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Public Safety Activities

NOTE: This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.

NORA Public Safety Council

Council activities are outlined below. Contact the Sector Coordinator with any questions or comments.

May 2012 – Public Safety Sector Council met at NIOSH headquarters in Washington, DC. This was the first Council meeting for Dr. Maryann D’Alessandro as Program Manager for the Public Safety Sector. NORA overview presentations then specific research agenda theme presentations were given for the four (4) sub-sectors which are identified below.

  • Public Safety Sector Council Mission, Objectives and Activities – NIOSH Public Safety Sector Coordinator
  • NORA Program Objectives and Sector-Based Approach Review and Update – NORA Program Coordinator

Law Enforcement:

  • National Institute of Justice (NIJ) – Law Enforcement line of Duty Injury Study

Emergency Medical Service:

  • NFPA 1917 Standard New Requirements versus GSA Federal Specifications for Star-of-Life Ambulance (KKK-A-1822 E)

Fire Service:

  • National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) National Research Agenda, Fire fighter Life Safety Initiative #7 – Create a National Research Agenda and Data Collection System
  • Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) – Research Project Update
  • Study of Cancer in United States Firefighters – NIOSH
  • Assessing the Cost-Effectiveness of Wellness-Fitness Programs for Fire Fighters – NIOSH


  • Educational Materials on Staph/MRSA for Corrections Workers – NIOSH
  • Customized Job Stress Products for Corrections Officers – NIOSH

February 2011 – Public Safety Sector Council meeting. The meeting followed a new approach by addressing specific themes for the four sub-sectors. The Fire Service theme was “Harmonization with other Fire Fighting Organization.” The Emergency Medical Service (EMS) theme was “Vehicle Safety & Health Standards.” The Corrections theme was “Facility Design Considerations for Safety & Health.” The Law Enforcement theme was “Behavioral Considerations Effecting Safety & Health.” This Public Safety Sector Council discussed the development of the Public Safety fact sheets (law enforcement, fire service, EMS, and corrections).

January 2011 – A Fact Sheet on Safety and Health in Law Enforcement was published.

August 2010 – Public Safety Sector Council meeting. The Council reviewed the existing NORA Public Safety Agenda strategic research goals. Goals having supporting projects conducted by NIOSH were identified, as well as goals being supported by projects being conducted by outside stakeholder organizations. The Council discussed implementation planning, membership gaps, role of industry, and international partnerships.

October 2009 – Public Safety Sector Council meeting. This meeting shared information about ongoing work and further developed priority goal implementation plans for Fire Service, Law Enforcement, Corrections, and Emergency Medical Service (EMS).

April 2009 – The NORA Public Safety (Sub) Council published the NORA National Public Safety Agenda: For Occupational Safety and Health Research and Practice in the U.S. Public Safety Sub Sector.

March 2009 – Public Safety Sector Council meeting. Information was shared on initiatives and projects that support the agenda and its research goals.

March 2009 – National Public Safety Agenda was finalized.

July 2008 – Services/ Public Safety Sector Council Meeting at the NORA Symposium held in Denver, CO

March 2008 – National Public Safety Agenda was posted on the NIOSH website for public comments.

December 2007 – Public Safety Sector Council meeting. Finalized draft goals prior for posting for public comment. Priority goals were selected for each of the 4 public safety sub-sectors: Firefighting, Law enforcement, Corrections, and Emergency medical services.

May 2007 – Public Safety (sub) Sector Council meeting. Current knowledge related to exposures, illnesses, injuries and fatalities in the four sectors, corrections, emergency medical services, fire fighting, and law enforcement, were discussed in small groups. Gaps in knowledge and intervention opportunities were identified; a set of goals was drafted.

November 2006 – First Public Safety (sub) Sector Council meeting. Identification of workplace safety and health issues in the Public Safety (sub) sector.

April 2006 – NORA Symposium breakout session to focus on the Services sector, including Public Safety sub-sector safety and health issues.

