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UA receives grant to study ways to reduce firefighter vehicle accidents

The University of Arizona has received a $1.4 million grant designed to reduce vehicle accidents for firefighters.

Jeff Burgess, MD, MPH, associate dean for research at the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health and the project’s principal investigator, said emergency service vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death among US firefighters.

“Many of those are from the moment that you start responding to an incident until you arrive there, or are potentially coming back,” he said.

“We’re going to use these funds to study the specific type of vehicle incidents that each fire department has, find and fund new ways to reduce those crashes using the risk management process, and make special use of the vehicle data recorders, or black boxes, that are on the fire department vehicles.”

Similar to those used on airplanes, the black boxes will provide information on the effectiveness of training and perhaps the different types of driving patterns that are more associated with vehicle accidents, Burgess said.

The three-year grant was awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

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