Protecting Emergency Responders Volume 2

Protecting Emergency Responders Volume 2: Community Views of Safety and Health Risks and Personal Protection Needs

Tom LaTourrette
D. J. Peterson
James T. Bartis
Brian A. Jackson
Ari Houser
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 174
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mr1646niosh
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Protecting Emergency Responders Volume 2
    Book Description:

    Firefighters, law enforcement officers, and emergency medical service responders play a critical role in protecting people and property in the event of fires, medical emergencies, terrorist acts, and numerous other emergencies. The authors examine the hazards that responders face and the personal protective technology needed to contend with those hazards. The findings are based on in-depth discussions with 190 members of the emergency responder community and are intended to help define the protective technology needs of responders and develop a comprehensive personal protective technology research agenda.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-3603-2
    Subjects: Political Science, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. FOREWORD
    (pp. iii-iv)
    Richard Metzler

    The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is very pleased to have made possible this report conveying community views of health and safety risks and the personal protective needs for emergency responders. These views of occupational hazards and personal protective needs, gathered from emergency responders, will play a central role in NIOSH’s continuing efforts to better protect our nation’s emergency responders though improved technology, education, and training.

    NIOSH is the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related disease and injury. Created by Congress in 1970 with the passage of the Occupational...

  3. PREFACE
    (pp. v-viii)
    Helga Rippen
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. FIGURES
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. TABLES
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. SUMMARY
    (pp. xvii-xxviii)

    Emergency response is an inherently dangerous occupation. Emergency responders face a wide range of serious hazards in their jobs, which places them at high risk for occupational injury or death. This risk is mitigated by their using various forms of personal protective technologies (PPTs), such as protective garments, respiratory protection, environmental monitoring and communications equipment, and practices and protocols that focus on safety.

    This report addresses the safety of emergency responders by examining the hazards and personal protection needs that members of the emergency responder community regard as being the most important. The findings reported here are based on in-depth...

  8. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xxix-xxx)
  9. ACRONYMS
    (pp. xxxi-xxxii)
  10. Chapter One INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-10)

    Every day in the United States, emergency responders answer calls for help and take on jobs that place them in harm’s way. Firefighters, law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics play a critical role in protecting the American public and property in the event of fires, natural disasters, medical emergencies, or actions by terrorists or other criminals. Emergency responders’ responsibilities extend from dealing with small-scale, “everyday” emergencies that may affect only a single individual, family, or business, to responding to large-scale disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or terrorist attacks. Accordingly, it is in the nation’s interest to aid in...

  11. Chapter Two OVERVIEW OF THE EMERGENCY RESPONDER COMMUNITY
    (pp. 11-24)

    The inherent risks and dangers in emergency response set it apart from most other professions. Compared with the average worker, emergency responders are about three times as likely to be injured or killed on their jobs (Clarke and Zak, 1999; Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2002). Compared with protecting workers in hazardous industrial environments, protecting emergency responders is particularly challenging because their working environment is varied and unpredictable, making it more difficult to catalog the risks they face and implement protections for them. The hazards that emergency responders face range from the mundane to the life-threatening and can change suddenly and...

  12. Chapter Three PROTECTING FIREFIGHTERS
    (pp. 25-42)

    When the RAND research team asked fire service representatives what primary occupational hazards and health and safety challenges their ranks faced in the line of duty, we received a wide range of responses. Despite the fact that calls for fires constitute less than 10 percent of service calls, they account for about half of firefighter injuries and fatalities (see Chapter Two), and the majority of hazards and protection needs identified in the discussions centered on the fireground. The principal areas of concern identified by fire service representatives included

    performance of turnout or bunker gear¹

    heat stress while working in bunker...

  13. Chapter Four PROTECTING EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE RESPONDERS
    (pp. 43-50)

    As shown in Chapter Two, the United States has seen a long-term rise in the number of emergency medical calls. Discussion participants expected this trend to continue as health care costs increase and the nation’s population ages. Moreover, as with firefighting responses, participants observed that the complexity of emergency medical incidents is increasing. Given these trends, emergency medical service response personnel pointed out that they are experiencing a concurrent increase in the dangers they confront while lacking the appropriate personal protection to safeguard against those dangers.¹

    Among the concerns voiced by emergency medical service responders during their discussions with RAND,...

  14. Chapter Five PROTECTING LAW ENFORCEMENT RESPONDERS
    (pp. 51-58)

    One conclusion that emerged from our discussions with the emergency responder community is that protecting the health and safety of law enforcement responders may be the most challenging personal protection task within the community.¹ A major part of the challenge stems from the difficulties in characterizing the hazards that law enforcement responders face. These difficulties are compounded by the fact that law enforcement personnel are typically the first on the scene of an emergency or incident, and therefore have the least amount of advance information about the scene’s potential hazards. In addition, the range of hazards that law enforcement responders...

  15. Chapter Six PROTECTING HAZMAT AND ANTI-TERRORISM RESPONDERS
    (pp. 59-68)

    In the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks, protection from hazards associated with terrorism response has become a high priority for the entire emergency responder community. For many of the discussion participants, September 11 provided a graphic example of the wide range of hazards and protection needs associated with terrorism response.

    Most large fire departments that participated in this study expressed confidence in their ability to respond to typical hazardous materials (hazmat) events, such as hazardous cargo spills from trucks involved in highway accidents. In contrast, these same departments were greatly concerned about their ability to respond to large...

  16. Chapter Seven SYSTEMS-LEVEL PROTECTION ISSUES
    (pp. 69-88)

    The previous four chapters focused principally on individual-level protection for personnel in different emergency response organizations who face a range of diverse hazards. In this chapter, we broaden our scope and examine protection issues at the systems level. Systems-level protection refers to protective technologies that operate at the command or unit level and include communications, hazard monitoring and assessment, personnel management, and various “human factors.” The difference between the two levels of analysis may be difficult to define precisely, but the distinction carries some important conceptual implications. In particular, addressing systems-level issues is likely to be more complex and involve...

  17. Chapter Eight PROCUREMENT AND LOGISTICS
    (pp. 89-102)

    A surge in federal funding combined with a perceived heightened vulnerability at the local level since September 11, 2001, is pushing personal protective technology acquisitions into new territory for many communities. Decisions regarding how personal protection technologies are identified, acquired, and used in the field vary significantly among agencies, many study participants noted. Numerous issues and concerns were raised that have implications for PPT research and development needs. This chapter addresses issues surrounding the procurement; certification; and storage, transportation, and maintenance (collectively referred to here as “logistics”) of personal protective technologies.

    Our discussions with participants uncovered some key areas of...

  18. Chapter Nine PUTTING COMMUNITY VIEWS TO WORK
    (pp. 103-124)

    In the preceding chapters, we presented emergency responders’ views of the risks they face in the line of duty and their most critical personal protection needs. As Chapter Two illustrated, the emergency response community is extremely diverse in the size and structure of its organizations, the populations it serves, the tasks it undertakes, and the hazards it encounters. Not surprisingly, the subsequent chapters brought to light important similarities and differences in emergency responders’ views of risks and personal protection needs.

    In this concluding chapter, we gather together these perspectives into a number of findings across broad issue areas, which collectively...

  19. Appendix A DISCUSSION PARTICIPANTS
    (pp. 125-136)
  20. Appendix B DISCUSSION PROTOCOL
    (pp. 137-138)
  21. REFERENCES
    (pp. 139-142)