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.
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.