July 9, 2014
Lexington, Ky.

 University of Kentucky Department of Forestry Professor Jeffrey Stringer has been awarded funding by the Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center (CARERC) for a pilot research project that is developing a web-based application that identifies the closest emergency personnel for those injured in the logging industry. He is one of five recipients of research funding from CARERC.

A professor of hardwood silviculture and forest operations, Stringer's current research project would aid all those working in the forest and wood industry, which provides 59,300 jobs in 109 of Kentucky's 120 counties, as well as providing over 12.8 billion dollars annually to the state's economy. The industry is based on the production of hardwood sawlogs and pulpwood, which are harvested by over 1,300 family owned logging firms.

Stringer's pilot project is aimed at developing a web-based application to automatically generate least-travel-time routes from user-defined logging sites to the closest emergency personnel location (EPL). Under regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), contractors are required to provide access routes from any given logging site to EPLs, such as hospitals and police and fire stations, prior to the start of ground operations. Normally, access routes are in the form of printed maps and/or a set of directions that are found by using applications like Google or MapQuest; however, while these are helpful tools, they don’t always provide the best EPL, especially if there are multiple locations.

When accidents happen on logging sites, finding the fastest possible route and closest EPL is crucial, thus enhancing the importance of Stringer's research. His application would have the ability to be used with a mobile interface and/or developed into an app for smartphone usage. The application will also store all requested access routes, as well as expected harvesting duration to maintain an an online spatial dataset displaying active logging sites and associated access routes to EPL's at any given time.

The research team plans to implement the pilot project among the 54 rural counties within Kentucky's Central Appalachain region; however the project is designed to eventually be applicable to the entire CARERC catchment area (eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, southern West Virginia, western Virginia, and western North Carolina).

CARERC is one of 18 university-based occupational safety and health training programs in the United States. Their mission is to provide state-of-the-art interdisciplinary occupational safety and health research, education and training opportunities for stakeholders in 177 high-need counties of eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, and Virginia.


Courtney Eckdahl, cdeckdahl@uky.edu, 859-218-1304

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