Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Industrial Engineering (Engineering)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Shihab Asfour

Second Committee Member

Moiez A. Tapia

Third Committee Member

Sara Czaja

Fourth Committee Member

Chad Brocato

Fifth Committee Member

Arzu Onar


Back injury prevention programs are cost efficient typically by reducing the num-ber of work-related injuries and lost work days in both fire fighters. Injury rates and sick leave usage can be reduced, thereby controlling overtime costs associated with filling vacant positions or utilizing other agencies for response. The measurement of fitness using exercise models is an important part of any fitness program and also the firefighters’ annual fitness evaluation. Those exercise models require cost, time and expose firefighters to risks of injury. We examined the difference in perceptions and knowledge about musculoskeletal injuries among emergency workers personnel with an emphasis on back injuries. Taking into consideration age groups, years of experience and measured fitness levels. We also gathered some input about topics for injury prevention programs. We used the results of the assessment to help design, implement and evaluate an eight weeks, comprehensive and easy to implement calisthenics exercise back injury prevention program that best fit the needs of emergency services personnel utilizing the basic resources that any emergency response facility and any emergency personnel has access to without the need of complicated equipment for exercise or fitness measurement. The program also included an education session with an overall goal of educating and strengthening uniformed personnel so that their mental, physical, and emotional capabilities are resilient enough to withstand the stresses and strains of life and the workplace. We used the exercise aerobic fitness data collected for our participants to validate the use of current non-exercise models developed before for different populations. Then used our firefighter’s data to develop a model for firefighters specifically given their unique age and fitness distribution with the goal to reduce costs, resources allocated and injury risks that can result from the current methods used for aerobic fitness measurement during annual physicals or measurement of fitness as a part of fitness program for firefighters.


Back injuries; firefighters; fitness program