Special Issue "Police Officers, Firefighters and/or Militaries High-Risk Job Occupations: Assessment of the Different Threats and Preventive Measures"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Occupational Safety and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Marta Ferreiro-González
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, University of Cadiz, Agrifood Campus of International Excellence (ceiA3), IVAGRO, P.O. Box 40, 11510 Puerto Real, Cadiz, Spain
Interests: honey; olive oil; food adulteration; berries; chemometrics; ion mobility spectroscopy; headspace-mass spectrometry electronic nose; extraction techniques; chromatographic techniques, aroma; volatile organic compounds
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Gerardo Fernández Barbero
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, IVAGRO, University of Cadiz, 11510 Puerto Real, Cádiz, Spain
Interests: chemometrics; fire investigation; headspace-mass spectrometry electronic nose; ignitable liquids; petroleum-based products; volatile organic compounds; food adulteration; ion mobility spectroscopy; forensic chemistry; food analysis; analytical chemistry; hplc; gc; uhplc; ms; extraction techniques
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Félix Zapata Arráez
E-Mail Website
Associate Guest Editor
Department of Analytical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Sciences, University of Alcalá, 28871 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
Interests: vibrational spectroscopy; explosives; terrorism; fire Investigation; bodily fluids; sexual assault crimes; analytical chemistry; forensic chemistry; chemometrics
Dr. Estrella Espada-Bellido
E-Mail Website
Associate Guest Editor
Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, IVAGRO, University of Cadiz, 11510 Puerto Real, Cádiz, Spain
Interests: chemometrics; heavy metals; volatile organic compounds; food adulteration; ion mobility spectroscopy; forensic chemistry; food analysis; analytical chemistry; hplc; gc; uhplc; ms; extraction techniques

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A safe, healthy working environment is an essential condition when it comes to ensuring a good quality of life. This is the reason public administrations together with trade unions have long strived to increase workplace safety by promoting occupational risk prevention. However, work accidents still occur in many workplaces. Identifying potential threats and providing the tools required to minimize their impact is crucial to managing risks. In addition, workplace safety is both a humanitarian and economic concern, so improving working conditions is a global challenge.

Jobs in the police, firefighting, and/or military sectors are considered high-risk in comparison to other occupations since employees in these fields put their lives on the line every day to protect society. Among the many unsafe situations they have regularly to face, exposure to toxic or hazardous substances is one of them. In fact, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) firefighters are among the 18 occupations in which an increase of cancer cases has been demonstrated. After intervention, combustion products (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and metals remain impregnated in their fire suits and other personal protective equipment. Many of these compounds are carcinogenic, such as benzene, benzopyrene, 1,3-butadiene or formaldehyde, as well as heavy metals, such as Ni, Cd, Pb or Cr. For this reason, there is increased concern about the harmful effect that toxic combustion residues could have on firefighters’ health. Similarly, police and military personnel also face situations in which they are exposed to hazardous substances, including combustion products in fire scenes, as explained previously, but also explosive substances in terrorist assaults or gunshot residues from enemy shots or even from their shooting practice. Nevertheless, in these latter cases, the health risk due to chemical exposure to explosives or gunshot residues is negligible in comparison to the imminent physical risk of being fatally wounded by the expansive shockwave of a detonation or by bullets shot. The development and implementation of preventive measures to these and other weapons are also really necessary, such as the development and correct use of protective materials and/or the improvement of police/military intervention techniques. Therefore, all of these threats should be subject of much more research.

This Special Issue in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health offers the opportunity to publish high-quality multidisciplinary research and reviews related to the assessment of the chemical hazards or physical risks of firefighters, police officers, and/or military officers.

