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Comparison of Public Safety Provider Injury Rates

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      Emergency duties and deaths from heart disease among firefighters in the United States.

      Heart disease causes 45% of the deaths that occur among U.S. firefighters while they are on duty. We examined duty-specific risks of death from coronary heart disease among on-duty U.S. firefighters from 1994 to 2004. We reviewed summaries provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency of the deaths of all on-duty firefighters between 1994 and 2004, except for deaths associated with the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Estimates of the proportions of time spent by firefighters each year performing various duties were obtained from a municipal fire department, from 17 large metropolitan fire departments, and from a national database. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for death from coronary heart disease during specific duties were calculated from the ratios of the observed odds to the expected odds, with nonemergency duties as the reference category. Deaths from coronary heart disease were associated with suppressing a fire (32.1% of all such deaths), responding to an alarm (13.4%), returning from an alarm (17.4%), engaging in physical training (12.5%), responding to nonfire emergencies (9.4%), and performing nonemergency duties (15.4%). As compared with the odds of death from coronary heart disease during nonemergency duties, the odds were 12.1 to 136 times as high during fire suppression, 2.8 to 14.1 times as high during alarm response, 2.2 to 10.5 times as high during alarm return, and 2.9 to 6.6 times as high during physical training. These odds were based on three estimates of the time that firefighters spend on their duties. Certain emergency firefighting duties were associated with a risk of death from coronary heart disease that was markedly higher than the risk associated with nonemergency duties. Fire suppression was associated with the highest risk, which was approximately 10 to 100 times as high as that for nonemergency duties. Copyright 2007 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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        Occupational fatalities in emergency medical services: a hidden crisis.

        We estimate the occupational fatality rate among emergency medical services (EMS) personnel in the United States. We undertook descriptive epidemiology of occupational fatalities among EMS providers. Analysis was conducted by using data from 3 independent fatality databases: the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (1992 to 1997), the National EMS Memorial Service (1992 to 1997), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (1994 to 1997). These rates were compared with the occupational fatality rates of police and firefighters and with the rate of all employed persons in the United States. The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries database documented 91 EMS provider occupational fatalities. The National EMS Memorial Service database contained 70 fatalities, and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System identified 8 ground-transportation EMS occupational fatalities. There was also wide variation in fatality counts by cause of injury. Using the highest cause-specific count from each of the databases, we estimate that there were at least 67 ground transportation-related fatalities, 19 air ambulance crash fatalities, 13 deaths resulting from cardiovascular incidents, 10 homicides, and 5 other causes, resulting in 114 EMS worker fatalities during these 6 years. We estimated a rate of 12.7 fatalities per 100,000 EMS workers annually, which compares with 14.2 for police, 16.5 for firefighters, and a national average of 5.0 during the same time period. This study identifies an occupational fatality rate for EMS workers that exceeds that of the general population and is comparable with that of other emergency public service workers.
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          Occupational injuries among emergency medical services personnel.

          Emergency medical services (EMS) personnel treat 22 million patients a year in the United States, yet little is known of their injury risks. To describe the epidemiology of occupational injuries among EMS personnel, calculate injury rates, and compare the findings with those for other occupational groups. This was a retrospective review of injury records kept by two urban agencies. The agencies submitted all 617 case reports for three periods between January 1, 1998, and July 15, 2002. The agency personnel worked an estimated 2,829,906 hours during the study periods. Cases were coded according to U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) criteria. Four hundred eighty-nine cases met the DOL inclusion criteria. The overall injury rate was 34.6 per 100 full-time (FT) workers per year (95% confidence interval [CI] 31.5-37.6). "Sprains, strains, and tears" was the leading category of injury; the back was the body part most often injured. Of the 489 cases, 277 (57%) resulted in lost workdays, resulting in a rate of 19.6 (95% CI 17.3-21.9) per 100 FT workers; in comparison, the relative risks for EMS workers were 1.5 (95% CI 1.35-1.72) compared with firefighters, 5.8 (95% CI 5.12-6.49) compared with health services personnel, and 7.0 (95% CI 6.22-7.87) compared with the national average. The injury rates for EMS workers are higher than rates reported by DOL for any industry in 2000. Funding and additional research are critical to further defining the high risks to EMS workers and developing interventions to mitigate this serious problem.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Prehospital Emergency Care
            Prehospital Emergency Care
            Informa UK Limited
            1090-3127
            1545-0066
            September 09 2009
            September 09 2009
            : 13
            : 4
            : 451-455
            10.1080/10903120903144908
            © 2009

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