Research Projects

Cardiovascular and Chemical Exposures during Fire Training Scenarios


Funding provided by: Department of Homeland Security, United States Fire Administration-Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program: Fire Prevention and Safety Grant

While the Fire Service has become more aware of the cardiovascular and chemical exposure risks apparent on the fireground, it is also important to study firefighter training environments that may place firefighters at risk for cardiovascular events and cancer. For some firefighters, training fires may represent a major proportion of their live-fire responses. At the same time, changing fuels used in firefighter training (e.g. using engineered wood products such as OSB) must be evaluated to determine risk as well as effectiveness of gross decon techniques after these events. Many believe that training fires are less hazardous than the fireground, without any supporting data.

The Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (UL FSRI) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) team 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 single family fire responses. Coordinated attack (suppression and search) in ranch style training structures constructed from concrete and steel materials were utilized with fuels including pallet and straw, pallet and OSB, and theatrical smoke and digital (simulated) fire.

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.

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