The negative impact of problem drinking among firefighters is an on-going concern in the fire service. In this project, alcohol and fire service researchers, in collaboration with the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Association of Fire Chefs, the National Fire Fighters Foundation, the National Volunteer Fire Council and a Stakeholder Panel, will collect and disseminate foundational data on alcohol use in the fire service and develop tools departments can use to promote healthy drinking. This is highly relevant because alcohol use is strongly related to other behavioral health issues firefighters face, such as stress, trauma, sleep disorders, and safety risks.
Although the 2nd National Fire Service Research Agenda lists research on firefighter alcohol abuse and misuse as a high priority, basic data needed to inform prevention efforts are lacking. In Aim 1, we will conduct formative research with leadership and key opinion leaders among firefighters to identify promising methods to address problem drinking. Aim 2 will build on the promising methods identified to create a toolkit. The toolkit will provide fully executable tools for fire departments to use to promote health alcohol use among their personnel. In conclusion, this project will provide critical information and tools the fire service will use to protect the health and safety of firefighters, and lay the groundwork for future prevention and policy research.