Emergency Responder Injuries and Fatalities: An Analysis of Surveillance Data

Emergency Responder Injuries and Fatalities: An Analysis of Surveillance Data

Emergency Responder Injuries and Fatalities: An Analysis of Surveillance Data

Emergency Responder Injuries and Fatalities: An Analysis of Surveillance Data

Excerpt

In FY 2001, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) established the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL). This new laboratory endeavors to reduce and prevent occupational disease, injury, and death of workers by advancing federal research on personal protective technologies. Technologies of interest to NPPTL include devices such as respirators, chemical-resistant clothing, hearing protection, and safety goggles and glasses that provide a barrier between the worker and an occupational safety or health risk. Other personal protective technologies include devices that provide a worker with early warning of a hazard or otherwise help keep the worker safe from harm, such as sensors that detect toxic atmospheres, and communication devices used for safe deployment of workers.

Because emergency responders face significant hazards as they carry out their missions, NPPTL selected this group of workers to be an early focus of its program. In the wake of September 11, 2001, when so many emergency responders were injured and killed responding to terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the significance of this mission has become even more apparent.

NPPTL asked the RAND Science and Technology Policy Institute to review available databases that offer to provide disease, injury, and fatality data pertinent to emergency response functions and the role of personal protective technology.

Surveillance data resources exist that describe the injuries, illnesses, and fatalities suffered by emergency responders. These data sources, maintained by both responder community organizations and government agencies, contain valuable information concerning the hazards facing firefighters, police, and emergency medical responders. This technical report summarizes the results of an analysis of available surveillance data sources. That analysis, along with the interests and concerns of the emergency responder community and the expertise of NIOSH staff, will support development of potential objectives and related research tasks directed at providing personal protective technologies to emergency responders.

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