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burning building

Job Hazards

Structural Hazards

Every fire is different. Each structural or vehicle fire involves different hazards and exposures. These exposures depend on:

  1. building material
  2. materials stored within
  3. fire conditions, such as temperature and oxygen availability

The phase of a fire can influence exposure level. Knockdown typically has higher exposure to heated gas, vapors, and particulate matter compared to overhaul. Respiratory protection is more likely to be worn during knockdown. Though exposures may still exist at lower levels during overhaul, respiratory protection is less often used.

Learn what we are doing to better understand what hazards structural fire fighters are exposed to and how exposure occurs.

Chemical Exposures

Current Projects
  • Assessment of dermal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) exposures in fire fighters
  • This study is being done to better understand dermal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in fire fighters. The level of PAH exposures in fire fighters depends on the effectiveness of the personal protective equipment (PPE) they wear. It is currently unknown how well turnout gear protects fire fighters from dermal exposure to particulate matter containing PAHs.

Diesel Exhaust


Emergency Response Hazards


Fire-Damaged Floor


Job Stress

Other Publications