Date of Conferral
Firefighter Emergency Medical Service (EMS) responder personnel are at a high risk for occupational exposures to bloodborne and airborne infectious pathogens due to their unpredictable work duties in the pre-hospital environment. Not much is known about the compliance with Universal Precautions (UP) among firefighter EMS responders' personnel with regards to occupational exposures to infectious diseases. The purpose of this cross-sectional research study was to determine the relationship between compliance with UP, knowledge of UP, attitudes towards UP, occupational practices, and occupational exposures to bloodborne and airborne pathogens to prevent transmission of infectious disease among firefighter EMS responder personnel in the pre-hospital environment. A convenience sample (n = 246, 99% response) was gathered from the 6 career fire service departments in Miami-Dade County Florida. The participants completed a 40-question, self-administered survey questionnaire. Research questions and related hypotheses were evaluated with Pearson's product moment correlation, t test, analysis of variance, and linear regression models. In this study, the correlation between knowledge and compliance with UP was statistically significant (p = 0.005). This suggest that the compliance with UP among firefighter EMS responder participants increased with increase in knowledge. However, firefighter EMS personnel are not consistently complying with UP to prevent exposures to infectious diseases in the pre-hospital work environment. This research contributed to positive social change by increasing innovative knowledge that will allow the firefighter EMS responders to improve occupational practices and compliance with universal precautions.