A multifaceted pilot program to promote hand hygiene at a suburban fire department

Am J Infect Control. 2012 May;40(4):324-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2011.06.003. Epub 2011 Sep 9.


Background: Firefighters (FFs) and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel provide care in uncontrolled settings, where the risk of hand contamination is great and opportunities for handwashing are few. Knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about hand hygiene in this group have not been well reported.

Methods: Written surveys were administered to FFs and EMS personnel to assess their practices, attitudes, and beliefs before and after installation of alcohol hand gel dispensers, hanging of reminder posters, and completion of PowerPoint training.

Results: A majority of the participants (n = 131; 58.5%) indicated they had not received any training on hand hygiene from the fire department before the intervention. Responses to Likert scale questions about attitudes, practices, and beliefs regarding handwashing did not reveal any statistically significant differences between preintervention and postintervention surveys; however, responses to direct questions about the impact of the intervention were more promising.

Conclusions: Implementation and evaluation of an intervention to target groups of EMS personnel and FFs can guide future efforts to improve hand hygiene practices in this distinctive group.

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Firefighters*
  • Hand Disinfection / methods*
  • Hand Disinfection / standards*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Infection Control / organization & administration
  • Infection Control / standards*