December 17, 2018, San Diego CA: $1.2M FEMA grant awarded to combat firefighter musculoskeletal injuries, sleep disorders, and obesity
A $1.2M grant was recently awarded to implement a regional wellness program focused on combating firefighter musculoskeletal injuries, obesity, and sleep disorders. The project is funded through a FY2017 Fire Prevention & Safety grant, FEMA, Department of Homeland Security, and is one in a series of awards made to Dr. John Mayer for related firefighter research efforts. Most recently, Mayer and Lane completed a FEMA funded study titled, “Worksite exercise interventions for low back injury prevention in firefighters,” which demonstrated the effectiveness of a worksite exercise intervention relative to control on reducing lost work time related to low back injury and illness in firefighters.
Firefighting is a dangerous, physically-demanding, and psychologically-stressful occupation. Thus, firefighters are at high risk for developing low back injury and related musculoskeletal disorders, obesity, and sleep disorders. While researchers have made great strides to advance understanding of these disorders, specific guidance on implementing effective wellness and fitness programs to prevent injuries and improve health is largely unavailable. The new grant is expected to address this knowledge translation gap, resulting in improved firefighter health.
“The current grant is the latest project in our 15-year initiative to develop, test, and implement programs to improve first responder safety and health. We thank FEMA for its commitment to support our efforts, and the firefighters who risk their lives to protect us,” said John M. Mayer, DC, PhD, FACSM – Project Leader for this grant and Scientific Officer for the Foundation.
“This grant will enable us to test novel interventions, using a regional approach, to determine whether this format can be a success for wellness and fitness in the fire service. We are elated about this project and grateful to FEMA for the opportunity to implement our approaches,” said Charity L. Lane, MS, MA, CPT, FNS – Project Leader for this grant and Director of Program Development for the Foundation.
About the Grant
The new grant (EMW-2017-FP-00711; US Spine & Sport Foundation) will implement a regional wellness program for approximately 1,000 firefighters from diverse departments in San Diego County, California targeting 3 critical issues that impact firefighter safety and health: low back injury and related musculoskeletal disorders, obesity, and sleep disorders. Interventions include physical fitness, nutrition, and behavioral education programs customized to the needs of each firefighter and department. The interventions are evidence-based and pragmatic, and will be delivered through innovative health service delivery systems over 18 months. The project will serve as a model to inform future national implementation of firefighter wellness and fitness programs.
For more information on our first responder initiatives, see: www.usspineandsportfoundation.com.