April 20, 2004

Firefighters Battle Stress

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The trauma of Sept. 11 is still taking its toll on New York City firefighters, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Smithers Institute.

Samuel Bacharach, the McKelvey-Grant Professor of Labor-Management Relations at Cornell and director of the Smithers Institute, began the study in November 2002 after the Health and Safety Office of the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) approached the Institute. Funded by the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, the study was a partnership between the Smithers Institute, the UFA and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA).

Noticeable increases in anxiety, depression and stress were discovered after the survey was given to 2,000 firefighters and fire officers from 145 firehouses in all five boroughs of New York City. The survey included questions about post-traumatic stress, job hazards and workplace issues like decision-making and communication.

Peter Gorman, president of the UFOA, said the study was important for the future of the fire department. When the preliminary findings were presented to members of the UFOA, UFA, and FDNY on April 1, Gorman called the results