The Firefighter Injury Research and Safety Trends (FIRST) project at the Drexel University School of Public Health is a first step toward developing a comprehensive national system for capturing firefighter injuries. If the Fire Service and safety researchers have comprehensive, consistent, and accurate information about who is being injured, how they are being injured, and what types of injuries occur, then these injuries can be prevented. In two pilot sites, the FIRST project will standardize the information already being gathered by various systems (e.g., hospitals and workers' compensation), and unify them into one data set. This single data set will be evaluated to determine its degree of completeness and accuracy when reporting firefighter injuries at both the state and local levels. FIRST is funded by FEMA and directed by Dr. Jennifer Taylor, an assistant professor at Drexel.
The FIRST project provided the impetus for Taylor and her co-author, FIRST policy coordinator Leslie Frey, to highlight the value of collecting industry and occupation data for all patients seen in hospitals for injury or illness.