Best Term Papers

UC Fire Science & Emergency Management takes pleasure in presenting "best term papers" that have been selected by professors, and posted with the student's permission. It is our pleasure to recognize student achievement and promote best practices in the fire service.

Best Term Papers

2022

Steps to Reduce the Risk of Cancer to Firefighters

Derek Copp

Vandalia Division of Fire

 

Derek Copp

937-459-6209

Interviewed: Steve Milliken, Captain at Vandalia

937-898-2261

YouTube video of interview with Captain Steve Milliken

A Research project for the University of Cincinnati Legal and Politics Class

February 16th, 2022

 

Certification Statement

I at this moment certify that this submission constitutes my own product, that where the language of others is set forth, quotation marks so indicate, and the appropriate credit is given where I have used language, ideas, expression or writings of another.

Derek J Copp

February 16, 2022

Abstract

            According to the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, firefighters have a 9 percent high risk of being diagnosed with cancer and a 14 percent higher risk of dying from cancer than the general U.S. population.

            According to that number who would want to be a firefighter? Who wants to put themselves at risk of getting cancer, going through treatment to either have it come back again, or be told that you can’t continue to do the job you love.

            Florida was one of the first states to have a collaborative of multiple departments come together to work the problem. The Florida Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative is one of the best resources available to fire departments about cancer. They gross decontamination method they came up with is now listed as one of the best practices listed for Gross Decontamination after a fire.

            The other steps listed in the paper will be listed as was to protect firefighters and given them a fighting chance when it comes staying cancer free and living a long life with their families. 

Background and Significance

            In the last two years I have witnessed two of my closest friend battle cancer, both are and were firefighters. I have seen the pain that is causes not only the person who is diagnosed, but the firefighter’s family and his department family.

            My best friend and partner Cory was diagnosed with testicular cancer not once but twice. Cory was 26 when he was first diagnosed. Firefighters are at a 2.02 times percent high risk than the general population in being diagnosed with testicular cancer. That’s 202 percent! Cory went into remission and it came back again. This time requiring higher rounds of chemotherapy and multiple hospital stays. Thankfully he has hit year 7 and he is still cancer free.

            A mentor of mine, former Lieutenant Clay Westfall was a mentor of mine when I started a Vandalia. He took me under his wing like any good senior firefighter would and taught me the “Vandalia” way. Clay was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 6 months later, Clay lost his battle and received that final call home.

            When I was hired full-time with The Division of Fire, I was tasked by my fire chief as our cancer prevention officer. He directed me to conduct research, join the Ohio Face Team based out of Cincinnati, and work with our local partners with a solution to help combat this problem. 

Research

            The first thing I did to combat the problem was to reach of to Chief Hardwick who heads the Ohio Face Team. I was invited to join the team and was able to attend the monthly meets to see what other departments were doing and how they were combating the problem. I was happy that I was able to bring First Forward to the team and help integrate it into their departments.

            When I looked at the Nomex hoods we were using and that they were not particulate hoods, I knew I had to make a change. I investigated 2018 NFPA 1971 Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Firefighting and Proximity Firefighter and found there were better options out there than what we were currently looking. To make the change we were able to research a grant through Ohio Workman’s Comp to replace every single hood we had with a particulate hood.

            The big change happened when I heard a chair from the Florida Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative and they shared their best practice ideas for deconning on the fire ground. With just using wet-soap combination they were removing on average 85 percent of the contaminants. This is a significant amount if you think about it. We took the best practices and incorporated it into our own policies and GOG’s and started working on the buckets we would need for every fire apparatus we have.

Results

            Over the past four years that I have been full-time at the division of fire we have done several little things to help decrease the risk of exposure to our firefighters with great buy in from the top to the bottom.

            The first thing we did was add decontamination buckets to every fire apparatus. In these buckets there is a garden hose with a nozzle attachment, with an attachment to hook onto a discharge on the engine. We also have a brush to sweep off the bigger items on gear. Dawn was added, along with healthy hero wipes and nitrile gloves to be used by the person cleaning the firefighter on scene.  The last item in the decontamination bucket is contractor trash bags. This is to allow every firefighter the ability to secure your gear and tie it shut. This helps with the gear off gassing and it allows for easier storage in the outside compartments.  The biggest struggle we had with this concept was people leaving their shoes at the station and not having anything to wear for the ride home. On the reference page I have attached a video we use to go over gross decon with our shift during stand down week.

            Particulate hoods that meet NFPA 1971 Standard are standard issue for all firefighters here in Vandalia. This allows another line of protection for all our fighters. When a firefighter gets back to the station from the call, they will be given a separate particulate hood to be used while theirs is being cleaned.

           We are currently working on a capital improvement purchase of providing every full-time firefighter with a second set of gear to be used for the instances when they need to clean their gear from a fire. Currently we have a cache of gear that can be used until your normal issued gear is cleaned. 

            Lastly, we wanted to be able to track all of the exposures a firefighter goes on. I reached out to First Forward, an online company that stores your exposures in a cloud-based program. We were able to work with them and were a beta tester of the product and signed up as full members after we were done beta testing. This allows the user to keep his exposures with him and track them in case they are needed later in life. We also used this program for COVID-19 exposures during the height of the pandemic. 

Reference Page

Firefighter Cancer . Firefighter Cancer Support Network. (2022, January 21). Retrieved February 16, 2022.

Gross Decon. (n.d.). Gross Econ. Retrieved February 16, 2022.

NFPA 1971. NFPA 1971: Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting. (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2022.

Florida Firefighters Safety & Health Collaborative. Florida Firefighters Health & Safety Collaborative. (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2022.

First Forward. FirstForward. (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2022.

 

Appendix A: City of Vandalia Division of Fire, General Operating Guidelines, CHAPTER 3- Health, Safety, & Risk Management 

THE EXPOSURE TO FIREFIGHTING PERSONNEL AFTER OPERATING AT STRUCTURE FIRES

By: Gregory Sebesta

A term research paper submitted to the University of Cincinnati as a part of the

Political & Legal Foundations of Fire Protection 3085

February 2022

Gregory Sebesta, (630) 240-4064

 Gregory.Sebesta@gmail.com

Interviewed: Emilio Salinas(630) 242-0507

 esalinas3040@gmail.com

YouTube interview with Emilio Salinas

 

Certification Statement

I hereby certify that is paper contains my own product, that where the language of others is set forth, quotation marks so indicate, and that appropriate credit is given where I have used the language, ideas, expressions, or writings of another.

Signed: Gregory Sebesta

 

Abstract

The Oakbrook Terrace Fire Protection District (OBT) needs to provide more information providing decontamination of firefighting personnel after operating at structure fires. By reading this research paper, my coworkers had clear understanding as to the steps that need to be followed so their chances of illness and/or injury are greatly reduced. This detailed information has never been studied by my department before. Besides examining internal department policies, my research project will include references from the National Fire Protection Association, and UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute. It’s our job to know our keep each other safe as our service presents many hazardous challenges. With providing my research to my department it furthered the knowledge of my coworkers in how to prevent or reduce contamination of their health and structural firefighting turnout gear. 

 

The Oakbrook Terrace Fire District strives for each member to understand their health and reduce the spread of contamination after fires. Unfortunately, the fire service is an industry where not fully understanding your equipment can cause injury or death. The problem was the Oakbrook Terrace Fire Protection District (OBT) didn’t provide enough training information regarding steps that we can take after fighting fires. After reading this research paper, my coworkers had a more precise understanding of how they needed to protect them from hazardous containments. This detailed information has never been studied by my department before. The research purpose was to identify what critical information was needed to provide the Oakbrook Terrace Fire Protection District an understanding of their habits before, during, and after fighting a structure fire. The evaluative and action research methods were used to answer the following questions: a. What is the overall knowledge to understanding the steps that need to be complete to reduce contamination on scene? b. Are their concerns regarding the chemicals and materials in turnout gear specifically PFAS?

Background and Significance Understanding health and prevention is a minor problem in our organization but better with the new standards and "younger" generation. The Oakbrook Terrace Fire District consists of a Fire Chief, three Lieutenants, and twelve Firefighters. Being a combination department, turnover of personnel is one of our most significant weaknesses. We've had members employed anywhere from 1 week to 5 years. These members usually work a few times a month, so it's challenging for them to get adequate training on this topic. Our Safety Committee has determined that health and prevention should be a top priority for members and be included in all training sessions. Being one station with a limited workforce, it is imperative to uphold our professionalism to our 5000 residents and visiting daytime population of approximately 100,000. This has been an ongoing problem for ten years. The District has made great efforts to hire more full-time members who work a 24/48 schedule. By doing this, people stay longer and complete the entire training program needed. Scheduling, Training, and Equipment policies have been revised frequently to improve firefighter safety. In the past, our turnout gear was given to us without any instructions. It was our job to watch the senior member. How they wore their gear is how you wore your gear. It wasn't always the correct way either, but it was never questioned. Present-day, the common question asked by members is why? Not in a defiant manner, but to understand more about what you're doing and why it is done this way. Members are currently given all the instruction manuals that should be read. In the future, with this research paper being the start, we can test members just like everything else in the fire service to make sure they understand how their gear correctly works along with inspecting and cleaning it. I believe this research can reduce risk at the local level through prevention and mitigation. It supports the United States Fire Administration's goal by continuing to make the fire service safer for personnel by reducing illness or injury.

Literature Review

a) Harmful exposure to the skin can occur during firefighting operations by permeation or penetration of contaminants through your hood, turnout jacket, and trousers. Toxic substances accumulate on the gear from each fire response. Performing decontamination in the field following a fire event removes many hazardous substances from firefighters' PPE. The purpose of this study described the contamination of a representative portion of firefighters' protective ensembles and skin following structural firefighting activities involving realistic residential fires.

Fent, K. W., Alexander, B., Roberts, J., Robertson, S., Toennis, C., Sammons, D., Bertke, S., Kerber, S., Smith, D., & Horn, G. (2017). Contamination of firefighter personal protective equipment and skin and the effectiveness of decontamination procedures. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 14(10), 801–814. 

b) Protective hoods come in direct contact with neck and face skin, areas identified for significant dermal exposure to combustion products. Hoods are worn for multiple responses without cleaning. Firefighters assigned to fire attack or search tasks inside the burning structure had the highest contamination levels on their turnout coat than other fireground job assignments. PAH metabolites were identified in firefighters’ urine post firefighting even though an SCBA was worn. That suggests that dermal adsorption, potentially through contaminated PPE, may contribute to firefighters’ contamination levels.

Gavin Horn. (2017, January 1). UL FSRI – Firefighter Safety Research Institute - Protection from Chemical, Thermal, and Cardiovascular Risks: Impact of PPE Laundering and Hood Design. UL FSRI. 

c) Advanced inspections include a thorough examination of all three layers of the protective ensemble composite for soiling, rips, tears, cuts, abrasions, discoloration, thermal damage, broken or missing stitches, loss of material integrity, loss of wristlet elasticity, reflective trim integrity, label legibility, liner attachment systems, and compatibility between the size of the outer shell and inner liner.

Meredith McQuerry Florida State University, Stacy Klausing ArcWear, Deena Cotterill, Elizabeth Easter University of Kentucky (Ed.). (2018, June). Post-Use Analysis of Firefighter Turnout Gear: Phases I, II, & III. 

d) NFPA 1851 Outline

NFPA 1851 Instructional Guide for Ricochet Structural and Proximity Gear. (n.d.). Ricochet. Retrieved August 2, 2021.

e) Standard Operating guidelines for my department. This was a recent addition to create a policy that I was assigned to taking industry standards and applying them to our department. By creating these guidelines, it discusses how we should clean our gear and ourselves to reduce hazardous containments that cause cancer or other illnesses. Instead of guidelines this research will assist in making these into procedures.

Oakbrook Terrace Fire Protection District. (2019). Standard Operating Guidelines and Procedures. Fire Chief Ralph DeLuca Jr.

f) Firefighter may be exposed to PFAS. They are a group of chemicals that include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). It has been linked to many health issues and was being used by manufactures to increase the water resistance between the layers of bunker gear.

Jahnke, S., PhD. (2019, June 18). PFAS exposure and risks: Your questions answered. FireRescue1

Procedures

The “testing” method was used as my data gathering instrument. Before the test was administered, the following objectives were identified. The first objective was to obtain a baseline on how well members understood the research topic by administering a pre-test (Source: PPE101). The second objective was to review the pre-test and form two research questions. The two research questions asked; What is the overall knowledge to understanding the steps that need to be complete to reduce containment on scene? What are the appropriate actions that need to be taken once returning to the station?

The pre-test was conducted on Feb 16, 2022. The test was given to all three shift officers as training via email. After the pre-test was completed, scores were kept confidently. They were not able to review the test. Between the dates of Feb 16-18, personnel observations were conducted. Members were observed during training and emergency responses. These activities were monitored for a short amount of time. The observations took place in the fire station and on incident scenes. The data was analyzed and recorded. The final test was administered in the same online format (PPE101). The evaluation of the test material and results and can found in the results section.

Results

The completion of the pretest and final test results were obtained. All data was collected and analyzed for further evaluation. It was evident in the pretest conducted on Feb 16, 2022, that the overall knowledge to understanding the correct steps at scenes and after needed to be addressed to reduce contamination. Three shifts took the pretest. The online pretest was a total of 60 minutes. Out of the three shifts that took the test, one shift scored between 89-81%, and the other shifts scored between 78-62%. 80% was the passing score for the test (our standard).

