A Quiet Firehouse: Reducing Environmental Stimuli Among Professional On-Duty Firefighters

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Abstract

Objective:

Firehouse alarms are so loud that they cause a systemic response, similar to the flight-or-flight response. The purpose of the study was to reduce firehouse environmental stimuli to improve sleep quality and, thus, reduce cardiac burden.

Methods:

The intervention included restricted unnecessary fire alarms, reduced light levels, and regulated temperature in the bunkroom.

Results:

Among 24 firefighters, 11 completed the matched post-assessment. Six weeks after implementing the interventions, measures revealed the average lux level dropped from 0.75 to 0.19 lux, P < 0.05, and the presence of elevated blood pressure reduced from 86% to 15%, P < 0.05.

Conclusion:

Results support that reducing environmental stimuli in firehouses reduces blood pressure, which is much easier than targeting behavior change.

Recommendations:

On the basis of this pilot study, the practice of routinely activating unnecessary fire alarms in firehouse bunkrooms should be discouraged.

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