Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Area of Focus

Social Sciences, Humanities

Abstract

DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS OF INJURIES SUSTAINED BY WILDLAND FIREFIGHTERS

Purchio TJ, Moody VJ, Palmer, CG, Gaskill, SE: The University of Montana

Context: Due to an incredibly dynamic work environment, Wildland Firefighters (WLFFs) find themselves at an increased risk for injury while on the job. In order to decrease the risk of injury amongst WLFFs, a thorough evaluation of equipment, terrain, work shifts, environmental factors, and mechanism of injury is necessary to address the most prominent threats to WLFF safety during physical training and on the fire line. Objective: The purpose of this study is to develop a better understanding of the types of injuries WLFFs sustain during Physical Training (PT) and while out on the fire line, and if there are any discernible trends or patterns that can be addressed through the implementation of a more focused PT program. Design: This study is a web-based cross-sectional survey. Setting: Internet survey of US Forest Service WLFF Participants: Snowball sampling was used to reach WLFFs, including both seasonal and fulltime employees, of the US Forest Service. 360 WLFFs responded to the survey but were not required to answer every question. Respondents included 239 males, 32 females and 2 identified as other. A majority of the participants were between the ages of 35-44 (n=103). 233 were full time WLFFs and a vast majority were on engine crews (n=142). Interventions: The WLFF Injury Survey was developed by the researchers using open and closed ended questions to obtain information on WLFF demographics, crew types, injuries sustained in the past five fire seasons, treatment of injuries, work shifts, and environmental factors such as terrain and region working when injury was sustained. Twelve panelists including WLFF, academic faculty, and athletic trainers reviewed the survey to establish face and content validity and to provide feedback regarding clarity, readability, and completion time. Main Outcome Measures: Quantitative data from the questionnaire was analyzed using Microsoft excel to determine WLFFs demographics, types of injuries sustained and environmental factors potential influence on injuries sustained. Thematic analysis was conducted on the open ended questions where WLFFs could offer further explanation to a closed ended question. Results: Most WLFFs (n=238) sustained at least one injury in the past 5 fire seasons with 91% of those injuries occurring on the fire line on rocky mountainside terrain. Half of the injuries reported were sprains and strains occurring to the lower back, knee and ankle. 68% of injured WLFFs (n= 139) were unable to continue with normal duty as a result of injury. Conclusions: Most of the injuries reported by WLFFs were to the lower extremity and occurred while working on the fire line. In order to reduce the cost of time lost due to injury, further investigation into implementing specific injury prevention strategies in WLFFs is warranted.

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Apr 27th, 1:45 PM Apr 27th, 2:00 PM

Descriptive Analysis of Injuries Sustained by Wildland Firefighters

UC Ballroom, Pod #1

DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS OF INJURIES SUSTAINED BY WILDLAND FIREFIGHTERS

Purchio TJ, Moody VJ, Palmer, CG, Gaskill, SE: The University of Montana

Context: Due to an incredibly dynamic work environment, Wildland Firefighters (WLFFs) find themselves at an increased risk for injury while on the job. In order to decrease the risk of injury amongst WLFFs, a thorough evaluation of equipment, terrain, work shifts, environmental factors, and mechanism of injury is necessary to address the most prominent threats to WLFF safety during physical training and on the fire line. Objective: The purpose of this study is to develop a better understanding of the types of injuries WLFFs sustain during Physical Training (PT) and while out on the fire line, and if there are any discernible trends or patterns that can be addressed through the implementation of a more focused PT program. Design: This study is a web-based cross-sectional survey. Setting: Internet survey of US Forest Service WLFF Participants: Snowball sampling was used to reach WLFFs, including both seasonal and fulltime employees, of the US Forest Service. 360 WLFFs responded to the survey but were not required to answer every question. Respondents included 239 males, 32 females and 2 identified as other. A majority of the participants were between the ages of 35-44 (n=103). 233 were full time WLFFs and a vast majority were on engine crews (n=142). Interventions: The WLFF Injury Survey was developed by the researchers using open and closed ended questions to obtain information on WLFF demographics, crew types, injuries sustained in the past five fire seasons, treatment of injuries, work shifts, and environmental factors such as terrain and region working when injury was sustained. Twelve panelists including WLFF, academic faculty, and athletic trainers reviewed the survey to establish face and content validity and to provide feedback regarding clarity, readability, and completion time. Main Outcome Measures: Quantitative data from the questionnaire was analyzed using Microsoft excel to determine WLFFs demographics, types of injuries sustained and environmental factors potential influence on injuries sustained. Thematic analysis was conducted on the open ended questions where WLFFs could offer further explanation to a closed ended question. Results: Most WLFFs (n=238) sustained at least one injury in the past 5 fire seasons with 91% of those injuries occurring on the fire line on rocky mountainside terrain. Half of the injuries reported were sprains and strains occurring to the lower back, knee and ankle. 68% of injured WLFFs (n= 139) were unable to continue with normal duty as a result of injury. Conclusions: Most of the injuries reported by WLFFs were to the lower extremity and occurred while working on the fire line. In order to reduce the cost of time lost due to injury, further investigation into implementing specific injury prevention strategies in WLFFs is warranted.