The Firefighter Injury Research & Safety Trends (FIRST) Project is the initial step towards developing a comprehensive national system for capturing firefighter injuries. If the Fire Service and safety researchers have comprehensive, consistent, and accurate information about who is being injured, how they are being injured, and what types of injuries occur, then these injuries can be prevented. In two pilot sites, the FIRST project will standardize the information already being gathered by various systems (e.g., hospitals and workers’ compensation), and unify them into one data set.
This single data set will be evaluated to determine its degree of completeness and accuracy when reporting firefighter injuries at both the state and local levels. While snapshots of firefighter injury exist and give us valuable insights on particular populations at particular points in time, there is currently no comprehensive national system for capturing firefighter injuries. Without a comprehensive system that provides consistent and accurate information, it is challenging to identify intervention opportunities which will effectively reduce or eliminate injury. FIRST is strongly influenced by the needs and guidance of both the Fire Service and the safety research community. An expert advisory board, which represents both groups, has been appointed and their input is incorporated into all aspects of the project.
FIRST is strongly influenced by the needs and guidance of both the Fire Service and the safety research community. An expert advisory board which represents both groups has been appointed, and the advisors' input is incorporated into all aspects of the project (e.g., system design, partnerships, sustainability).
At the end of the three year grant period, the project team will generate recommendations to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regarding how to establish and sustain FIRST at the national level. The recommendations will include an evaluation of the pilot implementation process and outcomes, as well as an analysis of the human and material resources required to support the system.
In 2013, FEMA funded a new project, The FIRST-RS, to test the findings of the FIRST project, through expansion to new states and Fire Departments.