February 2006 – Public and Private Services Town Hall meeting in Los Angeles, CA.

NIOSH Intramural Projects

(Public Safety-related goals are addressed at least at 50% or greater)

Rapid Detection and Measurement of Fumigants

Michael Elliott, NIOSH

Rapid Clearance Measurements for Protection of Emergency Responders

Michael Elliott, NIOSH

Customized Job Stress Products for Correction Officers

Rashaun Roberts, NIOSH

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation Program Cardiovascular

Thomas Hales, NIOSH

Assessment of Dermal Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) Exposures in Firefighters

Kenneth Fent, NIOSH

A Study of Cancer among United States Firefighters

Travis Kubale, NIOSH

Educational Materials on Staph/MRSA for Corrections Workers (PHP)

Winifred Boal, NIOSH

Cops & Cars: Reducing LEO Deaths in Motor Vehicle Crashes (PHP)

Hope Tiesman, NIOSH

Using National Geospatial Data for Occupational health Sureveillance to Support Emergency Response

Jeff Shire, NIOSH

Feasibility Assessments of Engineering Control and PPE Concepts

Hongwei Hsiao, NIOSH

Emerging Problems in Occupational Injury Epidemiology

James Collins, NIOSH

Partnering with Industry to Build Safe EMS Work Environments

James Green, NIOSH

Sizing Firefighters and Fire Apparatus: Safe by Design

Hongwei Hsiao, NIOSH

Occupational Injuries and Illnesses among Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Workers

Audrey Reichard, NIOSH

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program

Timothy Merinar, NIOSH

Web Dissemination of Surveillance Data & Research Tools

Larry Jackson, NIOSH

Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance Guidance Document Implementation

Renee Funk, NIOSH

Fire Apparatus Design and PPE Sizing: Knowledge & Technology Transfer

Hongwei Hsiao, NIOSH

Reducing Firefighter Vehicle Crashes: Simulation and Intervention

Peter Simeonov, NIOSH

Reducing Firefighter Fall Risk: Safe Fire Truck Aerial System

Peter Simeonov, NIOSH

METH Lab Responder Biohazards: Role of Temperature and Stress

James O’Callaghan, NIOSH

Analysis of Cardiovascular Effects of Stress in Police

Michael Andrew, NIOSH

Statistical Methods Development and Application

Michael Andrew, NIOSH

Stressors and Heart Rate Variability in Police Officers

Michael Andrew, NIOSH

Stressors & Microvascular Subclinical CVD in Police Officers

Luenda Charles, NIOSH

Analysis of Novel Cardiovascular, Lipid and Metabolic Biomarkers in the BCOPS Study

Tara Hartley, NIOSH

Long Term Field Evaluation of Special Respirators

Robert Stein, NIOSH

Comparison of Ensemble Total Inward Leakage (TIL) Tests

Angie Shepherd, NIOSH

Inter-Agency Board Support

William Haskell, NIOSH

Development of PPE Ensemble Test Methods

Pengfei Gao, NIOSH

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program – Protective Clothing Evaluation

Angie Shepherd, NIOSH

Fire Fighter SCBA Evaluations

Thomas Pouchot, NIOSH

Creation of Cumulative Permeation Test End Points for TICs

Angie Shepherd, NIOSH

Physiological Validation of the Total Heat Loss (THL) Test

Aitor Coca, NIOSH

Stored Thermal Energy in Firefighter Protective Garments

Angie Shepherd, NIOSH

Next Generation Structural Fire Fighting PPE Ensemble

Jon Williams, NIOSH

CBRN Respirator Standards (IA 10-18)