Dr. Marta Ferreiro-González
Dr. Gerardo Fernández Barbero
Dr. Félix Zapata Arráez
Dr. Estrella Espada-Bellido
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • occupational risk prevention
  • workplace safety and health
  • high-risk job occupation
  • methods of analysis
  • chemical hazards
  • physical threats
  • operational tactical procedures
  • polices, firefighters, and/or military officers

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Detecting Chemical Vapor Diffusion through Firefighter Turnout Gear
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4833; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094833 - 30 Apr 2021
Viewed by 258
Abstract
Firefighters are exposed to burning materials that may release toxic partial combustion and pyrolysis products into the environment, including compounds listed as priority pollutants by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A novel passive sampling dosimeter device containing firefighter turnout gear as [...] Read more.
Firefighters are exposed to burning materials that may release toxic partial combustion and pyrolysis products into the environment, including compounds listed as priority pollutants by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A novel passive sampling dosimeter device containing firefighter turnout gear as a diffusion membrane and an activated charcoal strip (ACS) for volatile analyte collection was designed and used to monitor potential exposures of firefighters to volatile organic compounds. Solvent extracts from the ACS and turnout gear diffusion layer were analyzed using Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) to determine the diffusion of compounds from burned substrates through firefighter turnout gear and compound adsorption to the turnout gear. The compounds in these samples were identified using target factor analysis (TFA). An activated carbon layer (ACL) was added to the dosimeter between the turnout gear and the ACS. The presence of combustion and pyrolysis compounds identified on the ACS in the dosimeter was reduced. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Trauma and Mental Health Awareness in Emergency Service Workers: A Qualitative Evaluation of the Behind the Seen Education Workshops
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4418; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094418 - 21 Apr 2021
Viewed by 378
Abstract
Emergency service workers (ESWs) are at high risk of experiencing poor mental health, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Programs led by ex-service organizations may play an unrecognized but critical role in mental health prevention and promotion. Behind the Seen (BTS) is an Australian [...] Read more.
Emergency service workers (ESWs) are at high risk of experiencing poor mental health, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Programs led by ex-service organizations may play an unrecognized but critical role in mental health prevention and promotion. Behind the Seen (BTS) is an Australian ex-service organization that runs workshops to raise awareness and facilitate conversations around the mental health of ESWs. The purpose of the study is to conduct a qualitative evaluation of workshop participants’ experiences, to understand the acceptability and perceived usefulness over the immediate- (within 1 month), intermediate- (6 months) and longer-terms (12 months). Participants (n = 59 ESWs) were recruited using purposive sampling across five fire and rescue services in metropolitan, regional, and rural locations. Focus groups methodology was used for data collection and data were analyzed using iterative categorization techniques. Participants reported (i) a high perceived need for education about PTSD, (ii) highly salient aspects of the presentation that made for a positive learning experience, including the importance of the lived experiences of the facilitators in the learning process, (iii) key features of changes to intentions, attitudes, and behavior, and (iv) major aspects of the organizational context that affected the understanding and uptake of the program’s key messages. BTS was perceived as an acceptable means of delivering mental health, PTSD, and help-seeking information to ESWs. The program is a promising candidate for scaling-up and further translation. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Resilience of the Hellenic Navy Seals by Electrodermal Activity during Cognitive Tasks
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4384; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084384 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 438
Abstract
Stress resilience plays a key role in task performance during emergencies, especially in occupations like military special forces, with a routine consisting of unexpected events. Nevertheless, reliable and applicable measurements of resilience in predicting task performance in stressful conditions are still researched. This [...] Read more.
Stress resilience plays a key role in task performance during emergencies, especially in occupations like military special forces, with a routine consisting of unexpected events. Nevertheless, reliable and applicable measurements of resilience in predicting task performance in stressful conditions are still researched. This study aimed to explore the stress response in the Hellenic Navy SEALs (HN-SEALs), using a cognitive–physiological approach. Eighteen candidates under intense preparation for their enlistment in the HN-SEALs and 16 healthy controls (HCs) underwent Stroop tests, along with mental-state and personality examination. Simultaneously, electrodermal activity (EDA) was assessed during each one of cognitive testing procedures. Compared to healthy control values, multiple components of EDA values were found decreased (p < 0.05) in the HN-SEALs group. These results were associated with an increase in resilience level in the HN-SEALs group, since a restricted sympathetic reactivity according to the reduced EDA values was observed during the stressful cognitive testing. This is the first report providing physiological measurements of the sympathetic response of HN-SEALs to a stressful situation and suggests that EDA turns out to be a simple and objective tool of sympathetic activation and it may be used as a complementary index of resilience in HN-SEALs candidates. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Normative Data for Blood Pressure in Croatian War Veterans: A Population-Based Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4175; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084175 - 15 Apr 2021
Viewed by 304
Abstract
Purpose: The current study aimed to investigate the normative data for blood pressure. Materials and Methods: From 2017 to 2020, 2032 men and women classified as ‘war veterans’ were recruited (mean age ± standard deviation (SD): 60.97 ± 7.98 years; mean stature: 172.50 [...] Read more.
