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Rural firefighters delivering ag safety and health (RF-DASH) – next steps

Project Description

Dates: 2022-2027

The overall goal of this translational research program is to improve the access of farms to capable and trusted health and safety consultation to reduce farm hazards and improve farm safety. The research team will build on the success of the previous cycle of the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH) where rural firefighters and emergency medical personnel (fire/EMS) enthusiastically received the Rural Firefighters Delivering Agricultural Safety and Health (RFDASH) program. Rural fire/EMS remain ideal candidates as capable and trusted safety consultants for agricultural operations in their coverage areas. With improved dissemination and implementation (D&I) strategies for both the core RFDASH program and its trainees, RFDASH is a very viable model for reducing rates of injury and fatalities in agricultural communities.

Over 60 fire and EMS personnel in 10 states have been trained in the full RF-DASH program, and they have worked with almost 500 additional individuals, including agricultural health and safety professionals, educators, community members, and farmers.

This project's specific aims include:
  1. Assess the D&I strategies of the RFDASH program in a subset of existing sites. 
  2. Direct the implementation of the RFDASH program on a new subset of farms and compare farm D&I strategies across study sites, increasing trainees’ confidence and skills in farm safety advocacy and community adoption. 
  3. Support future sustainability of the program through more formal alignment with federal standards like those of NFPA and FEMA and by providing technical assistance to a growing and now international network.

Why is this important?

The burden of fatal and nonfatal incidents in agriculture remains high – with fatality rates nearly eight times that of workers in all other US industries.

Moreover, agricultural incidents are underestimated more than in other sectors, especially nonfatal injuries and illnesses. Previous research by the team established a baseline finding that farm operators voiced trust and high levels of esteem in rural fire/EMS as possible influential advisors about injury prevention.

FREE ONLINE TOOLS

  • RFdash.org is the project’s standalone website sharing RF-DASH news, resources, events, and online community.
  • SaferFarm.org is a hazard analysis tool of farm elements that pose a risk for injury.
  • NFMCFarmMapper.com is a tool to preplan farms to expedite response, limit damage in the event of a fire, and keep first responders safe when responding to a farm emergency.

These tools are validated and safe; information is encrypted and privacy-protected.

**We recommend fire departments using these tools make one account for the entire department so all the firefighters/EMS in the department may access the analysis and map for a particular farm.

What can FarmMAPPER and SaferFarm.org can do for you?

Project Personnel

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Photo of Casper Bendixsen PhD

Casper Bendixsen, PhD

Co-Director of UMASH Director of the National Farm Medicine Center
Phone: 715-387-9410 Website: View Bio
PROGRAM EVALUATOR

PROGRAM EVALUATOR

Photo of Andrea Swenson Ph.D, MS

Andrea Swenson, Ph.D, MS

Project Scientist I – Program Evaluator Marshfield Clinic Research InstituteNational Farm Medicine Center