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NIOSH releases online training for emergency responders who work long hours

NIOSH training

Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Washington – An online training resource from NIOSH aims to help emergency responders who work long hours in demanding situations.

Interim NIOSH Training for Emergency Responders: Reducing Risks Associated with Long Work Hours – a free, 30-minute training program – offers information on how workers can cope while responding to disasters such as earthquakes and fires. Emergency responders sometimes get inadequate sleep, leading to possible errors that can result in injuries and deaths, NIOSH states.

The agency notes that 1 out of 3 responders from the Coast Guard during Hurricane Katrina reported they got five hours of sleep or less each day, increasing their risk 3 times for depression, falls, muscle strain and dehydration.

The training addresses the following subjects:

  • Hazards of working while fatigued
  • Sleep and fatigue basics
  • Personal factors that could result in higher safety risks
  • Management strategies, including a more effective work schedule
  • Signs and symptoms of fatigue
  • Tips for improving sleep and alertness
  • Avoiding injuries to muscles and joints
  • Preventing fatigue due to high heat

The training program also includes a quiz as well as a listing of sleep specialists.