Purpose: The current study aimed to investigate the normative data for blood pressure. Materials and Methods: From 2017 to 2020, 2032 men and women classified as ‘war veterans’ were recruited (mean age ± standard deviation (SD): 60.97 ± 7.98 years; mean stature: 172.50 ± 9.10 cm; mean body mass: 90.25 ± 36.45 kg; mean body-mass index: 29.66 ± 5.59 kg/m2; 29.9% women). Their systolic and diastolic blood pressures were measured three times. The procedure was carried out according to the American Heart Organization. The sex-specific and age-specific normative data for the 5th, 25th, 50th (median), 75th, and 90th percentiles for systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), pulse pressure (measured as SBP-DBP) and mid-BP (the average of SBP and DBP) were presented. Results: The men had higher SBP (p < 0.001), DBP (p < 0.001), pulse pressure (p < 0.001) and mid-BP (p < 0.001) compared to the women. The age-specific differences showed that older individuals had higher values of SBP (p < 0.001), pulse pressure (p < 0.001), and mid-BP (p < 0.001), while no significant differences for DBP (p = 0.496) were observed. Conclusions: This is the first study providing sex-specific and age-specific normative data for blood pressure in war veterans. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Trauma and Coping Strategies in Police Officers: A Quantitative-Qualitative Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 982; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18030982 - 22 Jan 2021
Viewed by 806
Abstract
Background. Because of their work, emergency workers, such as police officers (POs), are exposed to traumatic events on a daily basis. These experiences can have consequences in terms of physical and emotional stress. Primary attachment relationships affect the development of coping strategies for [...] Read more.
Background. Because of their work, emergency workers, such as police officers (POs), are exposed to traumatic events on a daily basis. These experiences can have consequences in terms of physical and emotional stress. Primary attachment relationships affect the development of coping strategies for dealing with stressful events (primarily hyperactivating strategies in entangled adults and hypo-activating strategies in dismissing adults). In this study, we explored how POs describe the experience of traumatic accidents, the effects they reported and their coping strategies related to their attachment style. Methods. We used a quantitative-qualitative method. Thirty-nine POs were administered the Beck Depression Inventory, the Maslach Burnout Inventory and a semi-structured interview about traumatic events and reactions. Interviews were analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Results. Traumatic events at work predominantly concerned aggressions, witnessing deaths, forced hospitalizations, and domestic violence involving children. POs with a responsible role were more likely than POs to use security-based strategies. Most POs narrated overactivation and deactivation strategies, which were associated with depressive symptoms, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization. Conclusions. These results can be useful to improve trauma-informed interventions for POs based on their different attachment styles and coping strategies. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Relationship between Firefighter Physical Fitness and Special Ability Performance: Predictive Research Based on Machine Learning Algorithms
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7689; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207689 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 755
Abstract
Firefighters require a high level of physical fitness to meet the demands of their job. The correlations and contributions of individual physical health parameters to the tasks of firefighting would enable firefighters to focus on the effects of specific physical conditions during their [...] Read more.
