had to face a classroom of preschoolers or kindergarteners and keep their attention?
Or have you ever had to face off with business developers who think all regulations are imposed by Communistic governments? Who think you’re one of their brown-shirt members because you want them to install a fire-alarm system or retrofit their building with fire sprinklers, all the while threatening to get the job of the fire inspector because “they know someone at city hall?”
Those in fire prevention and fire-code enforcement, my friends, are the silent heroes of the American fire service. Now, I’m not being disrespectful or diminishing the actions of the firefighter and what they do every day unselfishly and without hesitation.
Rather, what I’m saying is that the next time you hold your department’s awards ceremony, the ones who should get the life-saving awards are the fire inspectors and fire-prevention personnel.
I know it may be blasphemous to some to speak about fire prevention being equal or superior to fire operations. But better people than me have spoken about the importance of fire prevention and code administration for a very long time. These comments can be traced back not only to the Truman administration, but also to the various Wingspread conferences, American Burning documents and a number of other national fire-safety conferences, documents, decrees and treatises.
And now Vision 20/20 has taken up the mantle to continue the fight for reducing fires in the United States in order to save lives. The work of Vision 20/20 to make community risk reduction a mainstream of the American fire service is phenomenal. Their actions have again elevated fire prevention and fire safety to being equal partners to suppression operations, thus combating fires on the front end so you don’t have to combat them on the back end.
So you can add to your community risk reduction program, you have access to all the work they’ve done through their Strategic Fire website.
But why are LSI 14 and LSI 15 part of the 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives?
Quite simply, the better job we do of educating our citizens about not having a fire in the first place, the better job we do of making sure our firefighters are not put in harm’s way due to an uncontrolled fire.
All of the LSIs have a purpose of changing the culture of our fire service. That is, they’re designed to make sure that the health, wellness, safety and survival or our members is paramount in everything we do. We can better deliver our service everyday by making sure our folks return home when their duty is done. And whether we’re a paid or a volunteer department, our responsibility as a chief officer is our members’ welfare.
Fire prevention and fire codes won’t put a fire department out of business; accidental fires will still happen. But we can help ourselves do better in making sure our members don’t find themselves in an LDH environment, where their lives can be put at a greater risk.
So today, do something really good and go hug a fire inspector. The life they save may be yours!
Scott Kerwood, PhD, CFO, EFO, CFPS, CEMSO, FM, FIFireE, CEM, is the fire chief of Hutto (Texas) Fire Rescue and chair of the Safety, Health & Survival Section board. He has been a member of the IAFC since 1988.
We’ve all heard the excuses:
- I am in great health.
- I have no symptoms.
- Physicals don’t matter; my friend got a clean bill of health and then dropped dead as he walked out of the doctor’s office.
We also have many reports of physicals saving a person’s life by finding something that can be treated successfully. I have personal experience with this. During an annual fire department physical, the doctor found a problem with my thyroid. I received treatment involving medication and thyroid removal. Thankfully, my fire department physical caught this disease early enough so it never affected my career and enabled early treatment of a potentially life-threatening problem. My annual physical saved my life; it worked for me.
In 2006, the Safety, Health & Survival Section (SHSS) conducted a fire department survey on firefighter physicals; in 2016, we repeated the survey to see if improvements were made related to firefighter physicals.
In 2006, we received 1,824 responses to the survey; in 2016 we received more than 9,000 responses. This increased response rate can be explained in two ways.
First, we did a better job of getting the survey in front of and engaging firefighters to respond to the survey. Second, and more importantly, the fire service is more focused on firefighter health.
This article analyzes the latest response data and compares it to the 2006 data.
Who Gets a Firefighter Physical?
Table 1: Does your fire department require annual physicals for:
Table 1 shows data on who receives physicals within a fire department. The results provide both good and not-so-good news.
Compared to the 2006 data, the 2016 responses show a substantial increase in the number of departments that require physicals for fully career departments and primarily career with volunteer departments, with a smaller increase in volunteer departments with career firefighters. This is good news.
In contrast, there was a decrease in the number of fully volunteer departments requiring physicals. This is not-so-good news.
Table 1 also identified a number of departments that don’t require, recommend or provide annual physicals. The results parallel the data above. The number of fully career departments and primarily career with volunteer departments both showed a decrease in the number of departments not requiring physicals. Primarily volunteer with career departments and fully volunteer departments saw numbers that indicate fewer of these departments are working to ensure their firefighters get annual physicals.
Why is this occurring with so many organizations talking about health and safety issues? Are we having a problem getting the information to the latter two groups? Is it a financial consideration? Is it a fire service cultural issue?
The more positive results for career and career with volunteer departments may be attributable to strong union initiatives driving these departments to execute health-monitoring programs, such as annual physicals.
What standards are used to conduct a firefighter physical?
