Columbus Firefighters Participate In Sleep Study

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Firefighters from central Ohio were selected to take part in a nationwide study that will look at what it takes for them to stay awake on the job.

Schedules for firefighters are anything but normal, working 24 hours on and 48 hours off. Sleep is often a luxury, 10TV's Anietra Hamper reported.

"Sometimes the run will come in and they'll be staggered out throughout the day and you may get 3-4 hours a night sleep when you're on duty," said Columbus fire Lt. Jeff Shaw.

The Columbus Division of Fire is participating in the collaborative study between Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital that will look at firefighters' sleeping habits.

During the two-year study, all Columbus firefighters will go through educational courses and a confidential screening to look for sleep problems, Hamper reported.

"Trying to screen people for sleep disorders, get them to understand what their risk is of having a sleep disorder, then facilitate them getting help at a local sleep center," said student project manager Conor O'Brien.

Battalion Chief David Whiting said he hopes the study will have a number of benefits for fire departments in Columbus and across the U.S.

"With healthy firefighters that means we have more efficient firefighters on the fire ground and it improves safety on the fire ground," Whiting said.

Study participants said they hope they will be able to pick up better sleep habits, which will mean a better quality of life on and off the job, Hamper reported.

Researchers for the study planned to spend two and a half weeks in Columbus.

Stay with 10TV News and 10TV.com for more information.