Firefighters require a high level of physical fitness to meet the demands of their job. The correlations and contributions of individual physical health parameters to the tasks of firefighting would enable firefighters to focus on the effects of specific physical conditions during their physical training programs. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to identify the relationships between various physical health parameters (weight, maximum oxygen uptake, body fat percentage, upper body muscular power and lower body muscular power) and performance on simulated firefighting ability tasks, which included a set of seven tasks (rope climb, run 200 m round trip with load, 60 m carrying a ladder, climb stairs with load, evacuation of 400 m with supplies, run 5 km with an air respirator, run 100 m with the water hose). Through use of a partial least-squares regression (PLSR) algorithm to analyze the linear correlation, we revealed the change in various training performances of specific ability tests with physical fitness parameters. The present study demonstrated significant relationships among physical health parameters and performance on simulated firefighting ability tasks, which also represent that those parameters contributed significantly to the model’s predictive power and were suitable predictors of the simulated firefighting tasks score. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Occupational and Leisure-Time Physical Activities on Insomnia in Korean Firefighters
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5397; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155397 - 27 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 662
Abstract
Studies have been conducted on the association between physical activity (PA) and sleep, but to the best of our knowledge, a simultaneous analysis of the effects of occupational PA (OPA) and leisure time PA (LTPA) on South Korean firefighters’ sleep has never been [...] Read more.
Studies have been conducted on the association between physical activity (PA) and sleep, but to the best of our knowledge, a simultaneous analysis of the effects of occupational PA (OPA) and leisure time PA (LTPA) on South Korean firefighters’ sleep has never been conducted. This study aims to analyze how OPA and LTPA affect these individuals’ risk of suffering from insomnia with-in this specific population of subjects. The study includes data from an online self-report survey in which 9788 South Korean firefighters participated. The survey used the Insomnia Severity Index and the OPA- and LTPA-related characteristics were investigated. The independent two-sample t-test, χ2 test, and multiple logistic regression analysis were performed. Subgroup logistic regression analyses were also completed in accordance with the OPA level. Among 9788 participants, 890 (9.1%) suffered from insomnia. A logistic regression analysis revealed that higher levels of feeling of job loading (FoJL), rising levels of physical strength utilization rate (PSUR), greater frequency levels of occupational activities, and high-intensity LTPA were significantly correlated with an increased risk of insomnia, while execution of LTPA and getting enough rest after LTPA was correlated with a decreased risk. However, the subgroup analysis showed that high-intensity LTPA was correlated with a significantly increased the risk in the group with high OPA, but this did not apply to the group with low OPA. Although the risk of suffering from insomnia was overall significantly higher in the high OPA group, the risk was significantly lower in groups getting enough rest after partaking in LTPA, regardless of the OPA level. Thus, the intensity of exercise programs pre-scribed to groups with high OPA and individuals with higher risks of suffering from insomnia, such as firefighters, police officers, and soldiers, should be considered. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Legal and Forensic Medicine Approach to Police Physical Intervention Techniques in High-Risk Situations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(8), 2809; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17082809 - 19 Apr 2020
Viewed by 2017
Abstract
Background: The physical intervention techniques (PITs) typically used by the police in troublesome situations are examined in terms of injuring potential depending on whether they target a body zone of high, medium or low vulnerability. Based on legal and forensic considerations, and [...] Read more.
Background: The physical intervention techniques (PITs) typically used by the police in troublesome situations are examined in terms of injuring potential depending on whether they target a body zone of high, medium or low vulnerability. Based on legal and forensic considerations, and principles of congruence, opportunity and proportionality, a need exists to favor opponent locking and arrest techniques targeting non-vulnerable zones to minimize the risk of severe damage. Methods: A search of the training manuals for the different kind of law of enforcement officers was carried out. Revision of injuries was available from electronic databases of academic o medical journals. Results: Three different locking and arrest PITs based on operational tactical procedures (OTP) that avoid zones of high or medium vulnerability are proposed. The new techniques use blocking, diverting and grabbing of the upper and lower limbs, followed by dislocation and locking of the same targets. Conclusions: The damaging potential of such PITs was assessed in terms of anatomical region and most were found to have a high risk of severe damage. The alternative PITs proposed here, which rely on OTP, improve in legal and forensic medical terms on existing choices and dramatically reduce the risk of injuring arrestees. Full article
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