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Job Hazards

Exposures to smoke, chemicals, falling debris, and the fire itself can make fighting fires dangerous. Learn more about our current projects, published research, and conference presentations that focus on job hazards among fire fighters.

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


Diesel Exhaust


Emergency Response Hazards

Fire-Damaged Floor


Job Stress


Other Publications

Wildland Fires

Wildland fire fighters may be at risk of being exposed to fire retardants, hazardous gases, and particulates from burning wood and soil. These men and women work 14-16 hour days, on average, for up to two weeks straight. The conditions are rough. Each fire fighter typically hauls in their own supplies and camps for the duration of the job.

Wildland fire fighters are seasonal employees, which makes it difficult to study long-term health effects of job-related exposures. Therefore, most of our research among wildland fire fighters consists of exposure assessment. This page lists publications and conference presentations from our studies of job hazards among wildland fire fighters.

Conference Presentations


Chemical Exposures


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