Throughout Feb 16-19, 2022, personnel observations were conducted. Members were observed during training and emergency responses. By doing this, the following data was collected: Three members did not perform turnout gear cleaning correctly and four members took over two hours to replace gear and shower. It became evident that reeducation was needed in how to properly clean your structural firefighting turnout gear by witnessing the above results. The above results supported my original hypothesis—our training program for this topic needed to be redeveloped, quickly. The research was conducted, and reeducation was provided through Feb 16-18, 2022. The final test was given on Feb 18, 2022. Following the same parameters as the pretest, the final test showed significant improvement, with 3 out of 3 shifts scoring between 97- 90%.

Discussion

The purpose of this research is to minimize dermal absorption of carcinogenic/PFAS contaminants and possible cross-contamination of fire apparatus cab interiors and fire station facilities. Performing on-scene gross decontamination of personnel and PPE after structural firefighting activities and before entering apparatus cabs or returning to quarters should be completed. Before removal of gear, and SCBA, contaminants can be removed by using a hand brush, air from an SCBA bottle or a small hose line or hydrant connection. Immediately after removal of helmet, hood, and SCBA face piece, members are advised to remove contaminants from exposed skin of head, face, jawline, throat, neck, and hands using the rescue wipes provided. Each apparatus is provided with individual wipe packets for said use. Members are advised to shower thoroughly, change to a clean day uniform, launder soiled day uniform items, and place clean turnouts in service as soon as is practical. Officers are responsible to ensure appropriate gross decontamination of PPE and personnel under their supervision occurs before leaving the fire ground, and upon returning to quarters. (Ralph DeLuca, Oakbrook Terrace) (Gavin Horn)

When coming back to the station and using our gear washing machine there is two types of cleaning. The first category for cleaning is routine cleaning. Routine cleaning is performed by the user for spot cleaning only when no contamination is present. You do not dry clean, machine wash or dry, or clean with a brush or any other abrasive cleaning devices during this process. The second category for cleaning is advanced cleaning. The advanced cleaning is to be performed by organization personnel who have received training. This process of cleaning allows you to utilize a front-loading washing machine to wash your turnout gear. Use milddetergent and ensure water temperature does not exceed 105-degree F. After this cleaning process is complete, dry the turnouts avoid sunlight; either use the air-drying method or no heat setting on a dryer. It is good practice to rinse the washing machine by running an empty cycle with detergent and the maximum water level. This will help with cross-contamination for future users. The last category for cleaning is specialized cleaning. Not the most common but important to know that turnouts contaminated with hazardous material, bodily fluid, or blood should be evaluated at the emergency scene. You'll need to contact a verified Independent Service Provider if your turnouts require this cleaning. (Ricochet and Gearwash). Having your gear cleaned professional at least annual helps reduce your exposure and your departments.

The two categories for inspecting turnout gear would be the routine inspection and advanced inspection. The routine inspection is done by the firefighter every shift and after every wash. During the routine inspection, you're looking for any soiling, contamination, physical damage missing hardware, and thermal damage. The advanced inspection includes all routine inspection expectations but includes multiple tests that ensure each protective clothing layer meets performance standards set by NFPA. (Research Gate). It is recommended that the advanced inspection occurs once a year by trained personnel or company. Understand to limit your exposure and others by not keeping it living areas or wearing it when not on an incident or training. (Jahnke)

Recommendations

The results of the research clearly show the need to update our training program for this subject matter. The following recommendations should be considered.

The Oakbrook Terrace Fire Chief should review the research material with his Fire Officers. Consider implementing the research into a standard operating procedures and guidelines. Updating standing procedures will allow the Fire District to revise their current objectives for annual training.

Training would include this document along with the final test to reassure new and current members understand how reducing containments saves lives. With safety advancements continuously improving and updating for health and prevention will need to be conducted annually.

Continue to follow PFAS research material understanding this is now at the Federal level. Also asking gear manufactures what they are doing to combat this serious issue in the fire service. This should be added to the purchasing and evaluating criteria.

Reference List

Fent, K. W., Alexander, B., Roberts, J., Robertson, S., Toennis, C., Sammons, D., Bertke, S., Kerber, S., Smith, D., & Horn, G. (2017). Contamination of firefighter personal protective equipment and skin and the effectiveness of decontamination procedures. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 14(10), 801–814.

Gavin Horn. (2017, January 1). UL FSRI – Firefighter Safety Research Institute - Protection from Chemical, Thermal, and Cardiovascular Risks: Impact of PPE Laundering and Hood Design. UL FSRI. 

Meredith McQuerry Florida State University, Stacy Klausing ArcWear, Deena Cotterill, Elizabeth Easter University of Kentucky (Ed.). (2018, June). Post-Use Analysis of Firefighter Turnout Gear: Phases I, II, & III.

NFPA 1851 Instructional Guide for Ricochet Structural and Proximity Gear. (n.d.). Ricochet. Retrieved August 2, 2021.

Oakbrook Terrace Fire Protection District. (2019). Standard Operating Guidelines and Procedures. Fire Chief Ralph DeLuca Jr.

PPE101: Firefighter Personal Protective Equipment & Training. (2018, July 20). Firefighter Cancer: Prevention and Health

Jahnke, S., PhD. (2019, June 18). PFAS exposure and risks: Your questions answered. FireRescue1.

Determining the Effectiveness of Physical Fitness Programs

 

Ethan D. Campbell

campb2et@mail.uc.edu

ethandouglascampbell@gmail.com

(513) 498-5058

 

Interviewed: Doug Campbell

dcampbell@delhi.oh.us

(513) 484-3303

 

Department of Aerospace Engineering & Engineering Mechanics, University of Cincinnati

FST 3085: Political & Legal Foundations of Fire Protection

Professor Lawrence T. Bennett

February 25, 2022

 

YouTube video of interview with Chief Doug Campbell

 

CERTIFICATION STATEMENT

I hereby certify that this paper constitutes my own product, that where the language of others is set forth, quotation marks so indicate, and that appropriate credit is given where I have used the language, ideas, expressions, or writings of another.

Signed: Ethan D. Campbell                                                               

Date: February 25, 2022

Abstract

            Physical fitness is a key component to firefighter health and safety. The physical fitness of firefighters is ensured through physical fitness programs. The initiative of these programs is to reduce injuries on duty, and further, lost time. The applied research project introduced the problem of determining the effectiveness of physical fitness programs. The purpose of this applied research project was to describe how to determine the effectiveness of physical fitness program. The applied research project used the descriptive research method to answer the research questions: a) What are physical fitness programs? b) How do fire departments determine the effectiveness of physical fitness programs? The results of this applied research project were reached through NFPA injury data reviewed in the literature review section. The results of this study showed that fitness-related injuries are a significant section of firefighter injury data. At the conclusion of this applied research project, the researcher made specific recommendations for determining the effectiveness of physical fitness programs conducted by Delhi Township Fire Department.

Introduction

            Physical fitness is a key component to firefighter health and safety. Fire departments implement physical fitness programs to ensure the fitness of personnel and reduce the potential for injuries on duty (IOD). Presently, Delhi Township Fire Department is facing the problem of determining the effectiveness of the department’s current physical fitness programs. The purpose of this applied research project is to describe how Delhi Township Fire Department can determine the effectiveness of their physical fitness program. The applied research project will use the descriptive research method to answer the research questions: a) What are physical fitness programs? b) How do fire departments determine the effectiveness of physical fitness programs?

Background and Significance

            As stated in the introduction, physical fitness is a key component to firefighter health and safety. Since 2000, Delhi Township Fire Department has implemented standard operating guidelines (SOG) section 100.09 which outlines annual medical and physical fitness requirements for the department’s 52 firefighters. 34 Delhi Township firefighters are covered under the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between Delhi Township, Ohio and Local 3389, IAFF. Article 19 of the CBA ensures that firefighters complete an annual physical. A firefighter is considered IOD if an injury takes place during an annual physical. In addition to an annual physical, firefighters participate in an annual Physical Abilities Test (PAT) and a Timed Job-Simulation Test (TJST) which are not measured against any standard. Firefighters who complete the TJST in under 8 minutes and 44 seconds receive an incentive bonus of a $300.00 lump sum payment (Delhi Township, Ohio & Local 3389, IAFF, 2020). The aforementioned SOG section 100.19 requires an employee to undergo a complete medical evaluation including a physical exam and history review, a pulmonary function test, a Department of Transportation certifiable vision test, a NIOSH certified hearing test, and a list of other standard and optional testing (Delhi Township Fire Department, 2021).

            With all present department procedures regarding physical fitness, Delhi Township Fire Department has no way of determining their effectiveness. The need to establish a system for determining the effectiveness of physical fitness programs is in line with the USFA’s goal of building a culture of preparedness in the fire and emergency medical services (U.S. Fire Administration, 2019, p. 1).

Literature Review

            A literature review was conducted to establish an understanding of firefighter fitness and firefighter physical fitness programs.

            NFPA 1500 is the Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program. According to the standard’s 2013 edition, NFPA 1500 “identifies actions that a fire department can take to minimize the risks to firefighters, including a comprehensive physical fitness program (Bennett, 2017).

            Minimizing the risk of IOD is an important aspect of physical fitness programs. Though, firefighters may face injuries unrelated to their physical fitness. Figure 1. A study conducted in 2021 found that firefighter injuries related to fitness between 2015 and 2019 averaged 22% of all injuries. Overexertion and strains were the injuries listed in the report. These injuries were only second to exposure-related injuries which comprised an average of 26% of total injuries (Campbell, 2021, p. 4). Figure 2. Related to injury severity, 30% of total injuries resulted in lost time (Campbell, 2021, p. 5).

Often, as the human body ages, physical injuries are more common and can take longer to heal. Figure 3. In 2018, 21% of firefighters were in the age group 20-29, 27% were in the age group 30-39, and 23% were in the age group 40-49 (Evarts & Stein, 2020). This data can be compared to research regarding fireground injuries by age. Figure 4. Between 2015 and 2019, 18% of firefighter injuries took place in the age group 20-29, 30% took place in the age group 30-39, and 30% took place in the age group 40-49 (Campbell, 2021, p. 3).

 

Figure 1. Fireground Injuries by Cause, 2015-2019 (Campbell, 2021, p. 4).

Figure 1. Fireground Injuries by Cause, 2015-2019 (Campbell, 2021, p. 4).

Figure 2. Fireground Injuries by Severity, 2015-2019 (Campbell, 2021, p. 5).

Figure 2. Fireground Injuries by Severity, 2015-2019 (Campbell, 2021, p. 5).

Figure 3. Firefighters by Age Group, 2018 (Evarts & Stein, 2020).

Figure 3. Firefighters by Age Group, 2018 (Evarts & Stein, 2020).

Figure 4. Fireground Injuries by Age, 2015-2019 (Campbell, 2021, p. 3).

Figure 4. Fireground Injuries by Age, 2015-2019 (Campbell, 2021, p. 3).

Procedures

            The results of this applied research project were reached through the collection of data from a NFPA research report regarding firefighter injuries. This report derives its data “from the US Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) in conjunction with the annual fire experience survey administered by the National Fire Protection Association” (Campbell, 2021, p. 2). This study is limited by the lack of a national requirement to submit NFIRS reports. Because some departments are not required to submit fire reports through NFIRS, fireground injuries can sometimes be left outside of the data pool. Regardless, a literature review of Firefighter Injuries on the Fireground is appropriate to achieve the purpose of describing how Delhi Township Fire Department can determine the effectiveness of their physical fitness program.

            An analysis of department standard operating guidelines, a collective bargaining agreement, and NFPA reports was used to answer the research questions: a) What are physical fitness programs? b) How do fire departments determine the effectiveness of physical fitness programs? Delhi Township Fire Department SOG section 100.09 and Article 19 of the collective bargaining agreement clearly define the physical fitness program used by Delhi Township firefighters. Deductive reasoning can be used to derive a method for determining the effectiveness of the program from NFPA reports.

Results

            The results of this study show that fitness-related injuries are a significant and traceable section of firefighter injury data. Moreover, firefighter injuries by age group are not found to be statistically significant when compared to the general employment of firefighters by age group. Therefore, it cannot be concluded that firefighter age should be used when determining the effectiveness of physical fitness programs.

Discussion

            Through a literature review, it can be determined that firefighter physical fitness, or lack thereof, contributes to fireground injury statistics. Delhi Township Fire Department files incident reports including personnel injuries through NFIRS. This system is related to how the NFPA collects injury data for reports like Firefighter Injuries on the Fireground. Therefore, as the NFPA can gather collective data, Delhi Township Fire Department can collect department-specific data.

            The results of this applied research project increase awareness of the relationship between injury data and the effectiveness of physical fitness programs. Specifically, if Delhi Township Fire Department were to conduct effective physical fitness programs, the department would be able to examine fitness-related injuries like overexertion and strains to a lesser extent compared to other departments or national data provided by the NFPA. Furthermore, with a reduction in injuries, the department should also recognize a reduction in lost time. This relationship is discovered by the data that supports the statement that 30% of injuries on duty can cause lost time (Campbell, 2021, p. 5).

