Evaluation of interventions to reduce firefighter exposures

Authors: Burgess JL, Hoppe-Jones C, Griffin SC, Zhou JJ, Gulotta JJ, Wallentine DD, Moore PK, Valliere EA, Weller SR, Beitel SC, Flahr LM, Littau SR, Dearmon-Moore D, Zhai J, Jung AM, Garavito F, Snyder SA.


Evaluate the effectiveness of firefighter exposure reduction interventions.


Fireground interventions included use of self-contained breathing apparatus by engineers, entry team wash down, contaminated equipment isolation, and personnel showering and washing of gear upon return to station. Urinary polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon metabolites (PAH-OHs) were measured after structural fire responses before and after intervention implementation. Separately, infrared sauna use following live-fire training was compared to standard postfire care in a randomized trial.


The fireground interventions significantly reduced mean total urinary postfire PAH-OHs in engineers (-40.4%, 95%CI -63.9%, -2.3%) and firefighters (-36.2%, 95%CI -56.7%, -6.0%) but not captains (-11.3% 95%CI -39.4%, 29.9%). Sauna treatment non-significantly reduced total mean PAH-OHs by -43.5% (95%CI -68.8%, 2.2%).


The selected fireground interventions reduced urinary PAH-OHs in engineers and firefighters. Further evaluation of infrared sauna treatment is needed.

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