Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program

The purpose of this project is to reduce fire fighter fatalities by identifying work situations at high risk for fatal injury and formulating prevention strategies for those who can intervene in the workplace. NIOSH conducts on-site investigations of fire fighter line-of-duty deaths to identify the circumstances and conditions that contributed to the fatality, and then disseminates recommendations for preventing similar occurrences.

Project contact: Matt Bowyer
Division of Safety Research
Project period: 1997-2026

Standards Development Organizations Activities

The project purpose is continuous improvement in emergency services personal protective equipment (PPE) by revising existing standards and developing new standards. This process considers new material technologies and design configurations which can be driven by performance criteria mandated in PPE certification standards. Implementing these National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards enhances worker safety and health hazard prevention. NIOSH staff at the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory participate in the revision process of NFPA protective clothing, equipment, and selection, care and maintenance standards according to a timeline mandated by NFPA.

Project contact: Timothy Rehak
National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory
Project period: 2006-2021

Performance Requirements and Test Methods for Head Covers, Footwear Covers, Aprons and Glove/Protective Clothing Interface Regions

This project aims to improve personal protective equipment (PPE) selection and use compliance among healthcare workers (HCWs) and emergency medical service providers by developing performance and design requirements. The project findings will be provided to Standard Development Organizations (SDOs) such as American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) International, Association for Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). These organizations can utilize the findings as the scientific basis for the development of new standards or improvements to the current standards or guidelines.

Project contact: Selcen Kilinc-Balci
National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory
(412) 386-4086
Project period: 2015-2022

Three Occupation Specific Units for the Workplace Violence Prevention Online Course

The purpose of this project is to create occupation specific workplace violence prevention courses that will provide relevant information for emergency responders (emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics, etc.), stand-alone healthcare facilities (physicians, dentists, pharmacies etc.), and social services/home healthcare providers

Project contact: Jim Collins
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5998
Project period: 2014-2022

Disaster Science Responder Research (DSRR) Program

The DSRR Program promotes the implementation of timely and scalable research to improve responder safety and health. Specifically, the mission of the DSRR is to inform approaches for conducting research during a disaster and create mechanisms for overcoming the associated logistical, technical and administrative burdens that researchers will encounter during an emergency response. The program will also develop a NIOSH research agenda to address research gaps in responder safety and health.

Project contact: Angela Weber
Office of the Director
(404) 639-0716
Project period: 2015-2026

A New Protective Paradigm for Ambulance Ventilation Design

This project will introduce a new paradigm to ambulance patient module ventilation, namely a front-to-rear, clean-to-dirty uniform airflow that prevents patient-source infectious aerosol from entering the worker’s breathing zone. Researchers will collaborate with industry stakeholders and standards organizations to ensure proposed HVAC interventions are compatible with the EMS workers’ stringent work requirements.

Project contact: Dylan Neu
Division of Field Studies and Engineering
(513) 841-4549
Project period: 2017-2021

Preventing Illicit Drug Occupational Exposures to Emergency Responders and Healthcare Workers

The purpose of this project is to improve worker protections by identifying research needs related to illicit drug exposure to healthcare workers and emergency responders. Three tasks will be performed simultaneously to identify new/emerging illicit drug threats, collect empirical data for PPE performance when challenged with opioids, and evaluating the adherence of NIOSH’s current opioid guidance in hospital and clinical settings. NIOSH will coordinate with manufacturers, researchers, regulators, labor, associations, and field-based personnel to implement corrective measures.

Project contact: Jonathan Szalajda
National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory
(412) 386-6627
Project period: 2018-2021

Page last reviewed: September 21, 2021