A team of investigators at the University of Kansas is collecting data and designing interventions to improve the quality of sleep for firefighters and paramedics in the Lawrence Douglas County Fire-Medical Department.
For these first responders, better sleep could improve their quality of life and boost their performance as they encounter life-and-death situations. The stressful work of responding to emergencies demands both physical stamina and quick decision making.
"Among the many responsibilities of their job, our EMTs and paramedics have to make drug calculations regardless of the time of day or night or situation, so sleep deprivation is a concern," said Kevin Joles, division chief with LDCFM. "If somebody is sleep deprived and distracted when throwing a ladder against a house and they hit a power line, it could kill them or another firefighter."