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Why aren’t you wearing your PPE? New study says it’s public image & peer pressure

PA New Kensington truck fire 1

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Read: Situational Pressures that Influence Firefighters’ Decision Making about Personal Protective Equipment: A Qualitative Analysis

Jennifer Taylor, PhD, associate professor in Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health and her team, used data from 123 firefighters interviews across the country to determine why they often refrain from using personal protective equipment (PPE) in dangerous situations. Their work was featured in the American Journal of Health Behavior.

What the researchers found through their interviews was that many firefighters feel pressured against using the proper safety gear by older, more experienced co-workers, as well as the public image of a firefighter as a daredevil.

“Our society has a romanticized notion of what firefighters do, which is kill themselves,” Anthony, a firefighter of 20-plus years, said in the study. “And we do everything we can in the fire service to reinforce that.”

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