Recommendations

            The purpose of this applied research project was to describe how Delhi Township Fire Department could determine the effectiveness of their physical fitness program. The descriptive research method was used to describe physical fitness programs and explain how their effectiveness could be determined. To conclude the study, the researcher recommends that Delhi Township Fire Department conduct data analysis to determine the effectiveness of the department’s physical fitness program. Through the analysis of NFIRS reports submitted by the department, Delhi Township could interpret an effective fitness program as producing lower fitness-related injury data compared to the national average of 22% (Campbell, 2021, p. 4). Moving forward, the department should compare new fitness-related injury reports to old reports. To increase the relevancy of these reports, the department should report on fitness-related injuries and their impact on lost time.

References

Bennett, L. T. (2017). Physical Fitness. Fire Service Law (pp. 265-279). Waveland Press.

Campbell, R. (2021). Firefighter Injuries on the Fireground. NFPA.

Delhi Township Fire Department. (2021). SOG 100.09: Annual Medical and Physical Fitness Requirements. Standard Operating Guidelines.

Delhi Township, Ohio & Local 3389, IAFF. (2020). Article 19: Physicals & Fitness.

Evarts, B. & Stein, G. P. (2020). U.S. Fire Department Profile. NFPA.

U.S. Fire Administration. (2019). A Prepared and Resilient Fire and Emergency Medical Services: Strategic Plan Fiscal Years 2019-2023. Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Firefighter Carcinogen Exposure and Mitigation

Kristopher Dass, Firefighter    

New Orleans Fire Department

(504) 975-7200

kristopherdass@gmail.com

kristopher.dass@nola.gov

 

Interviewed: Kevin D. Hardwick, OFE/OFC, Fire Chief

Glendale Fire Department

(513) 771-7200

khardwick@glendaleohio.org

Board of Directors

International Association of Fire Chiefs - VCOS

 

University Of Cincinnati Spring 2022

FST 3085 Political & Legal Foundations of Fire Protection

Lawrence T. Bennett, Esq.

YouTube Video of Interview with Fire Chief Kevin D. Hardwick, OFE/ OFC

 

Certification Statement

I hereby certify that this paper constitutes my own product, that where the language of others is set forth, quotation marks so indicate, and that appropriate credit is given where I have used the language, ideas, expressions, or writings of another.

Signed: Kristopher Dass                                                                    Date: February 17, 2022

 

Abstract

When thinking of the dangers of firefighting, one’s mind probably goes to backdrafts, smoke, flames and collapsing buildings. However, the true dangers lie in the details.  In 2010, the National Institute of Safety and Health Published a study that found cancer to be the number one cause of firefighter mortality. In this study it was found that “firefighters had a 9% increase in cancer incidence and a 14% in cancer mortality compared with the US general population.” Findings showed a higher predisposition to respiratory, digestive and urinary cancers as well as mesothelioma in firefighters (Pinkerton, et al., 2020). The causes of these cancers can be linked in part to firefighters’ extended exposure to the products of combustion such as soot and smoke, AFFF, and chemicals natural and man-made contained in modern furniture and building materials. While many of these carcinogens are found on the fireground, others are contained in the tools and protection firefighters need to perform their jobs. Through programs that promote reducing exposure during and after incidents (such as gross decontamination and the cleaning of gear and tools) and removal of PFAS from tools used by the fire service, firefighters can again choose what dangers they are willing to face and when.

 

Firefighter Carcinogen Exposure and Mitigation

Introduction

The perceived dangers involved with firefighting in the past (and to a certain extent in the present) are those represented by obvious physical dangers. These dangers are exemplified by backdrafts, flashover, roof collapses, and falling from heights. Over time, the advent of technology and data/experience-based decision making gradually forged ways for these dangers to be mitigated.  Personal protective equipment such as bunker gear, self-contained breathing apparatuses, helmets, flash hoods, gloves, thermal imaging cameras; and techniques such as sounding floors, reading smoke and calculating the load placed on a building by water are few examples of the technology and methods now available.

In 2010, however, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published a paper that would shift this perception and confirm what many in the fire service may have already suspected. The study found that cancer was now the number one killer of firefighters. In this study it was found that “firefighters had a 9% increase in cancer incidence and a 14% in cancer mortality compared with the US general population.” Findings also showed a higher predisposition to respiratory, digestive and urinary cancers as well as mesothelioma in firefighters (Pinkerton, et al., 2020).

The causes of these cancers have been linked to the products of combustion, natural and man-made, Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), and the protective gear worn by firefighters to extinguish structural fires. Just like the traditionally held dangers of firefighting, exposure to these new (and some old) dangerous carcinogens can be mitigated through technology and data/experience-based decision making.

The purpose of this paper is to look at the carcinogens that affect the members of the fire service. It will identify natural and anthropogenic carcinogens and look at the measures that can be taken by fire departments such as the New Orleans Fire Department to reduce the risk of and exposure to these threats. 

Background and Significance

The earliest documentation of a carcinogen that can be considered occupationally related to firefighting was made in 1775 by Percivall Pott, an English surgeon, who found a correlation between extended exposure to soot and a high incidence of cancer of the scrotum in chimney sweeps (Dronsfield, 2006). Pott noted "...the disease, in these people, seems to derive its origin from a lodgment of soot in the rugae of the scrotum” (Pott, 1775). Here Pott makes the supposition that the cause of the cancer or ‘sores’ was the lodging of the soot in the folds of the scrotal skin. It should be noted that Pott’s research led to the Chimney Sweepers Act of 1788, which initially set a minimum age of 8 years of age for chimney sweeps and required them to be provided suitable clothing and living conditions. Though this may seem like common sense now, it was revolutionary for its time as a regulatory legislation meant to protect a class of workers from an occupationally related hazard.

 Pott’s eighteenth-century observations were later confirmed in the 1930s with the combined research of Ernest Kennaway and James D. Cook at the Research Institute of the Cancer Hospital in London. Their work led to the discovery of -benz(a)pyrene, a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) found in coal tar, which they reported as “the most active carcinogen yet known” (Dronsfield, 2006).

 PAHs, while not proven to be explicitly the cause of certain cancers to which they are linked, are considered pro-carcinogens and listed as genotoxic and mutagenic. In a 2018 UK study to determine the exposure levels of firefighters to PAHs, “carcinogens including benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), 3-MCA, and 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene PAHs were determined on body surfaces (e.g., hands, throat), on PPE including helmets and clothing, and on work surfaces” (Stec, et al., 2018). Cancer slope models were then used to estimate cancer risk, indicating a markedly elevated risk, and concluding that the “results suggest an urgent need to monitor exposures to firefighters in their occupational setting and conduct long-term follow-up regarding their health status.”

While PAHs are found in coal and oil deposits and formed from the combustion of organic materials (making them natural in origin), per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are completely anthropogenic, meaning they have no known natural source. PFAS were developed in the 1930s and have since been used in a wide variety of applications ranging from nonstick cookware, water- and stain-resistant fabric and carpeting to food packaging, firefighting foams, and other industrial applications. PFAS–which have varieties that number in the tens of thousands–are commonly referred to as “Forever Chemicals”, or persistent organic pollutants due their ability to persist in the environment. PFAS are so prevalent that we are exposed to them on a daily basis through food, water and air. In fact, according to a 2007 study, it was found that more than 98% of people in the United States had PFAS present in their bloodstream (Moore PhD, Calkins PhD, Anderson PhD, Forester MS, & Kiederer BA, 2021). The greater problem lies in the fact that PFAS has also been linked to a host of negative health effects, including (but not limited to) several cancers (Fletcher, Savitz, & Steenland, 2011-2012).

Firefighters are additionally exposed to varying levels of PFAS in the form of the products of combustion, AFFF, and in the textiles of protective bunker gear. Modern fires produce a rogue’s gallery of known and suspected carcinogens including (International Association of Firefighters, 2018) :

●       arsenic

●       asbestos

●       benzene

●       benzo[a]pyrene

●       1,3-butadiene

●       cadmium

●       diesel engine exhaust

●       dioxin

●       formaldehyde

●       pentachlorophenol

●       polychlorinated biphenyls

●       radionuclides

●       creosote

●       dibenz[a,h]anthracene (a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon [PAH])

●       wood combustion products

●       per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

AFFF, which has been used in various forms for fire suppression and training in both the past and present, contains many different PFAS, including PFOS, PFOA, PFNA, PFDA and PFHxS (IPEN, 2019). Since the advent of questioning the adverse health effects of AFFF, manufacturers have continually responded by replacing long-chain PFAS with short-chain PFAS that have not yet been fully tested or studied on humans. The most recent revelation concerning PFAS is their presence in firefighting bunker gear. “Textiles used as firefighter turnout gear were found to have high levels of total fluorine (up to 2%), and individual PFAS were identified and measured on new and used firefighting turnout gear” (Peaslee, et al., 2020). In this study it was shown that PFAs migrated and shed to untreated areas with age.

Literature Review

Aqueous Film Forming Foam has come a long way since initial inception. In the European Union there have already been studies on the practicality and effectiveness of using fluorine free/PFAS-free alternatives. Plans have also been laid by the European Commission to ban all use of PFAS with action promised as early as July of 2022. Unfortunately, the progress is slower within the United States though no progress has been made by the Environmental Protection Agency, action has been taken by several states in form of restricts in firefighting foam and consumer products, regulations in drinking water, and appropriating funds for remediation activities (Hildreth & Oren, 2021). According to the United States Fire Administration, 2020, due to its necessity in certain types of fire suppression operations, AFFF will not soon go away, so the following measures should be taken be taken to protect members of the fire service who must use the substance:

●       Older stock of AFFF should be replaced with fluorine-free (despite the NFPA’s reluctance to support fluorine-free alternatives).

●       Runoff from AFFF should be managed and contained.

●       Training alternatives should be used during training exercises.

●       Personal protective equipment including a self-contained breathing apparatus should be used when handling AFFF.

●       Contaminated PPE should be removed and bagged after use and prior to transporting for cleaning.

●       The use of cleaning wipes should be employed immediately after exposures.

●       Shower within one hour of return to home or station.

Contaminants from the products of combustion can be mitigated in many of the same steps described for mitigating AFFF. Fent, et al. (2017) show how firefighters' skin may be exposed to chemicals through permeation or penetration of combustion byproducts through or around personal protective equipment (PPE), or from the cross-transfer of contaminants on PPE to the skin. The following are recommendations to avoid this contamination and cross-contamination:

●       Gross Decontamination of bunker gear following with soap and water following exposure.

●       Cleaning of tools used in the incident.

●       Contaminated PPE should be removed and bagged after use and prior to transporting for cleaning.

●       The use of cleaning wipes should be employed immediately after exposures.

●       Shower within one hour of return to home or station.

In addition, it is recommended to issue a second set of particulate blocking flash hoods, gloves and bunker gear to firefighters and swap these after every exposure. All contaminated bunker gear, gloves, and hoods should be cleaned in an extractor after every exposure. Other steps that can be taken to reduce exposure include instituting a clean cab policy, keeping bunker gear out of sleeping quarters, the decontamination of the apparatus interior, and to avoid bringing contaminated PPE and station clothes to one’s home. By following these steps, fire departments can reduce the incidences of cross-contamination (Firefighter Cancer Support Network, 2013).

One missing piece of the equation for reducing exposure is dependent partially on the action of the NFPA, who voted to uphold a testing requirement that allows PFAS to be used in bunker gear. On September 21, 2021, the National Fire Protection Association upheld the requirement of a test performed on the middle layer of a firefighter’s bunker gear that requires it be resistant to 40 hours of continuous UV exposure. This requirement necessitates the use of PFAS in bunker gear, as they are currently the only commercially produced means by which the layer can pass the test (Industrial Fire World Staff, 2021). As previously stated, it was found that the PFAS intentionally present inside the lining of bunker gear shed over time and continuously contacted the wearer's skin, where it can be absorbed (Peaslee, et al., 2020). The removal of this requirement would mean that there would no longer be a need for the use for the PFAS in the manufacture of bunker gear, thus removing another route of exposure.

Procedure

A literature review was performed in order to gather information from the past and present on the history of carcinogens as they apply to firefighting. This review included the viewing of other departments current procedures for gross decontamination following suppression incidents, as well as plans that are in the proposal stage. Online sources, journals, books, and lectures were also consulted to achieve the three stated objectives of identifying natural carcinogens, anthropogenic carcinogens, and looking at the measures that can be taken by fire departments such as the New Orleans Fire Department and the fire service in general, to reduce the risk and exposure of firefighters to these threats.

Discussion

There are many fire jurisdictions large and small that have viable carcinogen mitigation programs in place. Funding and culture are two of the greatest challenges when attempting to employ measures to best protect the firefighters of one’s own jurisdiction from the carcinogen exposure discussed above. The actual implements of decontamination are relatively inexpensive: soap, water, buckets, cones, reducers, spray nozzles, soft-bristle brushes and hoses. The equipment needed on the backend, however, to effectively facilitate the endeavor without interruption of service is costly.  Second sets of gloves, second sets of bunker gear, second sets of particulate blocking hoods, and extractors are a huge investment for a mid-sized fire department like the New Orleans Fire Department, which currently employs 600 firefighters. Rising inflation, supply chain problems, and raw material shortages compound the already substantial cost.

This brings us to culture. In a jurisdiction like New Orleans, the only way to realistically obtain the financial support needed is to garner the support of the community and firefighters the program is intended to serve. It is important not to try to reverse that order by pushing for substantial funding for something that the firefighters do not see the need for. This leaves the onus on firefighters themselves to help develop programs in order to educate the brothers and sisters of the one’s own fire department, so that an educated decision can be made by every firefighter about what risk they do and do not want to take when they come to work, or which risks they may take home to their loved ones.

