Dr. Denise Smith describes the bright future and the change in the fire service over the last ten years, with the adoption of evidence-based research and the available FIRE ACT grant funding. These partnerships and resources help them better serve their communities and being safe and on the fireground.

Dr. Denise Smith

Denise L. Smith, Ph.D. is a Professor of Health and Exercise Sciences at Skidmore College where she directs the First Responder Health and Safety Laboratory, and a Research Scientist at the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute. She is a passionate advocate for firefighter health and safety and routinely lectures at national and international conferences.

She is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), a member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Fire Service Occupational Safety and Health committee, an investigator for the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) firefighter fatality investigation and prevention program, and an Honorary Battalion Chief at Hanover Park FD.

She completed her doctorate in Exercise Physiology at The University of Illinois. Denise has coauthored an Exercise Physiology textbook, an Advanced Cardiovascular Exercise Physiology textbook, seven book chapters, and nearly scientific papers. She has received over $12 million in federal funding from FEMA-AFG, DHS S&T, NIOSH and DOD to pursue her research agenda aimed at understanding the physiological strain of firefighting and the health risks it imposes on firefighters. Specifically, her research is focused on the cardiac, vascular, and coagulatory changes that occur during emergency operations and how these changes increase the risk of sudden cardiac events.

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About the Series

Inspiration for the Next Generation of Fire Service Leadership

The Legacies in Leadership video series captures thoughts from fire service leaders with advice for the next generation of leaders. Viewers will hear how the nation's fire service legacies started their careers, learn about the impact of notable emergency incidents, and perspectives on how the fire service has changed and what the future holds.

Meet the Speakers