With many agencies reporting a paramedic shortage and crews often running calls on insufficient shut-eye, sleep deprivation is an issue that affectsEMS agencies all over the country. To help get an understanding of the issue, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) combined forces to produce a report on the effects of sleep deprivation and fatigue onEMS responders and firefighters.
The IAFC and USFA partnered on the project, with assistance from the faculty ofOregonHealth & ScienceUniversity, and yesterday released ˙The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Fire Fighters and EMS Responders.Ó The report also includes mitigation strategies, a resource section and a self-guided, computer-based training program.
"We have long known the stresses long-term operations place on all firefighters. The impact of sleep deprivation is an important issue," Chief Gregory B. Cade, U.S. Fire Administrator, said in a prepared statement.
The report reviewed literature on fatigue and sleep deprivation in other industries, such as the transportation and medical fields.
"This is an in-depth culmination of available sleep-deprivation research that, if taken seriously, should keep the fire chief awake at night,"IAFC President Chief Steven P. Westermann said in the statement."The research can apply to any busy station, volunteer or career, with any of the traditional schedules, not just the newer 48/96 schedule. The report ends by providing several recommendations, not the least of which is how to spot sleep deprivation."
For more information, including the reportand related training materials, visit the IAFC Web site atwww.iafc.org/sleep or the USFA Web site atwww.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/research/safety/sleep_deprivation.shtm.
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