 

Works Cited

Dahm, M. M., Bertke, S., Allee, S., & Daniels, R. D. (2015). Creation of a retrospective job-exposure matrix using surrogate measures of exposure for a cohort of US career firefighters from San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 1-8.

Dronsfield, A. (2006, February 28). Percivall Pott, chimney sweeps and cancer. Retrieved from RSC Education

Fent, K. w., Alexander, B., Roberts, J., Robertson, S., Toennis, S. D., . . . Horn, G. (2017). Contamination of firefighter personal protective equipment and skin and the effectiveness of decontamination procedures. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 801-814.

Firefighter Cancer Support Network. (2013, August). Taking Action Against Cancer in the Fire Service. Retrieved from Firefighter Cancer Support Network

Fletcher, D. T., Savitz, D. D., & Steenland, D. K. (2011-2012, December-October). C8 Probable Link Reports. Retrieved from C8 SCience Panel

Hildreth, K., & Oren, S. (2021, March 19). State and Federal Efforts to Address PFAS Contamination. Retrieved from Nation Conference of State Legislatures

Industrial Fire World Staff. (2021, September 21). NFPA Council Votes to Keep PFAS in Turnout Gear. Retrieved from Industrial Fire World

International Association of Firefighters. (2018, March 09). Fire Fighter Carcinogen Exposures. Retrieved from Nevada Legislature

IPEN. (2019). White Paper for the Stockholm Convention Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC-15). Perfluorohexane Sulfonate (PFHxS)—Socio-Economic Impact, Exposure, and the Precautionary Principle.

Moore PhD, S. M., Calkins PhD, M. M., Anderson PhD, S., Forester MS, C., & Kiederer BA, M. (2021, November 09). Extinguishing the Risk of Forever Chemicals: State of the science to protect first responders. Retrieved from NIOSH Science Blog

Peaslee, G. F., Wilkinson, J. T., McGuinness, S. R., Tighe, M., Caterisano, N., Lee, S., . . . Mitchell, K. (2020). Another Pathway for Firefighter Exposure to Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances: Firefighter Textiles. Environmental Science & Technology Letters , 7(8), 594-599.

Pinkerton, L., Bertke, S., Yiin, J., Dahm, M., Kubale, T., Hales, T., . . . Daniels, R. (2020). Mortality in a cohort of US firefighters from San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia: an update. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 77:84-93.

Pott, P. (1775). Chirurgical Observations Relative to the Cataract, the Polyplus of the Nose, the Cancer of the Scrotum, the Different Kinds of Ruptures, and the Mortification of the Toes and Feet. London, England: L. Hawes, W. Clarke, and R. Collins.

Stec, A. A., Dickens, K. E., Salden, M., Hewitt, F. E., Watts, D. P., Houldsworth, P. E., & Martin, F. L. (2018, February 06). Occupational Exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Elevated Cancer Incidence in Firefighters. Retrieved from Scientific Reports

United States Fire Administration. (2020, February 11). The Hidden Dangers in Fire Fighting Foam. Retrieved from US Fire Administration

2021

Peer Support and the Columbus Division of Fire

Matthew R. Dilsaver 

FST 3085 – Political and Legal Foundations of Fire Protection

Professor Lawrence T. Bennett

October 8, 2021

YouTube Video: Dilsaver CFD Peer Support Interview

CFDs Member Support Unit

Lt. Dave Gerold

614-221-3132-75370

dtgerold@columbus.gov

 

CERTIFICATION STATEMENT

I hereby certify that this paper constitutes my own product, that where the language of others is set forth, quotation marks so indicate, and that appropriate credit is given where I have used the language, ideas, expressions, or writings of another.

Signed: Matthew R. Dilsaver

Date: October 8, 2020

 

Abstract

In recent studies, more firefighters died from suicide than line of duty deaths. Firefighters are impacted by the stresses of firefighting, EMS, and the demands of everyday life. Some are affected more than others, and some more deeply at times; but fellow firefighters can help one another respond to these pressures with peer support groups. The purpose of this research was to describe peer support and the benefits of peer support. The research also described how the Columbus Division of Fire utilized peer support within the Division. The descriptive research used included a literature review. The descriptive research was used to answer the following questions for this applied research project: a) What is peer support? b) What are the benefits of peer support? c) How is the Columbus Division of Fire utilizing peer support? Specific recommendations for public safety departments to utilize peer support are noted in the recommendation section of this applied research project.

 

Introduction

In behavioral health, a peer is usually used to refer to someone who shares the experience of living with a psychiatric disorder and/or addiction (Mental Health America, 2021). Peer support has been around since the 18th century. Its first roots are traced back to a psychiatric hospital in France, where the governor of the facility recognized the value of employing recovered patients as hospital staff. The recovered patients were found to be gentler and more honest with patients than the staff (Lanning, 2020). 

Peer support programs can play an important role in keeping firefighters and their departments healthy and have proven to be an effective method for providing support to occupational groups (IAFF Staff, 2018).

The purpose of this applied research project is to describe peer support, the benefits of peer support, and how the Columbus Division of Fire (CFD) is utilizing peer support within the department. The following research questions will be addressed using the descriptive research method: a) What is peer support? b) What are the benefits of peer support? c) How is the Columbus Division of Fire utilizing peer support?

 

Background and Significance

As stated in the introduction, peer support has been around since the 18th century and is the process of giving and receiving encouragement and assistance to achieve long-term recovery. Peer supporters offer emotional support, share knowledge, teach skills, provide practical assistance, and connect people with resources, opportunities, communities of support, and other people (Mental Health America, 2021).

In the past, the fire service did not understand the toll firefighters took on a daily basis and viewed mental health issues as a weakness. Today, the fire service has recognized the need to take a larger role to support behavioral health. The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) has rolled out programs that have trained thousands of firefighters in peer support techniques. These programs include an in-person, two-day peer support training program, an online behavior health training program, and have partnered with Advanced Recovery Systems to open a 64-bed treatment facility (Raney, 2019). 

Because of the IAFF and the mental health issues in the fire service, behavior health units are becoming more common in fire departments. The Columbus Division of Fire has established the Member Support Unit that works under the Training Bureau. The Member Support Unit is a group of uninformed division members trained in peer support. They give CFD members or their family members a confidential place to vent, share, or unload any concerns without shame or judgment. The Member Support Unit assist our members and their families with connections to resources that are appropriate for them and their situation.

The Columbus Division of Fire is a large-sized, paid, career department with 1,570 salaried positions. The fire department is funded along with police and other operations through the Columbus Public Safety Department budget that is set for 2020 at $647.4 million (Bush, 2019). Columbus Fire is set up of five bureaus: Administration Bureau, Emergency Services, Fire Prevention, Support Services, and the Training Bureau. Emergency Services is formed of 3 units, 1, 2 and 3 unit, that work a 24 hours on/ 48 hours off shift.

Columbus Division of Fire has seven battalions with 35 stations that serve the 217 square miles of the city of Columbus, Ohio and its 900,000 citizens. The city of Columbus is the fastest growing large city in the nation. CFD does both fire and emergency medical service (EMS) runs and had a total of 158,792 calls for service in 2018.

With Columbus Fire members serving the fourteenth largest city in America and responding to 6,103 structure, field and vehicle fires, hazardous conditions calls for service and 133,357 EMS and rescue calls for service in 2018, it is clear that CFD members are at an increased chance of accumulative events that can harm a firefighter’s mental health.

 

Literature Review

A literature review was conducted to establish an understanding of the benefits of a peer support program and how the Columbus Division of Fire is utilizing their Member Support Unit and peer support. 

 

Peer Support

With updated technology and completed studies on firefighters and mental health, the understanding of the cumulative damage to firefighters’ mental health is a hot topic in the fire service. Today, the fire service is seeing a large amount of post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) and an extreme uptick in suicides. According to the FireRescue1 article, a recent study found that more firefighters and police officers died by suicide in 2017 than all line-of-duty deaths combined and suggested programs such as peer-to-peer assistance, mental health checkups and time off after particularly hard calls (2018). “According to the National Association of Mental Illness, in the general U.S. population, approximately 20 percent of people will suffer from a mental health condition annually, but it is estimated that up to 22 percent of firefighters suffer from PTSD…in one survey of over 1,000 active and retired firefighters, nearly half of respondents stated that they had considered suicide, which is over three times the rate of the general population. Additionally, 16 percent had actually attempted suicide, as compared to 2–9 percent of the general population” (Dreiman, 2018). Furthermore, according to the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation and the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance, firefighters are nearly 1.5 times more likely to die from suicide than they are to die in the line of duty (Wusterhausen).

Because of the increased numbers of PTSD and suicides in the fire service, departments throughout the country are embracing peer support programs as a bridge to treatment for firefighters who need it. “Peer Support Team members have the advantage of being close to the member who may be struggling. They live in the firehouse, so they can easily observe behavioral changes” (Stumnaugh, 2018). According to Doug Stern, director of media relations for the IAFF, in the American Psychological Association article, “the fire service is such a brotherhood and sisterhood, firefighters prefer to lean on each other, we talk about peer support as a bridge to other treatment” (2019). Furthermore, “as the number of firefighter PTSD diagnoses and firefighter suicides rise, it is vital all management and members get on board with addressing firefighter mental health. The goal of every department leader should be to have a healthy and happy workforce, and the way to do that is with a strong wellness program with four pillars: physical health training, behavioral health training, suicide prevention training and firefighter peer support services” (Conant, 2019). 

Before firefighters can experience the benefits of a peer support program, they have to understand the workings of the programs and how to utilize their peers. “Peer support is the process by which a trained member of the fire service provides confidential support to another member who is experiencing personal, emotional or work-related problems while acting as a bridge to outside professional services. Peer support builds off an existing rapport and mutual trust between two members of the same department or occupation” (IAFF Staff, 2018). “Peer support involves trained coworkers who are there to listen, mentor or provide support to others who are experiencing personal or professional difficulties” (Conant, 2019). Peer supporters are simply a bridge from an individual to further mental health resources (Lanning, 2020). “Peer support teams can also be proactive in dealing with responders who may be experiencing problems unrelated to an incident, such as family issues, financial difficulties, stress or anxiety, and substance abuse” (Conant, 2019).  Per the IAFF Behavioral Health Awareness course, peer support programs build trust among peers, creates a well-educated workforce, creates less absenteeism, prepares a workforce for crisis, and reduces stigma about accessing behavioral health services (IAFF Behavioral course, 2021).

To help fight mental illnesses and suicides in the fire service, the International Association of Firefighters has created multiple avenues for departments and firefighters to easily obtain help that is needed. The IAFF has partnered with Advanced Recovery Systems to create the IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery. The IAFF states the facility “is a one-of-a-kind treatment facility specializing in PTSD for professional fire service members who struggle with trauma, substance use, addiction and other related behavioral health challenges. It is a safe haven for members to receive the help they need in taking the first steps toward recovery and share experiences with other members who have faced or overcome similar challenges” (IAFF, 2021). The IAFF has also created an online Behavioral Health Awareness course and a two-day, in-person interactive IAFF Peer Support Training program (Behavioral Health Program, 2021). Since 2017, more than 1,000 members have received treatment for substance abuse and accompanying issues such as PTSD, depression and anxiety at the IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery. Also, since March 2016, more than 5,400 people have completed the Peer Support Program and another 7,800 fire personnel have completed IAFF's online behavioral health training program (Raney, 2019).

 

Columbus Division of Fire – Member Support Unit

The Columbus Division of Fire created the Member Support Unit in September of 2019. The decision was made to create the unit because of a high number of recent suicides the Division had faced, and the understanding that the members of CFD needed an improved outlet for mental health.

The CFD Member Support Unit provides confidential peer support, connects members to mental health, substance use, and wellness resources, develops and deliver training on wellness and resiliency, develops and delivers training to the Peer Support Team, coordinates CISM activations, supports the Chaplain Team, and outreach and coordination with local fire agencies and law enforcement.

The Member Support Unit is ran by a lieutenant and two firefighters that are on a forty hour work schedule. The unit is ran under the Training Bureau with the thought process that the unit would be training new and established firefighters on avenues for mental health improvements. The Division did not want firefighters to worry about disciplinary actions from their peer support meetings or to have the perception that the Chief of the Division controlled the conversations within the meetings.

CFD currently has 60 members that are trained for peer support and has a process established for interested members to become trained for peer support. A member must be recommended for the peer support team and the peer support committee interviews and handpicks members to join the team. Once a member is chosen, they attend a sixteen-hour course through the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation and an additional eight-hour course through the Member Support Unit.

Currently, the Member Support Unit is training the recruit classes, journeyman that recently completed the apprenticeship process, and individual stations. The Division’s thought process is to build a mental wellness outlet foundation with the newer employees and educate the outlets available to the established firefighters on the streets. The recruits are taught twenty hours of general wellness and mental wellness material through their fire academy training. The Member Support Unit trains the following classes during the forty-week academy: Introduction of Wellness Teams, General Wellness, Mental Toughness and Resilience, The 5 Givens, Brain Science and Trauma, Critical Incident Stress, and Cumulative Stress and Peer Support. The recently appointed journeymen are trained in a four-hour Suicide Awareness and Prevention course. This course not only covers suicide in the fire service, but the outlets available to public safety members if they are in need. Additionally, the Member Support Unit is meeting at individual stations to educate members on the streets and leaving advertisements of mental health wellness and available outlets for mental health.

