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Collaborative Research Study Aims to Prevent Firefighter Injury Nationwide
Date:9/10/2009

A collaborative research study with the University of Waterloo, the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, Athletes' Performance, and the Pensacola Fire Department began in April to collect biomechanical data that may identify the potential for injury and help reduce the probability.

Gulf Breeze, Fla. (Vocus) September 10, 2009 -- A call comes in to the local Pensacola Fire Department to be first on the scene of a local house fire. These brave men and women respond without a second thought; only thinking about the safety of the people they are about to encounter and the danger they are facing. These first responders, however, place their own lives at risk and sometimes the person they are saving is one of their own. Russell Beaty, fire chief of the Pensacola Fire Department, has witnessed this all too often. Many of the on-the-job hazards they face are not only due to fires but also their day-to-day activities.

"We continually train and put ourselves to the test," says Beaty. "We try to keep ourselves in good condition but sometimes that isn't enough. We realize that obtaining help and looking for new ways to protect our health and safety is of the utmost importance to save us from on-the-job injury."

Due to the physically demanding and unpredictable nature of their work, "occupational athletes" such as firefighters, soldiers, and police officers are frequently injured in the line of duty. These noble "occupational athletes" are frequently placed in high risk, volatile environments wherein it would be difficult if not impossible to implement ergonomic strategies to reduce the associated risk. Consequently, many public protectors and servants are forced to accept the risk of damaging their body and must selflessly cope with chronic pain and disability. Injured firefighters, soldiers, and police officers are not only a
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