FDIC, News

FDIC 2018: Potential Use of Technology to Address Major Health and Safety Concerns

Professor Denise Smith
Skidmore College & Illinois Fire Service Institute

Monday, April 23, 2018: 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


Firefighting is strenuous work that includes many dangers and risks. Despite all the dangers on the fireground, it is the physiological or pathophysiological response to firefighting that kills most firefighters. Too many firefighters are injured or killed on the fireground or in training by a cardiac event, heat stroke, or musculoskeletal injury. Early detection of abnormalities and real-time monitoring of toxic particulates that threaten firefighters offer potential opportunities to address these physiological vulnerabilities. 

This workshop will review the major health threats to firefighters on the fireground/training including cardiovascular events, heat stress, overexertion injuries, and exposure to products of combustion. Participants will discuss the potential uses and challenges of deploying technology to address each of these physiological threats. Information will be presented on a project that has advanced technology development or adaptation in each of these areas. 

Topics include ECG monitoring for detection of arrhythmias and ischemic changes, an improved algorithm to accurately assess body temperature, a sensor to assess air contaminants, and the deployment of a wearable physiological monitor during firefighting operations and training.