Lastly, the City of Columbus has partnered with the Columbus Division of Fire and Police to create the Police and Fire Joint Wellness Center. This center will give City of Columbus public safety members a place, away from their departments, to find help. The Joint Wellness Center will open in March of 2022 and holds a fitness/ yoga studio, counselling rooms for peer support, quiet/ meditation rooms, classrooms, and the offices for the Member Support Unit and Columbus Division of Police officers.

 

Results

The descriptive research method was used in this applied reach project to answer the following questions: a) What is peer support? b) What are the benefits of peer support? c) How is the Columbus Division of Fire utilizing peer support? These questions were looked at in the literature review section of this applied research project. The literature review found that peer support programs are a bridge to outside definitive behavioral health and/or addiction treatment (OAPFF, 2021). Per the IAFF Behavioral Health Awareness course, peer support programs build trust among peers, creates a well-educated workforce, creates less absenteeism, prepares a workforce for crisis, and reduces stigma about accessing behavioral health services (IAFF Behavioral course, 2021). The literature review also covered the Member Support Unit at the Columbus Division of Fire and how the Member Support Unit was operating and growing to maximize mental fitness through education, training, and peer outreach.

 

Discussion

The benefits that public safety departments can give their members by creating and utilizing a peer support program is astronomical to public safety members mental health. Departments statewide have a large array of resources that can be used to support a peer support program within their department. Departments can send members to in-person trainings or online trainings with guidelines to create peer support programs. Because of the ease and the proven facts about PTSD and suicides in the fire service, public safety departments have no excuses to not utilize these programs. “Research shows that peer support programs are an effective method for providing help. The IAFF Peer Support Training program, initiated in 2016, teaches members about common behavioral health problems that impact members in the fire service, how to provide one-on-one peer support and how to develop or enhance a peer support program. Peer support helps firefighters get confidential support from other IAFF members who are trained to provide assistance and build trust” (IAFF Staff, 2019).

 

Recommendations

The purpose of this applied research project was to describe peer support programs, the benefits from peer support programs, and explain how the Columbus Division of Fire was utilizing its Member Support Unit and peer support program. The descriptive research method was chosen to describe the benefits and a literature review was conducted. At the conclusion of the this applied research project, the researcher believes it is in all public safety departments interest to work with the IAFF and partner with outside mental health agencies to build a peer support program within their department. Public safety departments can utilize any of the resources provided by the IAFF to start their peer support program. Furthermore, public safety departments can network with other departments to create a working relationship to improve mental health support in their departments. However a department goes about creating and implementing a peer support program within their department, the researcher believes it is obvious that a peer support program is needed in any size department to maintain and improve first responders’ overall health.

 

References

Behavioral Health Program. (2021). IAFF. https://www.iaff.org/behavioral-health/#peer-support

Conant, Joseph. (2019, April 22). Firefighter Peer Support: The Missing Piece of the Mental Health Puzzle. Lexipol.

Dreiman, Brandon. (2018, August 1). Health and Wellness: Firefighter Peer Support. Firehouse.

FireRescue1 Staff. (2018, April13). Study: More Firefighters Died By Suicide Than in the Line of Duty in 2017. FireRescue1.

IAFF Behavorial Health Course. (2021). IAFF. 

IAFF Staff. (2018, January 8). How Peer Support Can Combat Addiction and PTSD. IAFF Recovery Center. 

IAFF Staff. (2019, November 1). Columbus Local 67: Setting the Standard for Mental Health Care

IAFF. (2021). IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery. IAFF Recovery Center.

Lanning, Michael. (2020, April 10). The Power of Peer Support in the Fire Service. Fire Engineering. 

Mental Health America. (2021). What Is A Peer?

OAPFF. (2021). OAPFF Peer Supporters. Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters. 

Raney, Rebecca. (2019, December 4). Fire Departments Step Up Their Mental Health Game. American Psychological Association. 

Stumbaugh, Sean. (2018, February 21). 3 Tactics for Combating Firefighter PTSD. Lexipol.

Wusterhausen, Billy. (2020, February 1). Health and Wellness: Firefighter Suicide: Risk Factors and Warning Signs. Firehouse. 

 

Fighting A Pandemic, Within A Pandemic

Robert Blair Temple

University of Cincinnati

FST. 3085 Section 001

Professor Lawrence T Bennett

March 3, 2021

 

CERTIFICATION STATEMENT

I hereby certify that this paper constitutes my product, that where the language of others is set forth, quotation marks so indicate, and that appropriate credit is given where I have used the language, ideas, expressions, or writings of another.

SIGNED: Robert Blair Temple   DATE:    03/03/2021                    

 

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to look at the effectiveness of combating an opioid pandemic while simultaneously navigating the obstacles of the coronavirus pandemic.  In our community of Greenville, Ohio, which is a small, rural community, the trials of simultaneous demands from the coronavirus and increased opioid use can be taxing on our local healthcare systems.  The pandemic has been associated with increased mental health concerns leading to increased substance abuse, which in turn can create increase in demand.  Historical research was conducted to determine the history of the problem and the increase of overdoses to the current time frame. Descriptive and evaluative research was used to address current demands and see where interventions currently are. Action research was conducted using reports provided by the Coalition for a Healthy Darke County. Chief Brian Phillips was a major asset when interviewing, collecting data, and reviewing a history of the opioid crisis that is present in the county.  Chief Phillips has been instrumental in an intervention team and provided various details and insights that the teams are doing and continue to evaluate to try and alleviate the demands of the opioid crisis along with the demands of the coronavirus pandemic. As this report moves through the information obtained, defined problems, listed solutions, the recommendation at the end will draw on a conclusion of the collective resources provided to assist with the efforts that continue to be made by various groups.  

 

Introduction

2017 sparked an issue with opioid overdose rates that would be a burden on all communities and their local healthcare systems.  No area was exempt from the issues that came forth. Small rural communities with small healthcare systems would have to find various ways to accommodate increased demands with patients, medications, and mental health/addiction services.  Fast forward to 2020 and again these systems would be hit by another pandemic.  While still fighting the opioid pandemic, providers in all settings now had to combat increased patient care loads, increased mental health and addiction issues, and try and keep themselves in an operable state.  How would they accomplish the demands being put on them?  Speaking with Chief Brian Phillips at Greenville Township Emergency services, I was able to discuss the concept of my research, discussing what the local public service entities were doing to continue their effort to combat an opioid crisis even though new demands had been placed on them due to the corona virus pandemic.  I used an historical research approach to look at the progression of the problem from 2017-2021.  I then took an evaluative research approach to analyze various resolutions that have been proposed and are in place to combat this issue.  I was able to gather information from Chief Phillips about the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Heal Initiative, recent meeting minutes from the Coalition for a Healthy Darke County, and annual call data from the county regarding overdose calls. 

 

Background and Significance

Darke County is in the west central side of Ohio, sharing the state line with Indiana.  The largest city within the county is Greenville.  Greenville city and township are in the center portion of the county.  The county seat is also located in Greenville.  In 2017, the county had a spike in overdose calls, totaling 118 overdoses with 10 suspected deaths.  The county would see another spike in 2020, totaling 134 overdoses with 15 suspected deaths.  Please reference appendix I for an annual comparison. Please reference appendix II for Darke County COVID-19 numbers. Darke county has one hospital centrally located in Greenville.  The emergency medical system is provided by various rescue agencies staffed at various levels with various staffing categories.  Most services are volunteer/part-time, with 2 full-time staffed agencies.  When we look at the increased numbers of calls from the overdoses and Covid-19 pandemic, this is where it became burdensome on entities.  Most agencies have a 10–15-minute transport time to the hospital from their respective locations, and if mutual aid is needed, the 10–15-minute time frame will come into play again.  How do we begin to combat the overdose crisis that is thinning out our services? Some local leaders from the county health department, rescue agencies, sheriff’s office, local law enforcement agencies apply to become part of a grant study.  This grant would be funded through the National Institute of Health (NIH).  “The HEALing Communities Study will test the integration of prevention, overdose treatment, and medication-based treatment in select communities hard hit by the opioid crisis” (Chandler, 2020).  A few unique parts to the issues with the opioid issue within the county is its location along major highways and midpoint between a few major cities.  Following state route 49, which runs through Greenville, south, will take you to Interstate 70.  This route will also meet up with Interstate 75 and Dayton is roughly an hour drive from Greenville.  Troy, Piqua, and Sidney can all be accessed via state routes 36 and 48 along with other major highways.  When looking at the locations data of overdoses, we can see that Greenville (2) and Arcanum (2) have the highest overdoses, and both are along the major highways that lead to larger cities that were affected.  Reference Appendix 3.  Analyzing the data and the charts that were provided by Chief Phillips, and agencies that he had been given stats from, it is hopeful that areas of concern can be identified and that the solutions that are being proposed can be implemented within those areas.  It is with follow-up reports throughout this year that we can predict what 2022 may bring, but also find a correlation between interventions done, and the trajectory we may be on. Interventions that have been proposed and implemented have been leave behind Narcan kits by EMS providers, Inmates being released from jail being given Narcan kits and educational aids, a team going to locations of overdoses to provide education and resources available, ideas for transportation to get individuals to and from therapies and including various faith-based groups and agencies to assist with provide education and aid.  These were presented by the NIH HEAL initiative by Dr. Laurie White. 

 

Literature Review

I reviewed the literature Chief Phillips provided to include The Coalition for a Healthy Darke County Meeting minutes, power point slides and data from the NIH Heal initiative, and an article that gave more in depth understanding of the NIH Heal initiative, the various places that it was taking place, and contact persons for the locations. I was able to review the Intervention updates and it provided some information on the EMS leave behind Narcan bags that is in the works.  Chief Phillips advised that this procedure is in the works, but it is taking time to ensure that all legal requirements and pharmacy board requirements are being satisfied.  It is not uncommon that individuals are receiving Narcan prior to the arrival of EMS.  There are some other items that are being put into the works to include transportation for treatment, a community healthcare worker, housing unit for individuals and a psychiatrist working with the coalition, within the county.  Data updates revealed that 2020 had a significant increase with opioid overdose and deaths.  Interventions began to be approved late 2020 and still into 2021.  2021 will be a good start to comparing trending data and see the results of the programs.  One of the final pieces of data that I reviewed was the financial aspects of the grant.  The slide from the power point will be provided in Appendix IV.  As Chief Phillips and I discussed some of the aspects of the study and various interventions that are going on within the community, public trust of the programs and proof of the effectiveness will be needed to continue the programs when the grant money is up.  We talked about various avenues but one we seemed to agree on is the need to show the public that there is some sort of risk reduction and financial savings by having and continuing these programs. 

 

Procedures

Chief Phillips was very instrumental in assisting me with the data and information regarding the program.  I discussed with him my goal was to review the initial procedure that were done when our area became affected by the opioid crisis.  I discussed with him that I was interested in seeing the increase in overdoses over the 2020-time frame and seeing how much it had increased, also the demand it put on providers.  Information was gathered from the NIH Heal Initiative that had shown finances of the project, data of the calls, procedures that were being implemented.  These included bar graphs that could show trends that were present of the time frame of 2017-2021.  A specific chart was given that had shown the Darke County Sheriff’s Office and Darke County Coroner’s Office findings.  These charts are available in the appendix.  Regarding the corona virus, I went to the Darke County Health Departments website which showed the dashboard.  I also collected a few reports of the Coalition for a Healthy Darke County, meeting minutes to evaluate where the program is. 

 

Results

Results that were available at the time of this work showed that the monthly comparison of overdoses from January 2021 to have increased from what they were in January of 2020. Program interventions are still fresh within the community and navigating the guidelines of the corona virus pandemic also slow some of the processes down.  A psychiatrist will be starting at the family health center 3/2021 and the position for a community coordinator is still working to be filled.

 

Discussion

Based on the findings, I think that the initiative is going to have success with interventions being provided.  Education seems to be a large part of this project.  This can be continued with the teams that are following up from monthly overdose reports, discharges from the hospital, inmate releases.  I would challenge the consideration that EMS providers also be provided educational aids to be left, talked about, especially if there is movement forward with leave behind Narcan.  From 2017 to now, we are seeing that overdose calls are moving more quickly and efficiently with the use of Narcan prior to arrival of EMS.  Where we had to be careful with whole crews going in, contamination concerns, and units out of service, continuous improvement is improving turn around times and provider’s care.  With teams providing education and aid, this could continue to decrease.  As the restrictions from the pandemic become less, more individuals may be able to get involved.

 

Recommendations

It is my recommendation that the committee and the teams continue moving forward with the education being provided to people struggling with addiction, their families, and providers.  Providers that are in the street, meeting the individuals can provide valuable resources and education and possibly be an exchange point for providing more Narcan.  I would encourage that the initiative continues to pursue a community coordinator that will be able to oversee the project, provide important data that could be given to providers and the community, and push the benefit of having this program in place.  I recommend that consideration be made that local transport agencies be considered as possible avenues to getting individuals back and forth to treatment.  I also encourage the committee to continue pursuing a location or a home that could provide addicts seeking immediate treatment but need supervision in the interim, to go.  

 

References

Chandler, Redonna. (2020). HEALing Communities Study. Retrieved on 03/03/2021.

Darke County Health Department. (2021). CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE. Retrieved on 03/03/2021.

