Sleep Deprivation Training Materials Released for First Responders

The U.S. Fire Administration and the International Association of Fire Chiefs recently announced the release of The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Fire Fighters and EMS Responders.

Resulting from a partnership between the IAFC and USFA, and with assistance from the faculty of Oregon Health & Science University, the new report is based on a comprehensive literature review of fatigue and sleep deprivation in other industries (primarily the transportation and medical fields) and features applications to the fire and emergency services, along with useful mitigation strategies and a resource section. Additionally, a self-guided, computer-based training program has been developed.

"We were pleased to work closely with the IAFC on this initiative," said Gregory B. Cade, U.S. Fire Administrator chief. "We have long known the stresses that long-term operations place on all firefighters. The impact of sleep deprivation is an important issue to the health and safety of firefighters and EMS responders, and the residents they protect."

Topics covered include driver performance, firefighting, providing medical care, and managing and commanding incidents. Countermeasures for sleep deprivation are also reviewed, which relate to identifying those particularly susceptible to risks of sleep deprivation, work-related issues, and more.

"This is an in-depth culmination of available sleep-deprivation research that, if taken seriously, should keep the fire chief awake at night," said Steven P. Westermann, IAFC president chief. "The research can apply to any busy station, volunteer or career, with any of the traditional schedules, not just the newer 48/96 schedule. The report ends by providing several recommendations, not the least of which is how to spot sleep deprivation."

The report and related training materials are available on the IAFC Web site at www.iafc.org/sleep.

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