Last year, FireTox completed a research project focused on current approaches utilized in the fire service for proficiency training and continuing education. This research was funded by the NFPA Fire Protection Research Foundation. The comprehensive final report presented various continuing education models used throughout the United States and Canada and also established the number of States and Provinces with continuing education requirements. McAllister and McAllister recently published an article in Fire Engineering magazine which presents the key findings from this extensive research effort. If you are a fire service professional interested in or responsible for implementing continuing education in your station or your department, this article is a must read. The article can be accessed here. Due to the pandemic, the planned presentation of this work at the 2020 NFPA Annual Conference was cancelled. FireTox hopes to present this important work and updates on related NFPA ProQual committee actions to the fire service community at the 2021 NFPA Annual Conference.
FireTox is delighted to receive funding from NIST to support our research project titled, Fire-Related Deaths: The Impact of Illicit Drugs, Prescription Medications, and Over-the-Counter Sleep Aids on Occupant Notification and Response. This study will evaluate toxicological records and associated fire investigation reports for over 1000 fire deaths which occurred between 2005 and 2019 in the State of Maryland. The primary research hypothesis states that individuals under the influence of certain classes of illicit and prescription drugs, as well as over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids, have a higher risk of dying in a fire even in the presence of an operable smoke alarm. A secondary research hypothesis is that this higher risk is associated with a failure to awaken to a sounding alarm, as opposed to adequate notification of the fire but failure to escape due to other factors (e.g. impaired state). The outcomes of this research will help direct future efforts in community risk reduction programs and may further define potential limitations in existing occupant alerting technologies.