Occupational cooling practices of emergency first responders in the United States: A survey
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Abstract© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Despite extensive documentation directed specifically toward mitigating thermal strain of first responders, we wished to ascertain the degree to which first responders applied cooling strategies, and what opinions are held by the various agencies/departments within the United States. An internet-based survey of first responders was distributed to the International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Firefighters, National Bomb Squad Advisory Board and the USA Interagency Board and their subsequent departments and branches. Individual first responder departments were questioned regarding the use of pre-, concurrent, post-cooling, types of methods employed, and/or reasons why they had not incorporated various methods in first responder deployment. Completed surveys were collected from 119 unique de-identified departments, including those working in law enforcement (29%), as firefighters (29%), EOD (28%) and HAZMAT technicians (15%). One-hundred and eighteen departments (99%) reported heat strain/illness to be a risk to employee safety during occupational duties. The percentage of departments with at least one case of heat illness in the previous year were as follows: fire (39%) HAZMAT (23%), EOD (20%) and law enforcement (18%). Post-cooling was the scheduled cooling method implemented the most (63%). Fire departments were significantly more likely to use post-cooling, as well as combine two types of scheduled cooling compared to other departments. Importantly, 25% of all departments surveyed provided no cooling whatsoever. The greatest barriers to personnel cooling were as follows–availability, cost, logistics, and knowledge. Our findings could aid in a better understanding of current practices and perceptions of heat illness and injury prevention in United States first responders. Abbreviations: EOD: explosive ordnance disposal; HAZMAT: hazardous materials.
CitationBach, A., Maley, M., Minett, G. & Stewart, I. (2018) Occupational cooling practices of emergency first responders in the United States: A survey. Temperature, 5(4), pp. 348-35.
PublisherInforma UK Limited
DescriptionThis is an accepted manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Temperature on 29/07/2018, available online: https://doi.org/10.1080/23328940.2018.1493907 The accepted version of the publication may differ from the final published version.
SponsorsThis project is financially supported by the United States Government through the United States Department of Defense (DOD).
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
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