Educating Firefighters on Sleep Health

Posted: May 25, 2017

Firefighters, who respond to emergency calls around the clock and frequently work 24-hour extended shifts, often experience acute sleep deprivation, chronic sleep deficiency and misalignment of the body clock.

firefighters on scene at night

There are challenges associated with implementing programs like this one in operational fire departments where heavy training loads are common. The challenges are vastly outweighed, however, by the potential improvement in the health and safety of firefighters, regardless of which method of training is selected.

— Laura Barger, PhD, co-author

Recently, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) researchers developed a sleep health program (SHP) to educate firefighters on sleep health and screen firefighters for common sleep disorders. Eight fire departments with more than 6,000 firefighters from around the country, each with three or more station houses, participated in this study.

Research takeaways

Barger, L. K., O’Brien, C. S., Rajaratnam, S. M., Qadri, S., Sullivan, J. P., Wang, W., . . . Lockley, S. W. (2016). Implementing a Sleep Health Education and Sleep Disorders Screening Program in Fire Departments. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 58(6), 601-609. doi:10.1097/jom.0000000000000709

Learn more about this research

The research article is available through our library by contacting netclrc@fema.dhs.gov. Interested readers may be able to access the article through their local library or through the publisher’s website.

See also: The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Fire Fighters and EMS Responders, a report and educational program from the U.S. Fire Administration and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

This summary is for informational purposes only. More +
As such, the content does not reflect any official positions, policies, or guidelines on behalf of the sender, the U.S. Fire Administration, FEMA, DHS, nor any other federal agencies, departments or contracting entities. Similarly, this summary does not represent in any manner an official endorsement or relationship to any private or public companies, organizations/associations, or any authors or individuals cited or websites associated within the article.

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