Title of the project

Physiological, Immunological and Contaminant Monitoring of Firefighters and Instructors

Name of the award holder

Dr Alan Richardson

Supporting institution/organisation

University of Brighton

Start date

1st September 2018

Anticipated completion date

February 2020

Brief description

Fire fighters and fire instructors go through considerable physiological stress when exposed to fire. In the short-term physiological increases in core temperature and heart rate are seen alongside inflammation and suppressed immune function. Long term exposure to fires is not clearly understood. Previous work has shown that long term heat exposure suppresses immune function and causes inflammation and cardiac injury. While repeated exposure to smoke has been shown to raise contaminant levels, which are likely to increase cancer risk.

However, previous work has not investigated in combination the physiological stress, immune suppression, inflammation and contamination of fire service personnel over acute or long-term exposure. Nor has it considered the issue of exposure amounts or fire types in simulated or real fires. This proposal aims to consider these issues in a large UK fire fighter and fire instructor population to show the acute and chronic impact of fire exposure on health, which builds on this groups body of fire service research.

This novel and innovative study will finally address a number of monitoring, workload and contaminant exposure questions regularly posed by fire services nationally and internationally. This will feed into end-user friendly documentation to support future working guidance on these issues.

Outcomes being sought
  • To measure and record the physiological, immunological, inflammatory and contaminant risk of acute and chronic fire exposure on firefighter and instructors.
  • To understand the acute and chronic health risks such as cancer risk, cardiovascular health, of UK fire service personnel, with consideration to levels of exposure, types of exposure and working practices to reduce risk.
  • To create guidance for physiological monitoring, contaminant exposure risk and fire exposure workloads and working practices of firefighters and instructors across the UK. These will be completed over 6 months, post data collection and analysis.
Contact details for more information

Dr Alan Richardson
Principal Lecturer in Exercise & Environmental Physiology
University of Brighton
Carlisle Road
BN20 7SR

Tel: 01273643723
Mob: 07974245807
Email: a.j.richardson@brighton.ac.uk

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