Healing Initiative Board. (2021). NIH Heal Initiative Healing Study Ohio Program Update. Powerpoint. Department of Health and Human Services

The Benefits of Utilizing Fusion Centers

Matthew R. Dilsaver

FST 3021 – Terrorism & Homeland Security for Emergency Responders

Professor Lawrence T. Bennett

December 2, 2020

 

CERTIFICATION STATEMENT

I hereby certify that this paper constitutes my own product, that where the language of others is set forth, quotation marks so indicate, and that appropriate credit is given where I have used the language, ideas, expressions, or writings of another.

Signed: Matthew R. Dilsaver                                       Date: December 2, 2020

 

Abstract

Ohio public safety departments are underutilizing local fusion centers, which restricts the flow of information that could be obtained from the federal government to State, Local, Tribal and Territorial, and private sector partners. The purpose of this research is to describe the benefits to Ohio public safety departments for utilizing local fusion centers. The descriptive research used included a literature review. The descriptive research was to answer the following question for this applied research project: What are the benefits to Ohio public safety departments for utilizing local fusion centers? Specific recommendations for public safety departments to utilize fusion centers are noted in the recommendation section of this applied research project.

Introduction

Fusion Centers are state-owned and operated centers that serve as focal points in states and major urban areas for the receipt, analysis, gathering and sharing of threat-related information between state, local, tribal and territorial, federal and private sector partners (Homeland Security Fusion, 2019). They are actual physical locations that house equipment and staff from multiple local and federal agencies that analyze and share intelligence. There are 78 recognized fusion centers that are listed on the Department of Homeland Security website with three being located in Ohio.

The purpose of this applied research project is to describe the benefits that Ohio public safety departments gain from utilizing local fusion centers. The following research question will be addressed using the descriptive research method: What are the benefits to Ohio public safety departments for utilizing local fusion centers?

Background and Significance

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, many states and major urban areas established fusion centers to improve the sharing of information between state, local, tribal, territorial, and federal government agencies and the private sector. The National Network of Fusion Centers (National Network or NNFC) was the outcome from these state and locally owned and operated fusion centers. “The function of the National Network is to collaborate across jurisdictions and sectors to effectively and efficiently detect, prevent, investigate, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity” (National Strategy Introduction and Overview, 2014).

The National Network of Fusion Centers foundation of informational sharing is traced back to The 9/11 Commission Report, which states “information should be shared horizontally, across new networks that transcend individual agencies,” and the 2003 National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan (NCISP). The NCISP is the blueprint that improved the sharing of information and criminal intelligence nationally. The focus on information sharing and joining state, local, and tribal entities was then further addressed in the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA). The IRTPA called for the creation of the Information Sharing Environment (ISE) (National Strategy History, 2014).

Fusion centers contribute to the Information Sharing Environment (ISE) through their role in receiving threat information from the federal government; analyzing that information in the context of their local communities; supplying that information to local agencies; and gathering tips, leads, and suspicious activity reporting (SAR) from local agencies and the public. Fusion centers receive information from a variety of sources, including SAR from stakeholders within their jurisdictions, as well as federal information and intelligence. Fusion centers analyze the information and develop products to distribute to their communities. These products assist homeland security partners at all levels of government to identify and address immediate and emerging threats (Homeland Security Fact Sheet, 2019).

There are 78 recognized fusion centers with three being in Ohio. The primary fusion center located in Columbus is the Ohio Statewide Terrorism Analysis & Crime Center. The other two fusion centers are federally recognized and are the Greater Cincinnati Fusion Center located in Cincinnati, and the Northeast Ohio Regional Fusion Center located in Cleveland. Primary fusion centers provide information sharing and analysis for an entire state. Primary centers are the highest priority for the distribution of federal resources, including the deployment of personnel and connectivity with federal data systems. Recognized centers provide information sharing and analysis for major urban areas (Homeland Security Fusion Center Locations, 2020).

Literature Review

A literature review was conducted to establish an understanding of the benefits to Ohio public safety departments when they choose to utilize local fusion centers.

For public safety departments to see the benefits of utilizing local fusion centers, public safety departments have to build a working relationship with fusion center members. When fusion centers and public safety departments are able to communicate and create a working relationship, they can achieve an all-crimes and all-hazard baseline capability.

Public safety members work in the community and can contribute to community safety by applying a “see something, say something” principal. With this principal, public safety members could potentially inform fusion centers with information that may otherwise have went unreported on suspicious materials and activities, observed criminal acts, or terrorism precursors (Homeland Security & Department of Justice, 2010).

Public safety members have an understanding of their communities’ various types of threats (high populated areas, hazardous material locations and transportation routes), existing infrastructure vulnerabilities within their communities (from conducting building and construction inspections), and the potential consequences that various threats represent. This perspective adds an important dimension to all-hazard risk assessments, preparedness activities, and mitigation operations (Homeland Security & Department of Justice, 2010).

Through the working relationship of public safety members and fusion centers, a strong information and intelligence sharing relationship can improve public safety department’s measures in prevention, protection, response, recovery, and safety. Per the Firehouse article, DHS Wants Fire Service to Join Fusion Centers, listed below are improvements that can build from a working relationship between public safety and fusion centers:

  • Fire service personnel can contribute to the identification and reporting of threats that may lead to accidental, criminal, or terrorist incidents and can serve as an information and analytical resource for the production of intelligence to support incident prevention efforts
  • Fire service personnel can provide a valuable perspective to the identification and reporting of critical infrastructure and key resource vulnerabilities and the identification of potential consequences of threats exploiting those vulnerabilities.
  •  Fire service personnel can contribute to, receive, and share information and intelligence to support the effective response operations of all emergency service providers.
  • Fire service personnel can contribute to, receive, and share information and intelligence to support the continuity of government and reconstitution of critical infrastructure operations.
  • Fire service personnel can contribute to and receive information and intelligence on terrorism techniques, target hazards, and natural disaster trends, to enhance situational awareness and proactive measures for protecting the health and safety of all emergency responders (2010).

Ohio public safety departments can improve, become safer, and more prepared by strengthening the relationship with their members and fusion centers. Ohio is one state out of 12 that has multiple fusion centers. This gives Ohio public safety departments an edge because the fusion centers in their specific region will be better educated and informed of potential threats in their area.

 

Results

 The descriptive research method was used in this applied reach project to answer the following question: What are the benefits to Ohio public safety departments for utilizing local fusion centers? This question was looked at in the literature review section of this applied research project. The literature review found Ohio public safety departments can benefit in the aspects of prevention, protection, response, recovery, and safety when working with fusion centers. By building a working relationship and being able to communicate, local agencies will be better informed of potential threats and become better prepared for threats of their communities. By being able to be more informed and prepared public safety department members become safer and the communities they serve become safer.

Discussion

The benefits that Ohio public safety departments can gain from working with local fusion centers is astronomical to the safety of public safety and community members. By creating a working relationship and having continuous communication of threats within a community, public safety members can prepare, train, and prevent future threats. Per the Fire Service Integration for Fusion Centers, “timely and actionable information and intelligence concerning threats, vulnerabilities, and other potential hazards are imperative to provide situational awareness to all emergency services personnel. Information and intelligence generated by the fusion center and disseminated to fire service and other emergency services constituents can help guide their preparedness activities (planning, training, staging, etc.), as well as enhance responder safety during response and recovery operations” (2010).

Any time a department within public safety can gain more information to prepare or prevent an incident, and train their members is a success. To gain information from local fusion centers, agencies need to start the communication cycle. Ohio public safety departments can build their networks and working relationships by utilizing local fusion centers. The three fusion centers located in Ohio consist of multiple agencies such as: Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, Columbus Division of Fire, Columbus Division of Police, Cleveland Police, Cuyahoga County Security and Research, Ohio National Guard, State Highway Patrol, Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice. In the chance of a major incident where public safety departments have utilized fusion centers, the relationships with these agencies are already established and communications have begun before the incident started; giving all agencies a head start to decrease damages and causalities. The benefits of having these relationships and communication established is substantial.

 

Recommendation

The purpose of this applied research project was to describe the benefits that Ohio public safety departments gain from utilizing local fusion centers. The descriptive research method was chosen to describe the benefits and a literature review was conducted. At the conclusion of this applied research project, the researcher believes it is in all public safety departments interest to become involved in fusion centers and build a working relationship with the agencies involved in local fusion centers. Public safety departments can create a Fusion/Terrorism/Intelligence Liaison Officer (FLOs/ TLOs/ILOs) position to provide information directly to fusion centers and to facilitate vital information sharing between departments and fusion centers (Homeland Security & Department of Justice, 2010). The creation of this position within a department creates a set person that builds the relationship and communication between different agencies. This position can be a fulltime position for bigger departments, or it can be a specific person or team on a department that fulfills the position’s duties to create the relationships and communication needed. However a department goes about utilizing a fusion center, the researcher believes it is obvious that fusion centers should be utilized and utilizing fusion centers makes Ohio’s public safety departments safer, more progressive, better prepared, and more knowledgeable in possible threats in their communities.

 

References

2014-2017 National Strategy for the National Network of Fusion Centers. (2014, July). Introduction and Overview. 

2014-2017 National Strategy for the National Network of Fusion Centers. (2014, July). The History of the National Network. 

Homeland Security & Department of Justice. (2010). Fire Service Integration for Fusion Centers. 

Homeland Security. (2019, August 16). National Network of Fusion Centers Fact Sheet.  

Homeland Security. (2019, September 19). Fusion Centers. 

Homeland Security. (2020, October 27). Fusion Center Locations and Contact Information. 

Nicol, Susan. (2010, April 30). DHS Wants Fire Service to Join Fusion Centers. Firehouse. 

2020

Leadership and Mentorship At Deerfield Township Fire Rescue

Adam Farwick

University of Cincinnati

FST 3085-Political and Legal Foundations

October 2020

 

CERTIFICATION STATEMENT

I hereby certify that the following statements are true:

I certify that this paper is my own work, based on my personal study and research and that I have acknowledged all material and sources used in its preparation, whether they be books, articles, reports, and any other kind of document, electronic or personal communication.

Signed:            Adam Farwick              

          Date:             10th, October 2020                     

 

Abstract

It has been said before that you are only as good as your weakest member, be that in the corporate world on in the fire service. Fundamentals of the fire service can be taught, built upon, trained on several times and most people become proficient in the job. While mentorship and leadership qualities cannot be measured, they do play a huge role in the success of the fire service. The next generation of firefighters should be able to effortlessly fill the ranks of their predecessors and continue the success of an organization, or even improve the organization.  For this reason, it is essential to develop standards of mentorships and leadership training.

The problem is that Deerfield Township Fire Rescue does not have standard mentorship programs and does not require leadership training for its members. This could leave the department vulnerable to a lull in important leadership roles, if someone is unexpectedly unable to continue their duties. The purpose of this research was to identify what steps DTFR should take to develop and standardize the mentorship style it currently uses and determine if it is beneficial for its members to have leadership training.

Descriptive research was utilized to complete this research. Questionnaires and literature review will help to contrive data that can be analyzed to determine what steps should be taken to maximize mentorship and what leadership training they should require, if any. The following three questions were posed to direct the research:

1.      What is leadership? Can it be taught and is it important?

2.      Why is mentorship important and who can benefit from it?

3.      Should the department require leadership training for its officers?

 

Introduction

The success of any organization depends on the individuals for which the organization is constructed. In order to have success an organization must have its leaders and followers. Throughout the process of working together individuals will naturally create relationships and some will result in mentorship or some kind. This creates importance for mentorship and development of an organization’s leadership team. The fire service is such an organization that will most certainly benefit from these key ideas, given the nature of the work.

The problem is that Deerfield Township Fire Rescue does not currently have programs or training pertaining to mentorship or leadership. The purpose of this research was to identify what steps DTFR should take to develop a mentorship program, and what leadership training could benefit the organization.  Descriptive research will be utilized to complete this research. Literature review as well as a survey will help to collect data that can be analyzed to determine what steps should be taken to develop such programs.

The questions that will be answered by this research paper are (A) What is leadership? Can it be taught and is it important? (B)Why is mentorship important and who can benefit from it? And (C) Should the department require leadership training for its officers?

 

Background and Significance

Deerfield Township is in Warren County Ohio, twenty miles north of Cincinnati, Ohio. From the last consensus in 2017, Deerfield Township has 39,188 residence spread over 16.1 sq./miles in 14,355 households (U.S. Census Bureau , 2018). Deerfield Township consists of mostly residential housing and neighborhoods but has a significant number of hotels, office buildings and commercial buildings. Deerfield Township borders several similar communities such as Mason, Loveland and Hamilton Township. 

Since 1998, Deerfield Township Fire Rescue has grown into a progressive department.  DTFR is a career department that currently has 42 full-time employees and approximately 50 part-time employees. DTFR is also in the process of hiring 6 additional full-time employees and promoting 2 to Lieutenant and 1 to Captain. The department operates on a three-unit-day rotation, 24 hours on-duty and 48 hours off-duty. With the additional positions the full-time staff includes 33 Firefighter/medics, 8 Lieutenants and 4 Captains who follow the 24/48-hour rotations. This department also includes the Fire Chief, three Battalion Chiefs, and a 40-hour Lieutenant and Captain. DTFR offers many services to the community and is truly an all hazards fire department. These services include, emergency medical services, fire suppression, hazardous material mitigation, technical rescue(s), public relations, fire prevention and life safety inspections to name a few. DTFR made 4642 total calls in 2019 of that number 3166 were EMS calls (FRMS ND).

