The University of Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) has learned that it will receive its fourth Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Fire Prevention & Safety Research and Development grant. The grant for $999,801 will fund research to focus on the influence of aspirin on reducing the number of heart attacks among firefighters.
Heart attacks are the number one cause of firefighter line of duty deaths, according to Dr. Gavin Horn, director of research for IFSI. “Based on our previous studies of cardiovascular changes caused by firefighting, we believe that an aspirin intervention may be effective in reducing the risk of heart attacks in our population,” Horn said. He added that low doses of aspirin have already been shown to reduce platelet aggregation – the first step in blood clots that work to induce heart attacks. “We will seek to clarify the effects of both acute and chronic aspirin dosage on firefighter’s vascular and hemostatic systems, both at rest and following life firefighting.” Twenty firefighters over the age of 40 will participate.
As part of a cross-campus initiative, Bo Fernhall and Jeff Wood of the university’s Kinesiology and Community Health department will be working with Horn in conducting the research, as will Dr. Denise Smith of Skidmore College in New York and Brad Bone from IFSI. Also collaborating with IFSI on the grant is Carle Hospital Occupational Medicine and Christie Clinics pathology departments.
This grant is the fourth IFSI has received as part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Fire Prevention and Safety Program. Earlier projects looked at the influence of firefighter personal protective equipment, as well as stress and exertion, on firefighter’s cardiovascular system.
The Illinois Fire Service Institute is Illinois’ fire academy. In addition to training provided at the Champaign campus, the Institute offers DHS grant-approved technical rescue, HAZMAT and NIMS training, hands-on fire officer training, online classes and conducts training throughout the state at Regional Training Centers and local fire stations. The mission of the Illinois Fire Service Institute is to help firefighters do their work through training, education, information and research.
For more information about the DHS-funded research, contact Dr. Gavin Horn at 217-265-6563.