Firefighters'lifesaving work comes at a cost, with increased risk for cancer, heart disease and injuries.
We aim to develop a highly interactive web-based/mobile application health promotion/injury reduction program for the fire service. Its content will be based on the PHLAME (Promoting Healthy Lifestyles) program, which is the only evidence-based wellness program for firefighters. We developed PHLAME, and its efficacy, durability and mediating components have been established with NCI-funding. Although PHLAME is effective and has a high return on investment, we have identified significant barriers to wide-scale implementation, including its workbook-based format and the time required for coworkers to meet for curriculum sessions. A workbook format also does not align with firefighters'learning preferences, as they are gamers and frequently use online training simulations. The proposed format will be a major advance and incorporate cutting edge web-based and mobile app behavior change technology in a platform that engages both individuals and their coworker groups. Mobile applications will extend the program beyond their 24-hour work shifts. The camaraderie and mutual support of the original PHLAME meetings was important for behavior change, and that aspect will be maintained and enhanced with online and mobile app strategic gaming, competitions and social connections. We are experience in online programs, having received NIDA-funding to begin to move our evidenced-based drug prevention programs online. Importantly, we are partnering with an established creative internet strategy and design firm, experienced in the activities needed to develop and construct the prototype. Ultimately, the proposed program would be adopted by a department and placed in fire stations, so that bonded coworkers (a shift at a fire station) participate individually and asa team through online activities and social networking. Six activities from PHLAME will be selected, adapted and enhanced in a fully functional prototype web-based platform, with synergistic mobile applications. We will assess usability with six work groups of firefighters, who will experience the prototype for two weeks. Usability, acceptance, enjoyment and perceived effectiveness will be assessed among firefighters familiar with the existing PHLAME program and with no prior PHLAME experience. We will establish proof-of-concept by reviewing the prototype and usability findings with a spectrum of fire service wellness experts and decision makers, who can address the full program's purchase and deployment in departments. We have a decade of collaborative work with the fire service and strong support from their national organizations. An extensive market awaits an easy to implement, innovative web-based and mobile enhanced derivative of the only worksite wellness and safety program proven to improve wellness and reduce health care costs of firefighters. The format will be specific to the fire service, but the platform, once developed will advance occupational wellness and could be extended to other worker domains.
Due to their hazardous work, firefighters are at high risk for cancer, heart disease and injuries. However, the only worksite wellness program proven-effective for firefighters is workbook-based, and it does not match how firefighters best learn or fit well in busy fire departments. We will develop a prototype wellness program, adapted from the existing format and enhanced to make it web and mobile app based, using games, simulations and competitions that can engage firefighters individually and as teams of coworkers;this is the first phase in making an innovative program to protect the health of those who protect us and our communities.