Assessing the Cardiovascular and Chemical Risks Faced by Firefighters

Interim Report ‘Cardiovascular and Chemical Exposure Risks in Modern Firefighting’ Released

January 21, 2016

Cardiovascular and Chemical Exposure Interim Report Collage

The UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (UL FSRI), in partnership with the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Globe Manufacturing Company and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program released the interim report, “Cardiovascular & Chemical Exposure Risks in Modern Firefighting.”

This study was designed to provide a better understanding of how operating in a modern fire environment is related to the two leading health issues facing firefighters: cardiovascular events and chemical exposures related to carcinogenic risk. Experiments were conducted to investigate how these risks are impacted by the following:

  • Different types of tactics (traditional interior attack vs. a transitional attack)
  • Variations in the firefighting location/assignment (interior attack, outside operations, outside command and overhaul)
  • Skin cleaning
  • Gross on-scene decontamination

The results presented in this interim report provide a snapshot of what had been collected and was being analyzed at that time. A detailed fire service toolkit has since been released.