The ongoing efforts to fight and control wildfires across the country highlight the heroic role of fire fighters in protecting lives and property. NIOSH offers resources for fire departments, fire fighters, and partner organizations to prevent injury, illness, and death in the line of duty from hazards associated with fighting wildfires. These hazards can include burns, heat stress, smoke inhalation, risk of injury from operations involving rough terrain and unstable structures, and other dangers. NIOSH also provides resources for responders in rescue and clean-up activities.
Safety During Fire Cleanup
CDC Fact Sheet details types of hazards that workers may face during fire clean up efforts, including electrical hazards, carbon monoxide poisoning, musculoskeletal hazards, heat stress, hazardous materials, & confined spaces.
Fact Sheet: What You Should Know In Deciding Whether to Buy Escape Hoods, Gas Masks, or Other Respirators for Preparedness at Home and Work
Provides information on what respirators are, how they work, and what is needed for a respirator to provide adequate protection.
Hazard ID: Fire Fighters Exposed to Electrical Hazards During Wildland Fire Operations
NIOSH Publication No. 2002-112 (January 2002)
NIOSH investigated two separate incidents in 1999 in which fire fighters died or were seriously injured from exposures to electricity while fighting wildland fires.
- NIOSH Guide to the Selection and Use of Particulate Respirators
- 42 CFR Part 84 Respirator Regulations
Includes the test requirements that a filter and respirator must meet for NIOSH to grant an approval to a manufacturer.
- NIOSH Certified Equipment List
NIOSH conducts Health Hazard Evaluations (HHEs) to find out whether there are health hazards to employees caused by exposures or conditions in the workplace.
Some recent HHE reports related to firefighting have been listed below. For a comprehensive listing of HHE reports please search the HHE Database.
- Health Hazard Evaluation Report, HETA 98-0173-2782, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado
- Health Hazard Evaluation Report, HETA 96-0171-2692, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Washington, DC
- Health Hazard Evaluation Report, HETA-92-045-2260, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, New River Gorge National River, West Virginia
- Health Hazard Evaluation Report, HETA-91-312-2185, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Gallatin National Forest, Montana
- Health Hazard Evaluation Report, HETA-90-395-2121, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Sedgwick County, Kansas
- Health Hazard Evaluation Report, HETA-90-0365-2415, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Yosemite National Park, California
- Health Hazard Evaluation Report, HETA-88-320-2176, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
The NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program conducts investigations of fire fighter line-of-duty deaths to formulate recommendations for preventing future deaths and injuries.
Selected FACE Reports on Fighting Wildfires:
- Volunteer fire fighter dies and three fire fighters are injured during wildland fire - Texas
- Volunteer fire fighter dies and 5 volunteer fire fighters are injured during wildland urban interface fire - Texas
- Volunteer fire chief killed when rubber-tracked vehicle overturns at brush fire - Washington
- Lieutenant suffers sudden cardiac death at scene of a brush fire - Missouri
- Fire fighter suffers cardiac arrhythmia during grass fire operations and dies 10 days later - North Carolina
- Volunteer fire chief and fire fighter killed when a wildland engine plummeted from a fire-damaged wooden bridge into a dry creek bed - Colorado
- Volunteer Fire Fighter is Killed and Another Volunteer Fire Fighter is Injured at a Wildland/Urban Interface Fire - Oklahoma
- Career Helitack Fire Fighter Dies in Burnover During an Initial Attack at a Wildland Fire Operation - California
- A Career Fire Fighter was Killed and a Career Captain was Severely Injured During a Wildland/Urban Interface Operation - California
- Two Volunteer Fire
Fighters Die While Fighting a Wildland Fire - Kentucky
- Forest Ranger II
Dies After Receiving Second- and Third-Degree Burns Operating a Crawler
Tractor (Bulldozer) While Clearing Vegetation During a Wildland Fire
- Volunteer Fire Fighter Dies During Wildland Fire Suppression - South Dakota
- Fire Fighter Suffers Heart Arrhythmia and Dies at Wildland Fire - Washington
- Junior Volunteer Fire Fighter Dies in Tanker Rollover - Tennessee
- Volunteer Fire Fighter Dies After Being Run Over by Brush Truck During Grass Fire Attack - Texas
- Volunteer Fire Fighter Dies and Two are Injured in Engine Rollover - Alabama
- Volunteer Fire Fighter Died and a Second Was Seriously Injured After Fuel Tank Explosion - Iowa
NIOSHTIC-2 search results for FACE Reports Related to Fighting Wildfires
NIOSHTIC-2 is a searchable bibliographic database of occupational safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and journal articles supported in whole or in part by NIOSH.
Preventing Death and Injuries of Fire Fighters Operating Modified Excess/Surplus Vehicles
NIOSH Publication No. 2011-125 (December 2010)
Fire fighters may be at risk for crash-related injuries while operating excess and other surplus vehicles that have been modified for fire service use. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has summarized recommendations to prevent injuries and deaths while operating these vehicles.
Hazard ID: Traffic Hazards to Fire
Fighters While Working Along Roadways
NIOSH Publication No. 2001-143 (June 2001)
The number of fire fighters struck and killed by motor vehicles has dramatically increased within recent years. This document details case studies and provides recommendations for prevention.
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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