Jonathan Szaladjda, NIOSH

Evaluation of NFPA 1991 Vapor-Protective Ensembles Worn with CC-SCBA

William Haskell, NIOSH

Respirator-To-Ensemble Interoperability and Compatibility Benchmark Testing

William Haskell, NIOSH

Respirator and Surgical Mask Efficacy from Cough Aerosols

William King, NIOSH

NFPA Protective Clothing and Equipment Standards Development

William Haskell, NIOSH

Sector-Based Case Studies on Cost-Effective Interventions

Abay Getahun, NIOSH

Next Generation Permeation Cell Design with an Integrated Direct Permeant Analysis System

Angie Shepherd, NIOSH

Penetration of Engineering Nanomaterial through Protective Gloves (NTRC)

Pengfei Gao, NIOSH

NIOSH Extramural Projects

Go to the NIH project summary website ( and key in project officer/principal investigator name to see a detailed description and details about active projects related to Public Safety.

WTC Dust Size and Alkalinity as Factors in First Responder Chronic Lung Aliments

Mitchell Cohen, New York University School of Medicine
Description in NIH RePORTER

Implementing Risk Management Strategies to Prevent Injuries Among Firefighters

Jeffrey Burgess, University of Arizona
Description in NIH RePORTER

Translation of a Robbery and Violence Prevention Program to High Risk Business

Carri Casteel, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Description in NIH RePORTER

SHIELD: Safety Health Improvement: Enhancing Law Enforcement Departments

Kerry Kuehl, Oregon Health and Science University
Description in NIH RePORTER

Near Miss Narratives from the Fire Service: A Bayesian Analysis

Jennifer Taylor, Drexel University
Description in NIH RePORTER

Stress and Subclinical Cardio-Metabolic Disease in Police: A Longitudinal Study

John Violanti, State University of New York at Buffalo
Description in NIH RePORTER

Novel Systems for Rapidly Identifying Toxic Chemicals during Emergencies

Suresh Bhavnani, University of Texas Medical Branch- Galveston
Description in NIH RePORTER

Identification of factors affecting EMS workers adoption of MSD interventions

Steven Lavender, The Ohio State University
Description in NIH RePORTER

Medical Evaluation of Louisiana Fire Fighters after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: A Pilot Study

Jacqueline Moline, Mount Sinai Medical School
Description in NIH RePORTER

Does Teamwork Mediate Relationship between Partner Familiarity and EMT Injuries?

Paul D. Patterson, University of Pittsburgh
Description in NIH RePORTER

Healthier Workforce Center for Excellence

James Merchant, University of Iowa
Description in NIH RePORTER

Escape Respirator for First Responders

Girish Srinivas, TDA Research, Inc.
Description in HIH RePORTER

Activities of Other Organizations

Note that full goals can be seen in the National Public Safety Agenda.
“AOG” refers to “Activity/Output Goal.”

National Fire Protection Association and Fire Protection Research Foundation Fire Service Research Summary

AOG1.2.1, AOG1.2.2, AOG1.4.1 (Chronic and Acute Diseases)
AOG2.1.1, AOG2.1.2, AOG2.1.3 (Structural FF Data)
U.S. Fire Department Profile;

Michael J. Karter and Gary P. Stein – NFPA, October 2012
This report includes statistics through 2011 on the numbers and characteristics of U.S. of fire departments and firefighters. It also includes information on the number of fire stations, pumpers and ladders nationwide, rates of usage of such equipment by community size, and total national direct expenditures on local fire protection., accessed 13 September 2013.

AOG1.2.1, AOG1.2.2, AOG1.4.1 (Chronic and Acute Diseases)
AOG2.1.1, AOG2.1.2, AOG2.1.3 (Structural FF Data)
Fire Service Performance Measures;

Jennifer D. Flynn – NFPA, November 2009
This report identifies and presents potential performance measures as they relate to the core functions of the fire department. A comprehensive literature review was performed to gather and highlight key measures that have already been identified. In addition to presenting key measures by fire department function, this report discusses the cautions associated with each measure., accessed 13 September 2013.

