Alumni Magazine

SPR-SUM 2018

The alumni magazine for Franklin Pierce University.

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r 12 PIERCE SPRING / SUMMER 2018 RAVENINGS CONTROLLED BURN T he physical and emotional demands of fi refi ghters are daunting. According to U.S. Fire Administration statistics, 55 percent of fi refi ghter deaths in 2007 resulted from stress or overexertion causing either heart attacks or strokes. So, Fire Battalion Chief Aaron Glass , of Avondale, Ariz., approached Dr. Donald Shaw, professor of physical therapy at Franklin Pierce's Goodyear, Ar iz., campus, requesting assistance in developing and implementing a project the chief had contemplated for several months. Specifi cally, "what is the most effi cient way to cool his fi refi ghters in this extreme desert heat environment?" Of particular interest were the eff ects i mposed on body temperature and heart function wh ile battling a blaze. " ese physiologic considerations were particularly important since temperatures in a fi re can reach 900 to 1,000 degrees F," said Shaw. "Adding to the structure heat are summer outdoor temperatures which can exceed 120 degrees F. Conditions in the Southwest are unlike any other in the country." Glass added, " ere used to be a fi re season; now, with dry, drought conditions, that season is nearly all year-round. Combine this re ality with Arizona's extreme heat, and you have added extra risk for fi refi ghter safety. We want to fi nd ways to mitigate that." e pilot study was about generating hard data that would help the department devise new protocols. Currently, when fi refi ghters rest from fi ghting a fi re, they do so for fi ve minutes, before heading back to battle the blaze. Shaw particularly liked that this study presented doctor of physical therapy (DPT) students real-world research exposure while also giving them a way to contribute to the Avondale community. Last summer, the fi re department and the physical therapy students teamed up on four controlled burns. ese burns are deliberately set fi res that simulate normal fi refi ghter working conditions but are performed in a training setting. Nine fi refi ghters volunteered for the study. Many results of the study were particularly noteworthy. "We documented core temperatures that were elevated well a er they exited the fi re scene," said Shaw of the participants. "Seven of nine participants had heart rates in excess of predicted maximal heart rates. Obviously, fi refi ghters are exposed to tremendous physical and emotional stress." He and the Franklin Pierce DPT students tried a number of methods to cool the fi refi ghters , including head-draped cooling towels, a misting system, fi re engine cab air-conditioning and ice water arm submersion. ing Unfortunately, none of the approaches worked well in dropping body temperature. "We were told the cooling rags were uncomfortable," said Shaw. "And the misting fan didn't work well. Frequent opening of the fi re engine cab door failed to provide a substantive cooling environme nt. Ice water arm submersion helped, but participants stated the water was too cold and they kept removing their arms before a true cooling eff ect could be realized." What Shaw and his students found was that the issue wasn't just about cooling down fi refi ghters. It was about taking a holistic approach to how to look a er their health. ey need more time off -fi re to rest, an d they need to implement high intensity interval training for conditioning to help better prepare for the high-intensity nature of fi re engagement. " is was a life-changing experience for our students," sa id Shaw. "Not only did they have the opportunity to undertake real-world research and get the chance to see how it can aff ect change, they saw up close what fi refi ghters actually do." "I think everyone has a new profound respect for fi refi ghters," Franklin Pierce DPT student Edson Madamba '19 commented in a story by Israel Gonzales that ran in e West Valley View newspaper. "It's because we got to see them do everything in this kind of an environment and they're so really upbeat about everything. It's a pretty humbling experience just being students in a classroom and these guys are putting out fi res every day." Shaw and his students documented their fi ndings in a report to the Avondale Fire Department, and later undertook a similar study for the Prescott, Ariz., Fire Department. Glass now wants to expand the pilot study to include fi re departments in Glendale, Surprise and Peoria, however , r , Shaw sa id funding id to ing conduct a study of that size is unavailable. He and the students took the report they created and designed a research manuscript. is document is currently under peer review in a scientifi c journal. — Holly Beretto '93 Franklin Pierce DPT Students Partner W ith Fire Department " I think everyone has a new profound respect for fi refi ghters." — EDSON MADAMBA '19 Franklin Pierce DPT students with the Avondale Fire Department. Franklin Pierce DPT students with the Avondale Fire Department. Franklin Pierce DPT students with the Avondale, Ariz. Fire Department

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