HSR&D Citation Abstract
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Bui DP, Griffin SC, French DD, Hu C, Pollack Porter K, Jung AM, Crothers S, Burgess JL. The use of proactive risk management to reduce emergency service vehicle crashes among firefighters. Journal of safety research. 2019 Dec 1; 71:103-109.
Emergency service vehicle crashes (ESVCs), including rollovers and collisions with other vehicles and fixed objects, are a leading cause of death among U.S. firefighters. Risk management (RM) is a proactive intervention to identifying and mitigating occupational risks and hazards. The goal of this study was to assess the effect of RM in reducing ESVCs.
Three fire departments (A, B and C), representing urban and suburban geographies, and serving medium to large populations, participated in facilitated RM programs to reduce their ESVCs. Interventions were chosen by each department to address their department-specific circumstances and highest risks. Monthly crash rates per 10,000 calls were calculated for each department an average of 28?months before and 23?months after the start of the RM programs. Interrupted time series analysis was used to assess the effect of the RM programs on monthly crash rates. Poisson regression was used to estimate the number of crashes avoided. Economic data from Department A were analyzed to estimate cost savings.
Department A had a 15.4% (P? = 0.30) reduction in the overall monthly crash rate immediately post-RM and a 1% (P? = 0.18) decline per month thereafter. The estimated two-year average cost savings due to 167 crashes avoided was $253,100 (95%CI = $192,355 - $313,885). Department B had a 9.7% (P? = 0.70) increase in the overall monthly crash rate immediately post-RM and showed no significant changes in their monthly crash rate. Department C had a 28.4% (P? = 0.001) reduction in overall monthly crash rate immediately post-RM and a 1.2% (P? = 0.09) increase per month thereafter, with an estimated 122 crashes avoided.
RM programs have the potential to reduce ESVCs in the fire service and their associated costs; results may vary based on the interventions chosen and how they are implemented. Practical applications: Risk management may be an effective and broadly implemented intervention to reduce ESVCs in the US fire service.