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Article
Publication date: 4 March 2014

Todd D. Smith and David M. DeJoy

The purpose of this paper is to test an initial model of safety climate for firefighting. Relationships between safety climate, safety behaviors and firefighter injuries

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to test an initial model of safety climate for firefighting. Relationships between safety climate, safety behaviors and firefighter injuries were examined.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from 398 professional firefighters in the southeastern USA. Structural equation modeling, using a zero-inflated Poisson regression method, was used to complete the analyses.

Findings

Safety climate, as a higher order factor, was comprised of four factors including management commitment to safety, supervisor support for safety, safety programs/policies and safety communication. Both safety compliance behaviors and safety participation behaviors were significantly, positively associated with safety climate. Both behaviors were deemed protective and were associated with reductions in injury. Safety climate relations to injury were interesting, but somewhat ambiguous. Safety climate significantly predicted membership in the “always zero” injury group. For those not in the “always zero” group, the relationship between safety climate and injury was positive, which was not completely surprising as direct relationships between safety climate and injury have been insignificant and opposite to predictions in studies using retrospective data and may be attributed to reverse causation.

Originality/value

This novel study illustrates the importance of both organizational and work unit factors in helping shape safety climate perceptions among firefighters. The results also support the safety climate – behavior – injury model and show that a positive safety climate encourages safer behaviors among firefighters. Lastly, the findings confirm that both safety compliance behaviors and safety participation behaviors are important to reducing individual firefighter injury experience.

Details

International Journal of Emergency Services, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2047-0894

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Article
Publication date: 7 November 2016

Todd D. Smith and Mari-Amanda Dyal

The purpose of this paper is to develop and present a safety-oriented job demands-resources (JD-R) model that supports the notion that excessive job demands in the fire…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop and present a safety-oriented job demands-resources (JD-R) model that supports the notion that excessive job demands in the fire service, when not controlled or countered, may increase firefighter burnout and diminish firefighter safety.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach for the present project includes a review of the JD-R literature and the presentation of a conceptual model specific to fire service organizations.

Findings

A conceptual model, relevant to fire service organizations was derived. The model argues that excessive job demands associated with workload, physical demands, emotional demands, and complexity can result in burnout if not controlled or countered. Safety-specific resources, including recovery, support, safety-specific transformational leadership and safety climate are theorized to buffer these effects and are suggested to enhance firefighter engagement. These effects are argued then to improve firefighter safety. Ultimately, the findings will help guide future research, intervention projects and workplace safety and health management programs and initiatives.

Originality/value

This paper and conceptual model extends the application of the JD-R model to fire service organizations. Further, the conceptual model supports the application of safety-specific job resources vs more traditional job resources as a means to enhance firefighter safety.

Details

International Journal of Workplace Health Management, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8351

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Article
Publication date: 20 April 2015

Huiju Park, Helen Trejo, Madeline Miles, Allison Bauer, Seonyoung Kim and Jeffrey Stull

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the incremental impact of firefighter’s personal protective equipment (PPE) on lower body range of motion (ROM) while walking…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the incremental impact of firefighter’s personal protective equipment (PPE) on lower body range of motion (ROM) while walking to suggest areas of design improvement for enhanced mobility and safety.

Design/methodology/approach

Eight male and four female firefighters participated in the study. Lower body ROM was assessed while they walked in four different configurations of PPE, including turnout ensemble, a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and boots. The impact of each added PPE item, and gender differences were statistically analyzed.

Findings

Wearing firefighter turnout ensemble and SCBA reduced ROM in the lower body in the sagittal and transverse planes. A significant reduction in ROM for anterior-posterior movement at the ankle and the ball of the foot was found while wearing rubber boots with turnout ensemble and SCBA. This puts firefighters at higher risk of experiencing foot injuries and physical strains. A significant increase in medial-lateral movement of the foot while wearing rubber boots may increase risk of ankle sprains. A greater reduction in ROM at the ankle and the ball of the foot for female firefighters may imply greater risk for women compared to men, while wearing boots.

Practical implications

Reducing the inflexibility and bulkiness of boots is critical to improve firefighter’s lower body mobility and safety.

Originality/value

This study implemented 3-D motion capture technology to analyze how wearing firefighting gear impacted lower body motion. It provides quantitative evidence to recommend ergonomic boot re-design.

Details

International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-6222

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 3 June 2019

Meredith McQuerry, Cassandra Kwon and Heather Johnson

The purpose of this paper is to identify the challenging barriers faced by female firefighters, which limit workplace entrance and performance.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the challenging barriers faced by female firefighters, which limit workplace entrance and performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Occupational barriers from both psychological and physiological viewpoints were explored based on previous literature and the reported experiences of female firefighters.

