|Monday, December 2, 2019|
|9:15 AM - 9:45 AM|
First Line of Defense: Overall Health
In an industry where important and creative new ideas and technologies are being explored and developed for the health and well-being of our First Responders - are we forgetting to look back to some of the basics? Are we having enough discussion about the obvious FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE against ill-health and disease - one that each individual and family can personally manage, in conjunction with, or even despite whatever “programs” and “protections” your agency does or does not offer? We all want to be and stay healthy. But what does that really mean? What does that look like in a practical sense? And in our busy lives, what manageable steps can we take in order to achieve our goals? In this session we will explore the answers to these questions as well as get a personal, individualized snap-shot of where each participant currently sees themselves on their own journey to establishing their First Line of Defense against ill-health and disease. In an industry fraught with occupational hazards, there is great hope for a healthier future as we all work together towards the same goal.
|11:00 AM - 11:50 AM|
The Continuum of Support
Exposure to line of duty stress creates a risk for potentially severe stress reactions in first responders. This class will focus on “best practices” for addressing stress reactions in public safety workers, and will introduce the core components of an evidence-based self-care and peer support framework called Stress First Aid.
SFA is a self-care and peer support model that comprises a set of supportive actions designed to help emergency responders assist each other in reducing the negative impacts of stress. SFA was designed originally to support military personnel, and subsequently tailored to support structural firefighters, Wildland firefighters, EMS personnel, law enforcement, and Amtrak personnel. This method of assisting a co-worker undergoing stress recognizes that disasters and “critical incidents” are not the only stressors that professionals in these fields face and is therefore based on acknowledgement that stress can be ongoing and cumulative, resulting from multiple sources.
|1:15 PM - 2:15 PM|
What is situational awareness and why does it matter?
Most workers know, intuitively, that strong situational awareness is an important aspect of worksite safety. However, many do not understand what situational awareness is, how it is developed and how it can erode while working in a high risk, high consequence environment. This program provides you with a working definition for situational awareness and explains how it is developed. Specific examples of barriers that can erode awareness will be shared.
|2:30 PM - 3:15 PM|
Cancer Prevention in the Fire Service: Evidence from the Florida Firefighter Cancer Initiative
Dr. Schaefer Solle will discuss the most up to date findings from the cancer prevention and education programs from the Firefighter Cancer Initiative. Important messages related to the cancer prevention, education and survivorship program will be discussed.
|3:30 PM - 4:15 PM|
PFAS Exposure in the Fire Services
Per- and Polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS) are an emerging chemical class of concern to the fire services, mostly because of their use in Aqueous Film-Forming Foams (AFFF). These chemicals have tremendous environmental persistence, they bioaccumulate in humans, and several have demonstrated toxicity. For years these class B foams were deemed safe, and now that they have been released widely into the environment, it has become a serious global problem in drinking water supplies impacted by AFFF. For Firefighters, direct exposure to AFFF has been linked with higher blood sera levels of PFAS, and our research has found another source of PFAS - the water-resistance added to turnout gear is given by the use of PFAS-treated textiles. WIth time, exposure and wear these chemicals will shed from turnout gear and that presents as another source of exposure to PFAS for firefighters. A brief overview of PFAS and the currently known health effects associated with them will be provided, together with an overview of potential exposure routes that firefighters face, and some suggestions where this exposure can be minimized.
|Tuesday, December 3, 2019|
|9:00 AM - 9:45 AM|
Exposure Control in Fire Training
Firefighters’ training ground is undergoing a rapid evolution as we look to improve the training firefighters receive while balancing exposure risk. This presentation will discuss results from a project between IFSI Research, UL FSRI and NIOSH that focus on the impact of fuel type used during training evolutions for both firefighting students and fire instructors.
|9:45 AM - 10:45 AM|
Highway Incident Safety: "D" Drivers, Autonomous Vehicles and Other Hazards
Distracted, drowsy, drunk, drugged and disgruntled drivers are striking firefighters, fire apparatus, and other emergency vehicles at roadway incidents with increasing frequency. We can’t change the behavior of “D” drivers, but we can change how we operate to improve scene safety. With the highway being noted as one of the most immediately dangerous areas of operation for firefighters, it is critical that personnel safeguard themselves during roadway operations. This session will offer strategies and tactics for safer roadway incident scene operations and discuss emerging hazards from autonomous vehicles and potential safeguards from connected vehicle technology. Participants will walk away with the essential steps and actions every FD should be taking to protect their personnel from being struck on the highway.
|11:00 AM - 12:00 PM|
Carcinogen Control at Fire and Emergency New Zealand
Carcinogen Control at Fire and Emergency New Zealand is the response to the ever-increasing international body of evidence that suggests firefighters are at a greater risk of developing cancer than their civilian counterparts. Addressing this risk, however, poses numerous significant challenges. Firefighters are filled with a mix of denial, anxiety, fatalism and apathy, while Fire and Emergency NZ has pressures from unions and a new health & safety regulatory environment, combined with budgetary constraints. All of this is happening during a time when Fire and Emergency NZ is undergoing the largest overhaul of fire and emergency services in New Zealand history. In this presentation Kevin will share Fire and Emergency NZ’s journey to winning the hearts and minds of firefighters and pushing forth changes that will make carcinogen management part of ‘business as usual’ despite the challenges of working in a complex environment.