AOG1.2.1, AOG1.2.2, AOG1.4.1 (Chronic and Acute Diseases)
AOG2.1.1, AOG2.1.2, AOG2.1.3 (Structural FF Data)
Four Years Later – A Second Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service;

Department of Homeland Security, USFA, and NFPA, October 2006
Updated assessment of needs of U.S. fire service in such areas as training, certification, personnel, apparatus, equipment, and fire prevention, with particular attention to homeland security type incidents. reports/50 states/2006_fouryearslater_asecondneedsassessmentusfiresservice.pdf, accessed 13 September 2013.

AOG1.2.1, AOG1.2.2, AOG1.4.1 (Chronic and Acute Diseases)
AOG2.1.1, AOG2.1.2, AOG2.1.3 (Structural FF Data)
Firefighter Fatalities in the United States 2009;

Rita F. Fahy, Paul R. LeBlanc and Joseph L. Molis, June 2010
Overall statistics on line-of-duty firefighter fatalities in 2009, including non-incident-related deaths. Includes patterns, trends, career vs. volunteer comparisons, and brief narratives on selected incidents. Also includes an analysis on U.S. fire service fatalities in structure fires for the years 1977-2009. reports/fire service statistics/2009fff.pdf, accessed 13 September 2013.

AOG1.2.1, AOG1.2.2, AOG1.4.1 (Chronic and Acute Diseases)
AOG2.1.1, AOG2.1.2, AOG2.1.3 (Structural FF Data)
Firefighter Fatalities in the United States 2012;

Rita F. Fahy, Paul R. LeBlanc and Joseph L. Molis, June 2013
Overall statistics on line-of-duty firefighter fatalities in 2012, including non-incident-related deaths. Includes patterns, trends, career vs. volunteer comparisons, and brief narratives on selected incidents. Also includes an analysis on U.S. fire service fatalities in structure fires for the years 1977-2009., accessed 13 September 2013.

AOG3.1.1 (Vehicles)
U.S. Firefighter Fatalities in Road Vehicle Crashes, 1998-2007;

Rita Fahy – NFPA, July 2008
This report on fire fighter fatalities in road vehicle crashes addresses 148 deaths of on-duty firefighters in 133 road vehicle crashes over the 10 year period of 1998 to 2007. The number of deaths annually ranged from a low of 10 in 1998 and 2006 to a high of 25 in 2003 and 2007. reports/fire service statistics/osffvehicledeaths.pdf, accessed 13 September 2013.

AOG1.2.1, AOG1.2.2, AOG1.4.1 (Chronic and Acute Diseases)
U.S. Firefighter Fatalities Due to Sudden Cardiac Death, 1995-2004;
Rita F. Fahy – NFPA,, June 2005

Sudden cardiac death claims more firefighter lives during on-duty activities than any other cause of death. This study reviews trends in these deaths between 1995 and 2004. reports/fire service statistics/oscardiacdeath.pdf, accessed 13 September 2013.

AOG1.2.1, AOG1.2.2, AOG1.4.1 (Chronic and Acute Diseases)
AOG2.1.1, AOG2.1.2, AOG2.1.3 (Structural FF Data)
AOG3.1.1 (Vehicles)
Firefighter Injuries in the United States;

Michael J. Karter, Jr. & Joseph L. Molis – NFPA, October 2010
This report includes statistics on line-of-duty firefighter injuries in 2008 from NFPA’s survey of fire departments – including non-incident-related injuries, trends, and brief narratives on selected incidents., accessed 13 September 2013.

AOG1.2.1, AOG1.2.2, AOG1.4.1 (Chronic and Acute Diseases)
AOG2.1.1, AOG2.1.2, AOG2.1.3 (Structural FF Data)
AOG3.1.1 (Vehicles)
Patterns of Firefighter Fireground Injuries

Michael J. Karter – NFPA, January 2012
Includes 2003-2006 annual average estimates of injuries by such factors as type of injury, type of activity at time of injury, cause of injury by level of severity, occupancy where injury occurred, time of day and ages of injured firefighters., accessed 13 September 2013.