Findings

A comprehensive review of literature synthesizes previous studies pertaining to gender anthropometric differences, female firefighters’ experiences in the work environment and protective clothing issues. The physical capabilities of men and women in specific relation to performing firefighting activities are also examined. Issues of greatest concern are identified for personal protective clothing (PPC) and equipment, which have traditionally been designed for the male human form. This leads to a lack of protection, an increased risk of onsite injury, reduction in mobility and poorer comfort for female firefighters.

Originality/value

This review provides an original overview of the critical workplace challenges faced by female firefighters. The need for female-specific PPC and equipment is specifically addressed to retain the growing number of women entering the male-dominated firefighting profession.

Details

Research Journal of Textile and Apparel, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1560-6074

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2018

Juan Pablo Leiva Santos, Helena García-Llana, Victor Pablo, Maya Liébana and Allan Kellehear

The purpose of this paper is to understand the need and resources firefighters have to deal with death and dying (D&D) that they encounter whilst on duty and to present a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the need and resources firefighters have to deal with death and dying (D&D) that they encounter whilst on duty and to present a curriculum to support D&D issues for firefighters.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative methodology involving focus groups was conducted in two fire stations in Spain. The sample was 38 male participants with a mean age of 46 y/o (range: 30-59 years) and an average tenure of employment of 18 years (range: 6-35 years). Data were subjected to a thematic analysis. Dual coding of the transcripts in addition to member checking enhanced analysis.

Findings

Nine themes emerged: witnessing D&D during rescue operations; memories about D&D and trauma; impact on firefighter’s families; decision-making process under stress; teamwork: protective and self-support; inadequate D&D preparation and training; adequate technical and physical training preparation; relationship between equipment, legal-moral obligation, and victims’ outcomes; communication issues: toward the victim and/or their relatives. These themes were subsequently framed into three basic domains: personal impact of D&D, team impact of D&D, and victim impact. Each domain, in its turn, is covered by three curriculum topics. The curriculum’s pedagogy is primarily based on experimental-reflective activities during 16 study-hours.

Research limitations/implications

The absence of female participants. All fire stations were in cities with no more than 150,000 inhabitants.

Practical implications

Individuals who take this curriculum will: increase their ability for self-care and resilience; improve teamwork, leadership skills, and to decrease burnout; provide more effective care for victims; provide skills to cope with compassion fatigue; reduced the levels of post-traumatic stress disorders.

Originality/value

Understanding firefighters’ needs with relation to D&D, and assessing the resources available to mitigate these issues will provide a comprehensive approach to their education and promote health both personally and professionally. A comparable curriculum or proposal has not been previously identified.

Details

International Journal of Emergency Services, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2047-0894

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 July 2012

William L. Pessemier and Robert E. England

The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive model of safety culture for the US fire service.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive model of safety culture for the US fire service.

Design/methodology/approach

Based upon a modified version of Cooper’s Reciprocal Determinism Model, the research uses two sets of exogenous variables, labeled Safety Management System and Safety Related Behaviors, to explain a dependent variable called Organizational Safety Climate. The model has been used successfully to improve safety performance in other high risk, high performance organizations. Using survey data collected from over 1,000 firefighters in three medium‐sized US municipalities, the theoretical model is tested.

Findings

Results from multiple regression analyses provide strong support for the hypothesis that individual perceptions of safety management and safety behavior predict individual perceptions of safety climate, both at the “fire service” organizational level and at the individual department level.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations of the study include a cross‐sectional design, the use of self‐reported perceptions for the variables, and the fact that the three mid‐sized US fire departments from which data were gathered self‐selected to participate in the study.

Practical implications

A practical feature of the theoretical model tested is the ability to create “safety report cards” for each of the 12 dimensions that define the three variables used in the study.

Social implications

This model holds the promise of reducing firefighter injuries and deaths by identifying managerial and behavioral safety improvement areas within US fire departments.

Originality/value

To the authors’ knowledge, this research represents the first attempt to both identify and test empirically a safety culture model for the US fire service.

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2016

Yun Su, Yunyi Wang and Jun Li

The purpose of this paper is to provide the details of developments to researchers in test apparatus and evaluation methods to rate the thermal protective performance…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide the details of developments to researchers in test apparatus and evaluation methods to rate the thermal protective performance (TPP) of firefighters’ clothing under high-temperature and high-humidity condition.

Design/methodology/approach

This review paper describes the influence laws of moisture on thermal protection and the moisture distribution in actual fire environment. Different evaluation methods used for assessing the effect of moisture on the TPP were investigated, with an emphasis on test devices, evaluation indexes as well as their relationship and limitations.