|1:30 PM - 2:30 PM|
Saving Our Own: Changing the Culture of Mental Health in Public Safety
Suicide has surpassed line of duty deaths as the cause of death for public safety professionals. This presentation will discuss the issue of mental illness in public safety and how to recognize the signs that a friend, co-worker, family member or you are suffering from a mental health issue. Resources that are available to public safety personnel and their families will be discussed. Several cases of public safety personnel who have dealt with mental health issues will be discussed as well as the very different outcomes of each.
|2:45 PM - 3:45 PM|
When the Smoke Clears: A Primer on Fire Service Retirement
The behavioral, mental and physical health of our retired members has long been overlooked. This recently developed workshop presents the harsh realities of retiring from the fire service. In this engaging and interactive session, we discuss the emotional, psychological and physical impact experienced by many retirees, and importantly how to best prepare to avoid the pitfalls of retirement. This session offers insight and advice on how to prudently prepare for retirement, what to expect when retired, our emotional, mental and physical resilience and how our long relationship with the fire service will impact our wellness following retirement. The presenter’s personal retirement journey will be shared, offering perspective with real-world experience on how to best prepare, cope and enjoy retirement. Keeping the passion, purpose and sense of belonging and identity we have of our profession through careful retirement preparation will be thoroughly discussed. This program will be equally rewarding to the family of the prospective retiree and their attendance is encouraged. Retirees often experience emotional and psychological difficulties if they have not planned for replacing a sense of belonging, purpose and their former identification that is frequently missing when leaving the fire service. Real world insight is given on how to fill these vital psychological and emotional voids to recapture the passion we had for our former profession. We speak in-depth of filling the voids of the loss of identity, belonging and purpose and passion often absent following retirement and highlight the role resilience play in our overall health.
|4:00 PM - 5:00 PM|
The Latest on Firefighter Occupational Cancer Issues
In this brief one hour presentation we will discuss some of the latest issues and concerns with firefighters and cancer, including:
Quite a lot for one hour, so be prepared for rapid information!
|Wednesday, December 4, 2019|
|9:00 AM - 10:00 AM|
Top 10 Must Dos for Effective After Action Reviews
Conducting effective debriefing and after action review sessions is critical to creating an organization geared towards continuous progress and optimal performance. Implementing after action reviews as standard operating procedure promotes the traits necessary to develop high performing individuals and optimize team culture. The session will include real world, practical examples of how high performing military teams like the Navy SEALs utilize debriefing and after action reviews to create a culture based on continuous learning to ensure success in high-stakes operations. This will help identify how AARs conducted post-call or following training drills within the fire service enables teams to identify lessons learned and create action plans to improve future performance.
After action review provides a valuable learning opportunity and can help firefighters build resilience, maximize performance, and continually improve how they serve their communities. This session will begin with an explanation of the role of mindset, consistency, and accountability in effective debriefing protocol and an overview of why debriefing is critical to the performance of elite teams and tactical athletes. Attendees will learn how to bring debriefing and AARs to their departments through using concrete, practical examples in a participation-based discussion. This session will help leaders implement effective debriefing practices to enhance the communication, accountability, and trust within their teams.
|10:15 AM - 11:00 AM|
Tactical Sports Medicine - A New Approach to Integrative Health within the Fire Service
|11:00 AM - 12:00 PM|
Improving sleep, health and safety in firefighters
Firefighters work very challenging schedules under highly stressful and demanding conditions. The need to work frequent extended-duration shifts leads to acute and chronic sleep deficiency and disrupts circadian rhythms. A significant proportion of firefighters also suffer from undiagnosed sleep disorders, which further impair sleep and exacerbate fatigue.
A nationwide survey was conducted of nearly 7,000 firefighters in 66 departments across the US and found that 37% of firefighters were at risk for a common sleep disorder. Those at risk for a sleep disorder had twice the risk of a motor vehicle crash, near-crash or falling asleep while driving. They were also more likely to have cardiovascular disease, diabetes depression and anxiety. Alarmingly, 83 percent of firefighters who screened at-risk for a sleep disorder were undiagnosed and untreated.
Next, a sleep health education and sleep disorders screening program was evaluated in a randomized controlled trial in one mid-sized fire department. Firefighters assigned to stations that received the program reported 46 percent fewer disability days than firefighters assigned to control stations. Firefighters who received the program were also 24 percent less likely to report an injury than firefighters who did not receive the training.
A sleep health education and screening program is important to improve the health, safety and well-being of firefighters. This presentation will focus on the implementation of such programs, the importance of sleep, the symptoms of sleep disorders and countermeasures to improve the sleep health of firefighters in the face of the occupational demands.
|1:15 PM - 2:30 PM|
How to Increase Safety through Better Communication, Even with Difficult People and Difficult Situations! How to Quickly Connect and Communicate to Persuade People to Take Smart, Team-Oriented Actions” is the overall theme.