Physiological, Immunological and Contaminant Monitoring of Firefighters and Instructors

Alan Richardson, Peter Watt, Emily Watkins, Nadia Terrazzini

Research output: Book/ReportProject report


This study sort to evaluate the physiological responses, psychological consequences and contamination levels of Firefighters and Fire Instructors, in response to their exposure volumes and types. To do this we measured blood and urine from a large sample of Firefighters, Fire Instructors and small control group over a 6 month period. Fire personnel also provided urines samples after every exposure to look at contamination levels. In a small subset, we attempted to measure heart rate and core temperature during live fire operations.
The main findings demonstrated that:
- There is a severe inflammatory response in some Fire Instructors, which is likely to be the result of severe over exposure to extreme heat and activity. This further supports the restriction of fire exposure volume for these individuals.
- The physiological analysis equipment available at present is not sufficient for widespread use within Fire Services. Physiological monitoring set ups are possible in fixed scenario training activities with time to don equipment.
- Firefighters and Instructors are exposed to carcinogenic substances. High frequency exposure may lead to elevated levels of contamination. Methods to reduce exposure should be considered, with guidance needed regarding decontamination techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages96
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2022


  • heat
  • carcinogens
  • Firefighting
  • thermoregulation


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