Release Date: November 20, 2014
BUFFALO, N.Y. – With the Western New York lake effect storms entering their fourth day, stresses on first responders, National Guard members and snow-removal crews are increasing, says University at Buffalo research professor of epidemiology and environmental health and former New York State trooper John Violanti, PhD.
“The biggest problem that first responders face is fatigue,” says Violanti, a faculty member in the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions and an expert on police culture, psychological stress, illness and mortality. He has federal funding to study and measure police officer fatigue and the impact of shift work on health and performance.
“The New York State troopers and all first responders are working endless shifts, not getting home to care for their own families, sleeping at the barracks, and eating whatever they can find,” says Violanti. “The second issue is the overwhelming multitude of emergency calls to first responders that are virtually impossible to handle.”
Violanti, a veteran trooper, recalls being stuck for three days at a service area between Syracuse and Buffalo during the blizzard of 1966 and how during the blizzard of 1977, several troopers on foot on the I-190 literally carried someone to the hospital.
“There are many unsung firefighter and police heroes out there today trying to help us get through all of this,” Violanti says.