NIOSH ERC Webinar: Effects of Chronic Heat Stress and Shift Work on Postural Stability in Firefighters: A Pilot Study

Structural firefighters are exposed to many environmental stressors while still expected to make critical decisions on the job. Firefighters are exposed to high temperatures, perform physically demanding tasks, and wear heavy PPE, which all contribute to an increased internal body temperature. Firefighters also work extended shifts, typically as long as 24 hours, where their sleep may be interrupted to deal with emergencies. Fatigue generated from a combination of heat stress, performing physically demanding tasks, and partial sleep deprivation has contributed to a higher risk for loss of balance, which can increase the rate of fall-related injuries among firefighters. Maintaining balance while firefighting is essential for reducing fall-related injuries. This webinar will explore preliminary findings from a pilot study: Effect of Hyperthermia on Brain Function and Impact on Functional Outcomes.

Rachel Zeiler, PhD Student

Rachel Zeiler is a PhD Candidate at the University of Cincinnati studying Environmental and Industrial Hygiene. Her work is currently focused on evaluating the effects that physical and chemical hazards have on functional outcomes, with her dissertation work focused on early-life lead exposure and its impact on postural stability and bone health in adulthood. Rachel works in the Early Detection of Degenerative Diseases and Innovative Solutions (EDDI) lab led by Dr. Amit Bhattacharya in the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences.

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