Advancing our understanding of firefighter training exposures
While the Fire Service has become more aware of the cardiovascular and chemical exposure risks apparent on the fireground, there has yet to be strong research conducted around firefighter training environments that may place firefighters at risk for cardiovascular events and cancer.
Many believe that training fires are less hazardous than the fireground, but do not have any supporting data pointing to that conclusion. For some firefighters, training fires may represent a majority of their live-fire responses. That combined with the ever-changing fuels used in live-fire training, it is necessary to evaluate the potential exposures that may be created for the firefighter. This study aims to examine the cardiovascular and chemical risks associated with firefighter training as well as ways to mitigate and reduce those risks.
The Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) teams reconvened much of the same data collection instrumentation used in the Cardiovascular and Chemical Exposure Risk on Today’s Fireground study, with firefighters responding to training scenarios similar to that utilized to prepare for a response to a fire in a single-family home.
Expanding on previous research to answer new questions
Data analysis is currently on-going to study the impact of different training environments on thermal strain, cardiovascular stress, and chemical exposures as well as comparing to the similar fireground data from the previous study.
For this study, the team created three common training environments that involved either natural wood (pallet), oriented strand board (OSB), or obscuration through theatrical smoke within a common training structure (concrete building or metal structure). Before and after firefighters conducted various scenarios within these training environments, concentrations of airborne contaminants (PAHs, VOCs, acid gases, isocyanates and aldehydes), biological exposures, and physiological responses of firefighters and fire instructors were evaluated for comparison.
The ultimate deliverable from this study will be an educational toolkit that will make this critical new data immediately available for the fire service to utilize. Along with the toolkit, there will also be an online training course developed by UL FSRI.
- This research highlights the health impacts of fire service training activities and exposures.
- It evaluates firefighter and fire instructor physiological responses, biological exposures, and concentrations of airborne contaminants based on various scenarios within common training environments.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article Summarizes New Dual-Purpose PPE Testing/Training Prop
We know PPE must be cleaned regularly, but the effectiveness of repeated cleaning and potential impact on protective properties are unknown. This prop provides a controlled exposure scenario for repeated exposures (and subsequent cleanings) to capture data and learn more.
Online Training Helps Firefighters Identify Ways to Reduce Cardiovascular and Chemical Exposure Risks During Training
This course is designed to help firefighters, fire instructors and training officers identify and incorporate best practices and control measures to reduce risk during training and reinforce muscle memory for use during fireground response.
Firehouse Supplement Highlights Cardiovascular and Chemical Exposures During Training
The UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute, Illinois Fire Service Institute, and the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety have published the new FIREHOUSE supplement Cardiovascular & Chemical Exposure Risk Considerations During Training.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article Provides Understanding of Airborne Contaminants Produced by Different Fuel Packages During Firefighter Training
Firefighters are exposed to various airborne pollutants and contaminants during emergency responses, but may also be exposed on the training ground depending on the types of training fuels utilized. Learn about suggested usage of protective equipment and decontamination procedures.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article Highlights Firefighter and Fire Instructor Physiological Responses and Safety in Various Training Environments
For firefighters around the world, fire training is vital to ensure operational readiness, but there are still hazards associated. This journal article details the research conducted on various training environments and the firefighters' and fire instructors' physiological responses.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article Highlights Firefighters' and Instructors’ Absorption of PAHs and Benzene During Training Exercises
Read about research conducted to understand how live-fire training may contribute to firefighters' and instructors' chemical exposures by monitoring the use of various fuels and environments including combinations of pallets, straw, oriented strand board (OSB), or the use of simulated smoke.