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Firefighters need more effective training: study

November 9, 2011

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Santa Monica, CA – Current training programs may not prepare firefighters for the full range of scenarios and related stress they are likely to face on the job, indicates research (.pdf file) from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Researchers put firefighter trainees through a variety of drills in different types of buildings. Trainees reported less stress and fewer performance problems when they repeated the same scenario, but stress returned to pre-training levels when they encountered a new scenario.

Training typically involves one or a small set of live-fire scenarios, but researchers recommend exposing firefighters to a variety of situations. They said effective training should prepare firefighters for unanticipated changes, which may help them maintain low stress levels and avoid stress-related health problems.

The study appeared in the October issue of Human Factors.

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