Below are the requirements for Deerfield Township Fire Rescue promotions by rank

    Lieutenant

            o   Five years’ experience as full-time Firefighter and EMS provider

            o   75% competition of Associates degree in Fire Service-related course field

    Captain

            o   Five years’ experience as full-time Firefighter and EMS provider

            o   Three years’ experience as full-time Lieutenant (or above rank)

            o   75% competition of Associates degree in Fire Service-related course field

            o   Bachelor’s degree preferred

    Battalion

            o   Bachelor’s degree in Fire Service-related course field

            o   Master’s degree in Fire Service-related course field

            o   Five Years of full-time supervisory experience at the rank of Captain and ten years’                  experience as full-time Firefighter and EMS provider

            o   Must complete the Executive Fire Officers Program or another approved Executive                 Leadership Program within the first fire years of employment

    Chief

            o   Master’s degree in Fire Service-related course field

            o   Five Years of full-time supervisory experience at the rank of Battalion and fifteen                 years’ experience as full-time Firefighter and EMS provider

            o   Graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program

            o   Chief Fire Officer Credentialing obtained by the Center for Public Safety Excellence

              (Deerfield Township Fire Rescue, 2018)

No further requirements are necessary to obtain promotion at DTFR, however, part of the promotional process does include evaluation of one’s resume. To boost a resume, individuals seek further outside training to include the Fire Officer series, additional rescue tech certifications, fire and ems instructor etc. Since these positions have historically been chosen from the current employees of the department, you would imagine there would be steps, guiding those seeking promotion, to be able to follow for the best outcome and qualified candidate to obtain the promotion. DTFR does offer certain professional development tools that employees can take advantage of, however, there is no mentorship program or leadership trainings offered to gain the knowledge and skills needed for the position. There is a minimum standard for promotion, but it is up the individuals seeking promotion to work on standing out by building their resume, without direction from the department. The current processes do not assure consistency in quality of those promoted and appears to weigh more on results of a process and testing scores versus key personality traits carried by the individual.

Since there is no mentorship program or leadership training, concerning the supervisory roles of Lieutenant through the position of Captain, promotions within DTFR have been inconsistent. This has been proven with past demotions of officers in the department. The finding within this applied research paper could have profound effects within DTFR. Creating urgency in developing a mentorship program that will provide mentoring a framework for future leadership of this department while also elevating the level and consistency within the ranks of this department. Furthermore, it may be beneficial to include additional factors for choosing future leaders such as the intangible personal attributes and strengths.

 

Literature Review

Literature review was done to discover the importance of mentorship as it relates to the fire service. It was also used to identify what qualities make a good leader, and if leadership training is relevant to the needs of Deerfield Township Fire Rescue. According to (Reh, 2019) “mentoring consists of a long-term relationship focused on supporting the growth and development of the mentee.” Reh (2019) defines the mentor as” a source of wisdom, teaching, and support, but not someone who observes and advises on specific actions or behavioral changes in daily work.”

Kruse (2013) explains what leadership looks like, stating leadership stems from social influence and requires others, with no mention of personality traits or titles. He also states that leadership includes a goal but not influence with no intended outcome. Kruse ties all this together in one sentence:

 “Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, toward the achievement of a goal” (Kruse, 2013)

Leaders and mentors both have distinctive characteristics and have been categorized based on personality elements and approach. Each style of mentoring and leadership have been described and interpreted in different ways. Moreover, mentorship is similar to coaching, and leadership is closely related to management. However, there are key difference between these items.

Pinksy (2017) explains that “leaders are models for fair and ethical behavior, while managers are models for efficiency, achievement, and prosperity.” He divides the two by saying that good managers do not need to be charismatic or rally the troops, but that leaders can rally others in times of need while not necessarily defining purpose or monitor progress. Pinksy (2017) concludes that “management skills can be taught and learned through formal education and experience” … while… “leadership is generally learned through modeling behavior of another and challenging one’s own ideas.”

 Boogaard (n.d.) describes 8 leadership styles and places them into these categories: Transactional Leadership, Transformational Leadership Servant Leadership, Democratic Leadership, Autocratic Leadership, Bureaucratic Leadership, Laissez-Faire Leadership and Charismatic Leadership. Each have their own characteristics including both pros and cons. A few examples of this would be “transactional leaders dish out instructions to their team members and then use different rewards and penalties to either recognize or punish what they do in response” (Boogaard, n.d.). The pro to this type of leadership can be the elimination of confusion because tasks and expectations are clearly established by the leader, while a con to this style is it can create a stiff environment and creativity may be impeded. The style most common in the fire service might fall under the Servant Leadership style. Boogaard (n.d.) describes these types of leader as one whom “focus on elevating and developing the people who follow them.” The pros of this style are that “this approach boosts morale and leads to a high level of trust, which results in better employee performance and a more positive company culture overall”….while the cons are suggested to be “challenging” because of  “constantly pushing your own needs and priorities to the backburner isn’t something that comes as second nature for most of us”(Boogar, n.d.)

Mentors also have their own unique qualities and style. Rashid (2017) describes just three of the more common type below:

The Challenger- who asks questions about why your comfort zone is the way it is, until it no longer exists.

The Cheerleader- who relentlessly boosts your self-esteem and confidence until you feel brave enough to stop over your own boundaries.

The Coach- who is a wizen veteran providing the knowledge you need to innovate - or overcome the same adversity they did.                                             

            (Rashid, 2017)

Mentoring can sometimes be confused with coaching and they do have similarities. “Mentoring consists of a long-term relationship focused on supporting the growth and development of the mentee. The mentor becomes a source of wisdom, teaching, and support, but not someone who observes and advises on specific actions or behavioral changes in daily work” (Reh, 2019). Coaching, on the other hand usually has a duration of time and are not infinite. Mentorship, as mentioned above, usually last a lifetime. “Coaches help professionals correct behaviors that detract from their performance or strengthen those that support stronger performance around a given set of activities (2019).

 

Procedures

Several procedures and resources were used during this research. The procedures included a ten-question survey that was sent to 31 individuals consisting of fire service professionals and a few business professionals. Review of current policies and procedures within Deerfield Township Fire Rescue was also utilized as well as interviews and data retrieved from reputable online sources, books, and journals.

The primary data was collected through a survey. The results have been included in Appendix A. The respondents completed an online survey which asked the following questions:

1.      Does your department provide leadership training?

2.      Does you department have a mentorship program?

3.      Are mentorship programs important?

4.      Why or why not?

5.      Is leadership training necessary? Why or why not?

6.      Do you have a mentor?

7.      How have they influenced you?

8.      Name three qualities of a good leader.

9.      What leadership book or training would you recommend?

10.  In your opinion, does your department hire on basis of true leadership qualities or experience and time on the job? Explain.

Follow-up interviews were obtained to gather deeper opinions and facts of some of the respondents of the survey. This was done to collect more detailed knowledge pertaining to those departments that have experience in using mentorship programs first-hand, and to gain the opinion of individuals who have experience in leadership training. Additional data was retrieved through trusted internet source to demonstrate the importance of the topic.

The limitations of the survey included the inability to engage in dialog with the correspondents, and diversification of participants (i.e. most correspondents were from fire departments). Also, the period for a response was brief, which limited the number of responses received. The limitations of the descriptive research included limited data pertaining to mentorship programs for departments of the likeness of DTFR. Many departments, similar in size, run volume and employees do not have information that discusses such procedures; or they simply do not exist. Gathering data showing the development, procedures and assumed benefits of mentorship programs and leadership training was able to be retrieved through research.

 

Results

A survey conducted, using surveymonkey.com, was sent to 31 individuals, mostly fire service professions from line firefighter up to Fire Captain, 3 were sent to business professionals, and only 11 submitted the survey. Of the correspondents all 11 answered “Yes” to question 5; Is leadership training necessary? Why or why not? On the other hand, 2 of the 11 questioned answered that a mentorship program is not important, with one skipping the question entirely.

Of those surveyed 55% answered their organization has leadership programs and 45% did not, while mentorship programs were the opposite with 45% having one and 55% not having one. The majority of individuals gave examples of leadership books they recommend. The last question about their organizations promotional process gave mixed answers; see examples below:      

“Each promotion has differed, and I have seen a combination of both. Sometimes individuals were promoted because it was more important to those choosing on “who not to promote”. Other times proper individuals were chooses based on proper qualities.”       (See Appendix A)

“Qualities matter more than time on job. Just because someone is around doesn't make them a good leader.” (See Appendix A)

“No They hire their buddies” (See Appendix A)

 

Discussion

The purpose of this study is to identify the principles and importance of leadership and mentorship for Deerfield Township Fire Rescue. My literature review was structured to understand what leadership training and mentorship is, what advantages are associated with each and finally identifying the best approach for utilizing these principals for the benefit of my own organization.

Through my literature review, the undeniable opinion would suggest that leadership training and mentorship is important for the performance and success of an organization. Craig (2018) speaks to both in a Forbes article by explaining that leadership changes in an organization and every leader influences the changing work culture. He continues by saying this change can go from good to bad or from bad to worse and that leaders must honor those who came before if the organization runs well. He concludes by sharing that change is inevitable and that the employees and leaders all play a part.

The survey helped to understand the opinions of local fire service professionals, as well as some professionals not in the fire service. All the respondents agreed that leadership training is important to their organization, while two of the respondents answered that a mentorship program is not. Utilizing the results of the survey, I found that follow-up questioning was needed, partly because of the lack of responses but also some skipped questions and further clarification. Brown (2020) skipped the question pertaining to the importance of a mentorship program. Follow-up interview revealed his thoughts with his statement “I don’t feel mentorship programs can be forced upon someone, this type of relationship grows over time and you don’t necessarily choose a mentor. It just happens” (Brown, 2020). He further states “if you are going to have a mentorship program, its not truly a mentorship but I understand the reasoning behind them with training new personnel, but call it something else”

Traditional, in the fire service, there is a pecking order. The more time you have on the job, the more seniority you have and the more friends you make seems to dictate how far you can go within an organization. This is not always the case, and no facts will be discovered to confirm this. For Deerfield Township Fire Rescue, the pool of candidates are individuals that have worked for the department for several years, a seniority list would have been established since the beginning of the department , and testing occurs to rank the testing member. Interviews and several other assessments are then completed. In the end of the process, the candidate who scores highest throughout the process is typically the individual who promotes. This is not always the case. Favoritism for certain individuals can occur, and the process weighs heavily on the last interview. A candidate may have all the necessary requirements but may lack the leadership skills to succeed. They may also lack the personality traits that demonstrate excellence or even lack motivation to better themselves and their organization. This cannot be determined by having seniority on a department or having more time on the job than others. Leadership development programs, mentorship, on duty experiences and personality traits should be a consideration when determining the quality of candidates.

Through research it was discovered that DTFR does implement a lot of mentorship type programs, when it comes to the hiring of new personnel. Using the more senior individuals on the department, the new hires are paired with someone who is to lead their new employee packet. This packet is used to assess an individual’s knowledge and teach them how DTFR operates. In a way this is mentorship, but as described above this is more a long the lines of coaching. If that relationship grows into an actual mentorship between the two parties is solely up to the relationship that is developed between them.

It was also learned that individuals may possess different leadership qualities. This can dictate the success of the “new hire” packet. If someone does not possess good leadership qualities, it may show in the performance of the newly hired individual. Having a leadership program that can qualify individuals, based on their personal attributes may be the best for determining who should be placed as a new hires’ “mentor”. This would provide consistency in training and assure the departments best interests are being met.

 

Recommendations

This research paper has allowed me to recognize the differences between mentorship and leadership. Through research of the topic, I also discovered the difference between mentoring and coaching, as well as leadership and management. Both concepts are important to any organization, for the success of the organization. This leaves me to conclude that Deerfield Township Fire Rescue would benefit from more leadership development programs. It also leads me to believe that individuals of the department should take it upon themselves to seek mentorship and build a relationship with someone who can help in their own personal development.

The survey conducted affirms the importance of both topics, not just for the fire service but for any organization. I also learned that you cannot force someone to act as a mentor, nor can you force personality traits that create sound leadership qualities. What you can do is offer classes that allow individuals to develop their qualities and understand what true leadership is. While I believe the best avenue for the success of DTFR would be to develop leadership programs and encourage mentorship, it could be difficult to force these upon its members.

The recommendations for Deerfield Township Fire Rescue, as it relates to leadership programs is as follows:

    1.      Evaluate the leadership qualities of individuals on the department and seek those and develop those individuals to accomplish the goals of the department.

    2.      Educate and develop the current officers within the department to have a greater capacity to act as mentors.

    3.      Require training for new officers that will assist them in develop their leadership and management styles to optimize the success of the department.

 

Reference

Boogaard, K. 8 Common Leadership Styles (and How to Find Yours). Retrieved 9 October 2020,  from https://www.themuse.com/advice/common-leadership-styles-with-pros-and-cons   

Brown, S (2020). Mentorship and Leadership in the Fire Service [In person interview].    

Craig, W. (2018). The Role Leadership Has In Company Culture. Retrieved 9 October 2020,  from https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamcraig/2018/09/05/the-role-leadership-has-in-company-culture/#1fc8b47e16b6

Kruse, K. (2013). What Is Leadership?. Retrieved 7 October 2020, from  https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2013/04/09/what-is-leadership/#124f30495b90

Deerfield Township Fire Rescue. (2018). Deerfield Township Fire Rescue Department Job Description.