Table 2: What standards do the medical professionals performing the physicals use? Please select all that apply.
The data from Table 2 shows that firefighter physicals differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. A key takeaway from this data, found across all categories of departments, is a migration away from locally established criteria for physicals.
Additionally, the survey provided information that should raise concerns about the efficacy of the NFPA 1582 physicals. In all the categories, more departments use the IAFC/IAFF Wellness Fitness Initiative as the bases for annual physicals rather than the NFPA 1582.
Lastly, in 2016, we asked if firefighters knew what standard was being used for the annual physical; no such question was asked in 2006. The results indicated that a substantial number of survey participants didn’t know.
Have we made progress in providing behavioral health care?
Table 3: Does your physical include a mental-health component that would identify post-traumatic stress or other significant mental-health issues?
In 2006, we saw that 91% of the departments performing annual physicals didn’t have a mental-health component. Since then, we’ve become more aware of the effects of post-traumatic stress, bullying and substance abuse.
In 2006, we challenged fire departments to incorporate a simple and effective mental-health screening process into the annual physical. Unfortunately, the 2016 survey data shows only a slight improvement. The number of respondents saying their physicals don’t includes a mental-health component means that the fire service over the last 10 years has done very little to address mental-health evaluation during an annual physical.
Anecdotally, departments created many programs, such as peer support, hotlines and counseling units, but these programs require the firefighter to take the first step. We still need a screening tool the physician conducting the annual physical can use to identify potential underlying mental-health issues.
This is no different than running a blood test to identify medical issues. Determining physical- and mental-health issues during an exam can save a firefighter’s life and provide the necessary interventions to improve the firefighter’s job performance.
Who provides a firefighter physical?
Table 4: Who performs your physicals? Please select all that apply.
We see a movement away from the use of local physicians or medical professionals. More departments are using occupational health-service groups or physicians with knowledge of and experience with firefighter health and safety issues as compared with the 2006 data.
While a local physician may be more cost-effective or the only act in town, if that physician doesn’t understand the job-performance criteria of a firefighter and the firefighting work environment, the physician is at a disadvantage in making decisions about a firefighter’s ability to do the job.
Does every department, career and volunteer, have written job descriptions for firefighters that define the scope of what’s expected from firefighters? If so, does your department furnish this job description to physicians or occupational health services?
The Role of the Primary Care Physician
Table 5: Do you have a personal primary care physician?
Table 6: Does your PPCP physical include a mental-health component that would identify post-traumatic stress or other significant mental-health issues?
The data in Tables 5 and 6 are new to the 2016 survey.
Across the board, approximately 80% of firefighters have their own personal primary-care physician (PPCP). When surveyed about whether the PPCP would be able to identify post-traumatic stress or significant mental-health issues, over 85% in all categories said no.
Our challenge now, is to ensure that all firefighters—interior, exterior, drivers—receive an annual medical physical. We must work to guarantee that the physical meets the generally accepted standard of the fire service. Physicals need to be performed by qualified physicians knowledgeable about the firefighter’s job.
We all agree that LODDs are unacceptable, especially when we have the means to prevent many of these deaths by providing an annual physical. Since 2014, SHSS has focused on firefighter health, including hosting annual Firefighter Physicals Summits. Annual physicals are the best way to detect potentially life-threatening medical conditions.
We can’t guarantee that every medical issue will be identified; we also can’t guarantee that a firefighter will be cured forever. We do know that early detection can save lives, making it more likely a firefighter will be able to return to work.
More importantly, with annual physicals, more firefighters will be able to live longer, more fruitful lives with their family and friends.
What are you going to do to get all your firefighters an annual physical? Remember, we must guarantee that Everyone Goes Home.
David Fischler, J.D., CFO, was Commissioner of the Suffolk County (N.Y.) Department of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services and is a former chief-of-department for the St. James Fire Department. He has been an active member of the Safety, Health & Survival Section since its inception. He’s been a member of the IAFC since 1976.
Request for best practices at rail incidents!
Have you responded to a train derailment? What about a rail incident with a hazardous materials leak or fire? Did you feel prepared, or overwhelmed? Whether you’ve experienced a large or small scale rail event, we want to hear from you! CSX Transportation has partnered with the IAFC’s HazMat Center to gather planning and operational best practices used during rail incidents. The IAFC is looking for your advice or perspective in what you believe are the top 5 to 10 planning or operational activities that a department can implement to have a successful response and recovery effort during a rail incident.
Please provide the following information to the IAFC point of contact, James Rist at email@example.com - your department name, city and state, indication of what type of incident you responded to, as well as the top 5 to 10 best practices you would recommend. Thank you for your time and helping shape both this best practices effort as well as future IAFC rail planning and training events. Visit the HAZMAT Fusion Center site @ http://www.hazmatfc.com/ALERT