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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. 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.

Contact: Shannon Widman, MPH, Project Manager

Data and Confidentiality: Both Drexel University and our funder, the Federal Emergency Management Agency have protocols which ensure the protection of information collected from participants and databases during a research project. These protocols include evaluation of our plan to protect human subjects by the Drexel Institutional Review Board and the Department of Homeland Security Regulatory Compliance Office; required training for project staff regarding appropriate research procedures and compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); data security; and legal review of research protocol and documentation. All project staff have successfully passed examinations on appropriate conduct of research and data security protocols. This project has also been reviewed by the University’s legal counsel and privacy office.