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Long COVID: A Unique Fire Service Perspective
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the national fire service, fire departments, and individual firefighters. While a huge number of individuals have experienced COVID-19 and are eager to “move on,” there is a significant number of individuals who continue to be plagued with unresolved symptoms—including shortness of breath, brain fog, fatigue, and cardiovascular complications. This webinar will discuss occupational specific concerns about the long-term effects of COVID (known as “long COVID”) and how the fire service can better recognize, understand, and manage these challenges to protect firefighter health and safety. The webinar will provide an update on what is known from the scientific literature about long COVID, and the initial findings from data collected from members of the fire service about their experiences with long COVID.

• Dr. Denise Smith, Skidmore College,
• Dr. Sara Jahnke, Center for Fire, Rescue and EMS Health Research, National Development & Research Institutes
• Katie Rusk, San Diego Firefighter’s Regional Wellness Program

Fire Protection Research Foundation 2022 Webinar Series Sponsors:
American Wood Council
AXA XL Risk Consulting
Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co., Inc.
Telgian Engineering and Consulting
The Zurich Services Corporation

Dec 8, 2022 12:30 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Dr. Denise Smith
Professor @Skidmore College Skidmore College
Dr. Smith is Tisch distinguished professor, health and human physiological sciences department, and director of first responder health and safety laboratory at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. Dr. Smith earned her PhD in Kinesiology with a specialization in exercise physiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1990. Her research is focused on the physiological effects of firefighting, particularly the cardiovascular strain associated with the combination of heavy physical work, heat stress, and the psychological stress that firefighters routinely encounter. She is the principal investigator on an AFG project titled “Continuing Fight Against COVID (C-FACT)” aimed at understanding the challenges of long COVID in the fire service.
Dr. Sara Jahnke
Director & Senior Principal Investigator Ctr for Fire, Rescue & EMS Health Research National Development Research Institute @National Development & Research Institutes
Dr. Jahnke is the director and senior principal investigator of the Center for Fire, Rescue and EMS Health Research at the National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. Dr. Jahnke has served as the principal investigator of several large-scale studies of the health and readiness of the US fire service funded by the Department of Homeland Security, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Heart Association. Current projects include studies focused on the health of women in the fire service, research on workplace violence, exposure assessments on the fireground, and randomized controlled trials of wellness interventions. She serves as a co-investigator of several other studies focused on fitness, nutrition, and health behaviors in both firefighters and military populations.
Katie Rusk
San Diego Firefighter’s Regional Wellness Program @Physician Assistant
Katie joined San Diego Sports Medicine & Family Health Center in 1982 after she received her master’s degree in exercise physiology from San Diego State University. She graduated from Stanford University’s Primary Care Program in 1996 as a Physician’s Assistant. She served as Co-Director and Clinical Instructor of the Stanford University Primary Care satellite program in San Diego for 13 years and is now the Medical Coordinator for the San Diego Firefighter’s Regional Wellness Program.