First Responder Health and Safety Laboratory



Dr smith

Denise L. Smith, Ph.D., FACSM

Director of the First Responder Health and Safety Laboratory, Professor of Health and Exercise Sciences

Dr. Smith has researched the cardiovascular strain of firefighting for nearly 20 years, is highly active in the Fire Service and has collaborated with many national organizations (including the NVFC, IAFF, IAFC, NFPA) and has conducted numerous line-of-duty fatality investigations due to cardiac issues for NIOSH. She has co-authored two text books and published over 20 peer-reviewed articles related to firefighter cardiovascular health.

dr pat fehling

Patricia C. Fehling, Ph.D., FACSM

Professor of Health and Exercise Sciences

Dr. Fehling has successfully led firefighter related studies at Skidmore College, including an AFG funded study in 2007 that dealt with monitoring firefighters during duty days (24 hrs) to quantify cardiovascular strain while performing a wide range of firefighting activities. Dr. Fehling is an exercise physiologist and currently serves as the chair of the Health and Exercise Sciences Department.

Peggy Wharton

Peggy Wharton, RN, RVT, RDCS

Ultrasound Technician, Phlebotomist

Peggy Wharton has been an integral part of the First Responder Health and Safety Laboratory as lead echocardiographer, ultrasound technician, and phlebotomist.  Since joining the laboratory in 2007, Peggy has been involved in numerous research studies all while working full-time at Saratoga Hospital.

Dr. Tom Rowland

Thomas Rowland, MD

Research Associate

Dr. Rowland is a renowned researcher in the cardiovascular field, specializing in pediatric cardiology, who is also involved with our academic partner, University of Illinois Fire Service Institute.

Jeannie Haller

Jeannie Haller, MS

Research Associate

Jeannie joined the laboratory in 2011 and has assumed various roles on a number of research projects. Her current research interests include physiological status monitoring and physiological responses to heat stress.

Jacob DeBlois

Jacob DeBlois, BS

Research Associate

Jacob graduated from the Health and Exercise Sciences and Chemistry departments of Skidmore College in 2010. He has worked on several research projects in the First Responder Health and Safety Laboratory, including hydration status monitoring, baselayer materials testing, and cardiovascular responses to exercise-induced heat stress. His current research interests include the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal responses to heat stress.