University tracks sleep patterns of Texas firefighters
A new study suggests sleep disorders are prevalent among firefighters and are independent risk factors for the top two causes of death in the line of duty
CEDAR PARK, Texas — When a fire station’s alarm sounds, every second counts. A new study suggests sleep disorders are prevalent among firefighters and are independent risk factors for the top two causes of death in the line of service.
The study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found 37 percent of the nearly 7,000 participating firefighters screened positive for sleep disorders. Among the disorders are sleep apnea, insomnia, shift work disorder and restless leg syndrome. Of those who screened positive for a sleep disorder, more than 80 percent were not diagnosed or untreated.
The Cedar Park Fire Department has been working with the University of Texas on a study of their own. When a call comes in overnight, it takes Cedar Park firefighter Larry Mulrain a split second to get going. “Usually the first instance is, ‘Where am I again?’ But that shakes off pretty quickly and we get everything on and get out the door pretty quick.”