Research Center at IFSI


The Firefighter Life Safety Research Center provides state-of-the-art facilities for developing practical solutions to the problems and perils faced by emergency responders.

IFSI enjoys unique advantages from the close proximity of our laboratories to the live testing environments. Researchers have immediate access to equipment and human participants and can quickly measure interactions in the lab. The Center also includes on-site fire and heat chambers that are invaluable in our studies on heat stress.

IFSI's research efforts focus on studies that have a direct impact on firefighters' work, health and safety. Our investigations look closely at biomechanics, physiology and other elements, with research looking at three major components:

Current Projects

Cardiovascular and Carcinogenic Risks in Modern Fires

An analysis of pertinent physiological data concerning cardiovascular and chemical exposure risks associated with firefighting activities. The goal is to provide relevant data to encourage a robust national conversation on establishing a timeline for "putting the firefighter back in service" after a fire.

SCBA Facepiece Life Cycle Testing

Details coming soon!

Ongoing and Past Projects

Effect of SCBA Design & Fatigue on Balance, Gait and Safety of Movements

An analysis of the design of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and how it affects metabolic stress levels during fire-fighting activities. The goal is to prevent injuries caused by problems with balance, mobility and over-exertion.

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Aspirin Therapies

A study of the effects of aspirin on blood circulation before and after live fire-fighting activities. Researchers are assessing aspirin's role in reducing the risk of heart attacks -- the number-one cause of firefighter deaths -- in firefighters who are over 40 years old.

Gait & Balance Assessment of Risk Factors for Trips and Falls Among Firefighters

A study of the causes of slips, trips and falls -- the number-one cause of firefighter injuries -- with a focus on developing methods for reducing these injuries.

Smoke Exposure

A project to assess the extent and impact of smoke exposure encountered in typical fire-fighting scenarios. Commissioned by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the study is measuring smoke production in the environment, deposits on personal protective equipment, penetration into the skin and absorption into the body.

Rope & Knot Strength Studies

Evaluation of how heat, temperature changes and different types of knots affect the tensile strength of rescue and escape ropes.

Firefighter Fitness Training

A project to track the long-term health and safety of firefighters who complete Academy fitness training and compare the results with those who do not.

Heat Stress

An examination of the physical and psychological effects of intense heat stress on the human body. The project includes study of the effect of over-exertion on the cardiovascular system, measurements of recovery times and evaluation of rehabilitation protocols.

Incident Scene Management of Hydration Status

Development of a low-cost, reliable tool that can be used at incident scenes to quickly assess the hydration status and rehydration needs of firefighters.

Effect of Fire-Fighting and On-Scene Rehabilitation on Homeostasis

Research into how firefighting activities affect cardiac function, blood coagulation and blood-clot formation, with an emphasis on how to help firefighters recover at incident scenes.

Cardiovascular Responses to Firefighting:Impact of Excess Body Weight on Cardiovascular Function

An examination of cardiac risk factors in obese vs. "lean" firefighters. Comparisons included systolic and central blood pressure, arterial stiffness and blood-clotting profiles before and after fire-fighting activities.

Physiological, Psychological Effects of Fire-Fighting Activities

Examination of the reasons behind the increasing proportion of injuries compared to the number of fires. Despite a decreasing number of fires, injuries remain constant.

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