FRMS, Fire Records Management System. (ND). [2019 DTFR FIRE/EMS run totals]. Unpublished raw data.

Pinsky, B. (2017). Management Vs. Leadership - Fire Rescue Magazine. Retrieved 8 October      2020, from https://firerescuemagazine.firefighternation.com/2017/11/02/management-vs-leadership/#gref

Rashid, B. (2017). 3 Reasons All Great Leaders Have Mentors (And Mentees). Retrieved 8 October 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianrashid/2017/05/02/3-reasons-all-great-leaders-have-mentors-and-mentees/#e71c9b513f9d

 Reh, J. (2019). This Is How a Great Mentor Could Boost Your Career and Life. Retrieved 7  October 2020, from https://www.thebalancecareers.com/a-guide-to-understanding-the-role-of-a-mentor-2275318

U.S. Census Bureau (2018). American Community Survey 5-year estimates. Retrieved from Census Reporter Profile page for Deerfield Township, Warren County, OH http://censusreporter.org/profiles/06000US3916521238-deerfield-township-warren-county-oh/

 

Appendix A

Leadership and Mentorship Survey

Respondent 1

Q1

Does your department provide leadership training?

  • Yes

Q2

Does you department have a mentorship program?

  • Yes

Q3

Are mentorship programs important?

  • Yes

Q4

Why or why not?

It provides for better officers and validates and supports succession planning

Q5

Is leadership training necessary? Why or why not?

Yes It’s secures the future of the org and makes seem less transition if someone is off or worse leaves

Q6

Do you have a mentor?

  • Yes

Q7

How have they influenced you?

Developed me for the next promotion

Q8

Name three qualities of a good leader.

Empathetic, steadfast, life long learner

Q9

What leadership book or training would you recommend?

All of them

Q10

In your opinion, does you department hire on basis of true leadership qualities or experience and time on the job? Explain.

No They hire their buddies

 

Respondent 2

Q1

Does your department provide leadership training?

  • Yes

Q2

Does you department have a mentorship program?

  • Yes

Q3

Are mentorship programs important?

  • Yes

Q4

Why or why not?

They are needed for the growth of the department. We should be training the future folks to take over our positions.

Q5

Is leadership training necessary? Why or why not?

Yes, with a small department it is imperative our folks below us are ready to step up. A simple vacation or sick day can cause someone to move up and they need to be prepared as we are unable to schedule emergencies.

Q6

Do you have a mentor?

  • Yes

Q7

How have they influenced you?

My mentors have influenced my career. They have taught me almost all I know and have lead me into a great path. They were always right beside me when teaching also.

Q8

Name three qualities of a good leader.

Consistent Respectable Fair

Q9

What leadership book or training would you recommend?

Unable to at this time. On the job training from great leaders has been the best for me.

Q10

In your opinion, does you department hire on basis of true leadership qualities or experience and time on the job? Explain.

We hire the best fire/medic that applies. We have one interview and that’s it. If it comes down to it, I would say experience and time on the job.

 

Respondent 3

Q1

Does your department provide leadership training?

  • No

Q2

Does you department have a mentorship program?

  • No

Q3

Are mentorship programs important?

Respondent skipped this question

Q4

Why or why not?

That’s a good question

Q5

Is leadership training necessary? Why or why not?

Absolutely

Q6

Do you have a mentor?

  • Yes

Q7

How have they influenced you?

Decision making, critical thinking, ability to look at the bigger picture

Q8

Name three qualities of a good leader.

Calm, Assertive as needed, Open minded as needed, Ability to take criticism

Q9

What leadership book or training would you recommend?

Extreme Ownership

Q10

In your opinion, does you department hire on basis of true leadership qualities or experience and time on the job? Explain.

Civil service

Respondent 4

Q1

Does your department provide leadership training?

  • Yes

Q2

Does you department have a mentorship program?

  • Yes

Q3

Are mentorship programs important?

  • Yes

Q4

Why or why not?

Seeing what career is like further down gives staying power for things being tough early

Q5

Is leadership training necessary? Why or why not?

Yes. Leaders need to constantly be on the forefront. If a leader isn't leaning and getting better no one else is either. Plus top performance comes from the top, why wouldn't you invest in your leaders?

Q6

Do you have a mentor?

  • Yes

Q7

How have they influenced you?

Foundational thought, friendship, and a sounding board

Q8

Name three qualities of a good leader.

Mental toughness, integrity, desire to improve

Q9

What leadership book or training would you recommend?

Any book by Jason Selk

Q10

In your opinion, does you department hire on basis of true leadership qualities or experience and time on the job? Explain.

Qualities matter more than time on job. Just because someone is around doesn't make them a good leader

 

 

Respondent 5

Q1

Does your department provide leadership training?

  • No

Q2

Does you department have a mentorship program?

  • Yes

Q3

Are mentorship programs important?

  • Yes

Q4

Why or why not?

  • Provide new employees with knowledge on the department and how things are done.

Q5

Is leadership training necessary? Why or why not?

  • Yes, education to the future of the department

Q6

Do you have a mentor?

  • Yes

Q7

How have they influenced you?

  • Yes

Q8

Name three qualities of a good leader.

  • Decisive, confident, honest

Q9

What leadership book or training would you recommend?

  • You tell me

Q10

In your opinion, does you department hire on basis of true leadership qualities or experience and time on the job? Explain.

  • Combination

 

Respondent 6

Q1

Does your department provide leadership training?

  • No

Q2

Does you department have a mentorship program?

  • No

Q3

Are mentorship programs important?

  • Yes

Q4

Why or why not?

  • Gives opportunities to watch and help employees grow. Shows that the department cares about the employee and their future.

Q5

Is leadership training necessary? Why or why not?

Yes. Giving advice and growth to employees. Shows you have a vested interest in them

Q6

Do you have a mentor?

  • No

Q7

How have they influenced you?

Respondent skipped this question

Q8

Name three qualities of a good leader.

Puts others first Develops their people Cares for their people

Q9

What leadership book or training would you recommend?

It’s your ship

Q10

In your opinion, does you department hire on basis of true leadership qualities or experience and time on the job? Explain.

No. Qualifications and passing a test

 

Respondent 7

Q1

Does your department provide leadership training?

  • Yes

Q2

Does you department have a mentorship program?

  • Yes

Q3

Are mentorship programs important?

  • Yes

Q4

Why or why not?

Basic instruction on how to run day to day operations.

Q5

Is leadership training necessary? Why or why not?

Yes. It is impurities for senior leadership to pass knowledge down to subordinates.

Q6

Do you have a mentor?

  • Yes

Q7

How have they influenced you?

Showing what tasks to complete as a supervisor that may not be in S. O. P’s

Q8

Name three qualities of a good leader.

Servant leader, crews integrity first priority, ability to build into crew members.

Q9

What leadership book or training would you recommend?

“Extreme Ownership” by Joko Wilink

Q10

In your opinion, does you department hire on basis of true leadership qualities or experience and time on the job? Explain.

Yes. This is mandatory to qualify for leadership positions.

 

Respondent 8

Q1

Does your department provide leadership training?

  • No

Q2

Does you department have a mentorship program?

  • No

Q3

Are mentorship programs important?

  • Yes

Q4

Why or why not?

Offers the opportunity to share valuable job experience and knowledge with others. Information that cannot be learned from a book and is learned through practical experiences. These can be incident related experiences or leadership based experiences.

Q5

Is leadership training necessary? Why or why not?

Yes. Understanding how a leader functions is imperative to the success of a Fire Department. Not only is leadership training imperative, applying what is learned is just as if not more important. Many times lower level leaders such as company officers are sent to learn vast leadership knowledge, only to be shamed in what was learned because Chief Officers do not practice learned methods.

Q6

Do you have a mentor?

  • No

Q7

How have they influenced you?

N/A

Q8

Name three qualities of a good leader.

Integrity. Trust. Flexibility.

Q9

What leadership book or training would you recommend?

Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Leadership Laws is a personal level read that is practical and allows for building leadership traits for a self motivated leader. NFA EFO programs offers structured leadership training as well as the Ohio OFE, however, less intense than the NFA program.

Q10

In your opinion, does you department hire on basis of true leadership qualities or experience and time on the job? Explain.

Each promotion has differed and I have seen a combination of both. Sometimes individuals were promoted because it was more important to those choosing on “who not to promote”. Other times proper individuals were chooses based on proper qualities.

 

Respondent 9

Q1

Does your department provide leadership training?

  • Yes

Q2

Does you department have a mentorship program?

  • No

Q3

Are mentorship programs important?

  • Yes

Q4

Why or why not?

They give guidance to the new and younger generation while engaging the veterans

Q5

Is leadership training necessary? Why or why not?

Yes, We as a service need to lay the foundation for the younger generation and leadership training does this. These new hires will be the future bosses of our departments and we need to provide them with good leadership skills to help them succeed.

Q6

Do you have a mentor?

  • No

Q7

How have they influenced you?

Respondent skipped this question

Q8

Name three qualities of a good leader.

Strong/Good communication, humility, Integrity

Q9

What leadership book or training would you recommend?

Step up and Lead, Its Your Ship, Pride and Ownership, Maxwells 21 Laws of Leadership

Q10

In your opinion, does you department hire on basis of true leadership qualities or experience and time on the job? Explain.

No, we look for qualities in people that have potential to be good leaders, but finding a seasoned leader in the fire service for the positions we are hiring is far and few between. Most of our new hires are right out of school, high school fire program or adult fire program.

 

Respondent 10

Q1

Does your department provide leadership training?

  • Yes

Q2

Does you department have a mentorship program?

  • No

Q3

Are mentorship programs important?

  • No

Q4

Why or why not?

Non existent

Q5

Is leadership training necessary? Why or why not?

Always. A company should be made of leaders.

Q6

Do you have a mentor?

  • No

Q7

How have they influenced you?

N/A

Q8

Name three qualities of a good leader.

Decisiveness, communication, vision

Q9

What leadership book or training would you recommend?

N/A

Q10

In your opinion, does you department hire on basis of true leadership qualities or experience and time on the job? Explain.

Experience and time from what I've seen.

 

Respondent 11

Q1

Does your department provide leadership training?

  • No

Q2

Does you department have a mentorship program?

  • No

Q3

Are mentorship programs important?

  • No

Q4

Why or why not?

N/a

Q5

Is leadership training necessary? Why or why not?

Absolutely. It is part of the professional development process.

Q6

Do you have a mentor?

  • No

Q7

How have they influenced you?

N/a

Q8

Name three qualities of a good leader.

Strong morals Positive attitude Willingness to lead

Q9

What leadership book or training would you recommend?

Extreme ownership Shut up and lead Ask why

Q10

In your opinion, does you department hire on basis of true leadership qualities or experience and time on the job? Explain.

Experience/seniority

 

2019

2018

2017

2016

  • Chief Officer Challenges and Opportunities
  • Performance Improvement Strategy
  • Terrorism Response in Mercer County
  • The Lone Wolf Terrorist

2015

  • Community Paramedicine
  • Small Town Terror Attack
  • Which Smoke Alarm Technology is Recommended

2014

  • Applying the UL Ventilation Study to Modern Firefighting Strategies
  • Community and Paramedicine
  • Proper Drug Security for the Fairborn FD

2013

  • Is Community Paramedicine Feasible for a Public Fire Department?
  • Joint Terrorism Task Force Teams
  • What Happens When Technology Meets Public Safety?

2012

  • Economic Incentives of Residential Sprinklers for Homeowners
  • Improving EMS and Fire Services
  • Theatre Fires
  • Time to Evacuate
  • Petroleum Terminal Vulnerability
  • Prevalence of Off-Duty Smoking Prohibition Policies Among Wisconsin Career Fire Departments

2011

  • The Disaster Next Door
  • Fire Based EMS
  • Improving Public Education in Ontario
  • Post Osama bin Laden World—What Does it Really Mean?
  • Residential Fire Sprinklers
  • Social Media & Internet Usage

2010

  • Arson: A Growing Problem
  • The Charleston Sofa Super Store Tragedy
  • Cost and Benefit Considerations of a Residential Sprinkler Ordinance in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
  • Preparedness for Uncertain Conditions
  • Regionalism for the Fire Service in Cuyahoga County Ohio

2009

  • NIOSH Investigations; What happens after the fact?
  • Firefighter Fitness & Program Implementation
  • The Use of Polygraph in the Fire Service

2008

  • Analytical Approaches to Public Fire Protection
  • Independent Medical Exams of Recruits and Current Firefighters Before Training
  • Is Overtime Creating Dangers for Firefighters and the Public?
  • Managing Our Risk at Fires
  • The Station Nightclub Fire
  • Managing Our Risk at Fires

2007

  • Crossing the Line: Providing Emergency Services in Indiana
  • Firefighter Safety and the Modern Vehicle
  • Fire Fighter Safety During Extreme Hot Weather
  • Improved Prevention of Firefighter Cancer
  • Legal Liability Issues of Standard Operating Procedures
  • Personal Health & Legal Ramifications
  • Personnel Management For The Fire Service
  • Use of Contacts for Corrective Vision by Firefighters
  • Seat Belt Use (Ariza)
  • Smoking Material Fire Problem Illustrated
  • Roadway Safety for Firefighters
  • Water Rescue for America's Firefighters

2006

  • Ohio Residency
  • Standard Operations Guideline on Electrical Safety

Questions?

Contact us at UCFireScience@uc.edu