Why do we need data?
For every problem there are potential solutions. Often, different groups or people suggest they have a solution and it can be difficult to choose between various options. Some of the proposed solutions or programs are useful, and others waste time and money.
Resources are limited so we want to make sure they are spent on useful programs.
Who needs this data?
The data helps those delivering the program to improve it based on the information provided by the participants. It is especially important to know whether the program is useful over time. This is why we collect information at multiple time points.
Many times, employers or governments are not willing to fund programs unless there are research studies showing that they work.
Who can see your data?
Data is kept in secure databases where your identity is made anonymous. Only group information is shared to help improve the program or conduct research. These uses are approved by firefighters or a research ethics board.
How can research help firefighters?
Research can help us convince governments or agencies that firefighter health issues are important and need attention. Sometimes it helps us find new solutions. Sometimes it helps us improve existing programs. Some firefighters get interested in the research process and can become more involved as research champions.
Research is a slow process and can be frustrating, especially for firefighters who are used to quick decisions and actions. Usually, one study is a building block in creating answers to complex problems. One study never solves a problem.
What can I do to help?
We need and appreciate the answers you give to all the questionnaires involved in the program, and when we send out follow-up questions that allow us to understand the impact it had on your life. Answer honestly and completely. Your information is confidential. There are no right or wrong answers. All feedback is useful to help us to help you.