Findings

The moisture from the ambient, clothing and human perspiration plays an important role in determining the TPP of firefighter protective clothing. It is obvious that research on moisture-driven heat transfer in firefighter’s clothing system are comparatively little, primarily focussing on pre-wetted methods of multi-layer fabric. Further studies should be conducted to develop more standardized moistening systems and improve the current calculation methods for evaluating the performance of protective clothing. New explorations for heat and moisture transfer mechanism in protective clothing should be investigated.

Practical implications

Protective clothing is the efficient way to provide fire-fighting occupational safety. To accurately evaluate the TPP of protective clothing under high-temperature and high-humidity condition will help to optimize the clothing performance and choose the proper clothing for providing firefighters with the best protection under multiple thermal hazards.

Originality/value

This paper is offered as a concise reference for scientific community further research in the area of the TPP evaluation methods under high-temperature and high-humidity condition.

Details

International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-6222

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 16 April 2018

Meng Deng, Yunyi Wang and Peijing Li

The purpose of this paper is to provide the details of developments to research works in the distribution characteristics of the air gaps within firefighters’ clothing and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide the details of developments to research works in the distribution characteristics of the air gaps within firefighters’ clothing and research methods to evaluate the effect of air gaps on the thermal protective performance of firefighters’ clothing.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, the distribution of air gaps within firefighters’ clothing was first analyzed, and the air gaps characteristics were summarized as thickness, location, heterogeneity, orientation and dynamics. Then, the evaluation of the air gap on the thermal protective performance of fighters’ clothing was reviewed for both experimental and numerical studies.

Findings

The air gaps within clothing layers and between clothing and skin play an important role in determining the thermal protective performance of firefighters’ protective clothing. It is obvious that research works on the effects of actual air gaps entrapped in firefighters’ clothing on thermal protection are comparatively few in number, primarily focusing on static and uniform air gaps at the fabric level. Further studies should be conducted to define the characteristic of air gap, deepen the understand of mechanism of heat transfer and numerically simulate the 3D dynamic heat transfer in clothing to improve the evaluation of thermal protective performance provided by the firefighters’ clothing.

Practical implications

Air gaps within thermal protective clothing play a crucial role in the protective performance of clothing and provide an efficient way to provide fire-fighting occupational safety. To accurately characterize the distribution of air gaps in firefighters’ clothing under high heat exposure, the paper will provide guidelines for clothing engineers to design clothing for fighters and optimize the clothing performance.

Originality/value

This paper is offered as a concise reference for researchers’ further research in the area of the effect of air gaps within firefighters’ clothing under thermal exposure.

Details

International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-6222

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 December 2020

Leigh McCarley Blaney, David Wilde and Rowena Hill

The purpose of this paper is to present a theory of psychological resilience in volunteer firefighters.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a theory of psychological resilience in volunteer firefighters.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a constructivist grounded theory (CGT) approach, the qualitative study engaged a purposive sample of eight firefighters in Canada, conducted in-depth interviews and analysed the data using comparative methods.

Findings

The results provided unique insights into resilience in firefighters and revealing resilience as multidimensional, complex, dynamic and contextual. Six core concepts interrelate to construct resilience: relationships, personal resources, meaning-making, leadership, culture and knowledge.

Practical implications

The findings of this research offer a framework for practical integration of resilience theory into workplace health policy and practice. The theory was co-created with firefighters hence is contextually sound to this population, but applicable to other emergency and health services.

Originality/value

Volunteer firefighters are under-represented in the literature, despite facing intermittent and frequently intense work-related stressors; this research begins to address the gap in the literature. As well, previous resilience theories have noted relationships between some components, but there is little evidence linking categories; this theory more patently represents the complex nature of resilience in volunteer firefighters.

Details

International Journal of Emergency Services, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2047-0894

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 10 August 2011

Meagan Parrish Meadows, Karina M. Shreffler and Stephanie N. Mullins-Sweatt

Critical occupations refer to professions in which workers perform critical duties to protect and serve the public; the nature of these jobs often exposes workers to…

Abstract

Critical occupations refer to professions in which workers perform critical duties to protect and serve the public; the nature of these jobs often exposes workers to events and conditions that critically impact their mental and physical well-being. In addition to the traumatic experiences part and parcel to the job, characteristics of these critical occupations – long work hours, nonstandard schedules, dangerous tasks, and a physically demanding work environment – contribute additional stressors. Yet, many workers in these occupations thrive despite the risks. Given the stressful conditions of critical occupations and potential for adverse individual and familial outcomes, it is important to consider why individuals would choose to work in critical occupations, why they might respond differently during stressful work-related events, and why some workers are particularly resilient. We posit that personality research offers intriguing insights into career selection, coping, and resilience for workers in critical occupations. Examining factors that reduce risk and promote resilience for these multiple-stressor occupations has the potential to inform research and policies that better meet the needs of employees and their families.

Details

The Role of Individual Differences in Occupational Stress and Well Being
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-711-7

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