AOG1.5.3, AOG1.5.4 (Cardiovascular Risk Factors)
Risk Factors for Fire Fighter Cardiovascular Disease – Executive Summary;

Jeffrey L. Burgess – The University of Arizona, September 2010
This study evaluates the use of carotid IMT as a medical surveillance tool in firefighters, measures the acute effects of fire suppression on biomarkers associated with heart attacks and tests an active cooling method during firefighter rehabilitation. foundation/rfcardiostudy.ashx, accessed 13 September 2013.

AOG1.2.6 (Respiratory Exposure Guidance)
Respiratory Exposure Study for Fire Fighters and Other Emergency Responders;

Casey C. Grant, December 2007
This study provides information for firefighters and other emergency responders to help develop best practice guidance for determining when to use and discontinue use of SCBA and other respiratory protective equipment. The applications of primary focus include atmospheres that are possibly hazardous yet tenable, such as during overhaul operations, fighting outdoor fires, or limited exposure situations., accessed 13 September 2013.

AOG2.2.1, AOG2.2.2, AOG2.2.3 (Safety Interventions)
Fireground Injuries: An International Evaluation of Causes and Best Practices;

Jeff Burgess and Mike Duncan – University of Arizona, project summary September 2009
This project will evaluate fireground injury rates among selected domestic and international fire departments to identify best practices and optimum SOGs (standard operating guidelines). This study is based on the hypothesis that fireground injury rates will vary by department and country, and that lower injury rates will be associated with more extensive training as well as following high quality standard operating guidelines (SOGs). foundation/fireground_injuries_-_an_international_evaluation_of_causes_and_best_practices.pdf, accessed 13 September 2013.

AOG4.1.2 (MSD Interventions)
Stair Descent Device Performance for Firefighters;

Glenn Hedman – University of Illinois Chicago, project statement, (completion due in 2013)
This project will provide quantitative data on the demands made on firefighters as they use stair descent devices (SDDs) for physically challenged building occupants, and on device performance over time so that the devices are operational when needed. foundation/stair_descent_device_performance_for_firefighters.pdf, accessed 13 September 2013.

Law Enforcement Research Summary

AOG 6.1.1 (Traumatic Injuries Vehicles)
AOG6.2.1, AOG 6.2.2 (Risky Driving)
AOG 6.3.1, AOG6.3.4, AOG6.3.5 (Sleep Deprivation and Fatigue)
SAFE (Situation-Appropriate, Focused, and Educated) Driving Research;

Bryon G. Gustafson, California POST Study
CalPOST is actively advancing its SAFE (Situation-Appropriate, Focused, and Educated) Driving Campaign. The campaign includes stakeholders from across the nation. The emphasis is to save lives by raising awareness and taking decisive actions in law enforcement training and policy. Through empirical research and validated training and policies, law enforcement officers in every state will benefit from the efforts of the SAFE Driving Campaign., accessed 13 September 2013.

Public Safety Sector Partners

Correctional Institutions:

American Jail Association
Iowa Medical and Classification Center

Fire Protection:

Fire Protection Research Foundation
International Association of Fire Fighters
Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue

Emergency Medical Services:

MONOC – Monmouth Ocean Hospital Service
Richmond Ambulance Authority

Police Protection:

Fraternal Order of Police
International Association of Chiefs of Police
National Association of Police Organizations
National Sheriff’s Association

Local, State and Federal Government:

Federal Bureau of Investigation
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
U.S. Border Patrol
U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate
U.S. Department of Justice National Institute of Justice
New York Department of Health

Additional Partners:

Miami-Dade County Safety Office
Oshkosh Corporation
University of Arizona
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Questions or Comments?

If you have any questions or comments, contact the NORA Coordinator or the Sector Coordinator at

Sidney C. Soderholm, PhD
NORA Coordinator
William E. Haskell, M.S.
NORA Public Safety Council Co-Chair