September 09, 2016

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Nearly $1.5 Million In Federal Funding For Skidmore College

Federal funding for Skidmore to enhance ongoing research geared toward firefighter health and safety / With the dangers associated with firefighting, Skidmore developing comprehensive medical programs including early warning detection signs for firefighters

Saratoga Springs, N.Y. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $1,467,062 in federal funding for Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. The money was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Fire Prevention & Safety (FP&S) program. Skidmore College will receive this funding to advance Science Medicine And Research & Technology for Emergency Responders (SMARTER) program. This project will advance technology that focus on early detection of physiological abnormalities and real-time monitoring of toxic particulates that threaten firefighters. 

“Firefighters face unique health risks from the chemicals they inhale on the job. The technology developed through this grant will allow fire departments nationwide to care for their local heroes,” said Senator Schumer. “I am proud to support Skidmore’s Science Medicine And Research & Technology for Emergency Responders program because it shows just what makes New York great. We are so fortunate to have heroic first responders and world class researchers working together to make our communities safer.”

“These federal funds are a long term investment in the health and welfare of our firefighters,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Our firefighters risk their lives every day in the face of danger and this funding will enable research at Skidmore College that focuses on the primary health of our first responders. We need to do everything we can to protect these men and women, and I will always fight in the Senate to make sure that our firefighters are equipped with the most up-to-date resources and services.” 

Skidmore will develop sensor technology, advance algorithms to estimate core body temperature, and adapt and transition technology for real-time monitoring of firefighters and to support comprehensive medical programs. The research previously done at Skidmore has led to insights into the ways heat stress affects different components of the cardiovascular system and the underlying medical conditions that are related to line of duty deaths due to cardiac events. 

“We are very excited about this project because it allows us to build on all of our previous work and make available state of the art technology to the fire service to help protect the firefighters who risk so much to protect their communities,” said Denise Smith, PhD, Skidmore Professor of Health and Exercise Sciences and Director of First Responder Health and Safety Laboratory. “Our first project, funded in 2007, used physiological status monitoring to describe how firefighters responded to actual emergencies. Now the technology has maturated to the point where we can consider transitioning these tools from the researchers to the fire service to improve the health and safety of firefighters across the country.”

“This exciting work, headed by Dr. Denise Smith in our Department of Health and Exercise Science, combines the best qualities of what we do at Skidmore:  Highly qualified faculty members who are experts in their field develop research projects that address thorny problems in a field, actively engage our students in the work, and produce results that make the world a better place,” said Philip A. Glotzbach, President Skidmore College.  “Dr. Smith’s research has earned the respect of the national firefighting community for its contribution to the efforts of these public servants who routinely risk their own lives to save the lives and property of others.  Skidmore College is proud of Dr. Smith’s research and deeply appreciates DHS/FEMA’s recognition of its importance.” 

Skidmore College will work in collaboration with the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Globe Manufacturing, the National Fallen Fighters Foundation, and the Department of Defense. 

The Fire Prevention and Safety program is part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG), a Department of Homeland Security program that is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation with the United States Fire Administration. FP&S grants support projects that enhance the safety of the public and firefighters from fire and related hazards. The primary goal is to reduce injury and prevent death among high-risk populations.