Nationwide call for fire department participation in Firefighter Exposure Assessment Study

November 22, 2023

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), in collaboration with the Fire Protection Resource Foundation (FPRF), have launched a crucial firefighter exposure assessment study.

This significant research endeavor seeks participation from fire departments of various sizes and types across the United States.

The primary aim is to correlate different fire types, such as structural house fires, commercial building fires, vehicle fires, and wildland fires, with the contaminants that deposit on structural firefighting turnout gear.

Study Objective: Understanding contaminant deposition in firefighter exposure

The focus of this study is to gather detailed data on how various types of fires impact the safety gear used by firefighters.

This valuable information will be instrumental in developing tailored cleaning and decontamination strategies, enhancing the safety and effectiveness of firefighting equipment.

By understanding the specific contaminants associated with different fire types, the study aims to improve overall firefighter safety and health.

Participation Process: How fire departments can help

NIOSH/NPPTL and FPRF are calling on fire departments to assist in this vital study. Participating firefighters are required to attach a provided swatch of outer shell fabric to their gear and wear it throughout one fire event.

After the event, the firefighter will place the swatch back in its pouch, indicate the type of fire on the pouch, and return it to the NIOSH/NPPTL facility in Morgantown, WV.

The study, aiming for comprehensive data collection, hopes to have all swatches returned by April 30, 2024.

Call to Action: How to get involved

Fire departments willing to contribute to this pivotal study are encouraged to reach out.

Contact Crystal D. Forester at ckf7@cdc.gov for participation.

Each participating department will receive a box containing all necessary materials, including swatches and self-addressed stamped envelopes, along with detailed instructions.

FSJA Comment

The Firefighter Exposure Assessment Study represents a significant endeavor in the field of firefighter safety and health.

By understanding the specific contaminants associated with different types of fires, this study will contribute to the development of effective cleaning and decontamination strategies and pave the way for enhanced protective measures for firefighters.

The active participation of fire departments nationwide is crucial in this collective effort to ensure the safety and well-being of those who bravely face fires to protect our communities.

The study’s outcomes could lead to groundbreaking advancements in firefighting gear maintenance and health safety protocols, underscoring the importance of collaborative research in public safety sectors.

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