This week, the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), in conjunction with Underwiters Laboratories (UL) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), undertook a study of the physiological effects of structural firefighting.
Fire Engineering Editor in Chief Bobby Halton and FireRescue Editor in Chief Erich Roden were on hand Wednesday to observe the experiments. An MSA-sponsored live stream allowed interested observers to get a closer look at the study.
“We know firefighters are exposed to a lot of ‘bad stuff’ on the fireground,” Roden said, adding that this study would allow the fire service to quantify some of the effects of that exposure.
Halton and Roden traveled to Champaign, Illinois, to get an up-close look at the experiments, some of which would allow scientists to collect samples of the particulate matter from a live-fire training scenario on the grounds. The data would be used to examine the carcinogenic and the cardiovascular impact of the fireground on firefighter health.
“Capturing the biological impact of [structural firefighting] is the real payoff of this experiment,” Halton said.
Stever Kerber of the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute provided Halton and Roden with a tour of one of the experiment sites, and discussed some of the considerations scientists had when setting up the scenarios and fire rooms, including the location of “victims” in the burn building and more.
The video of their visit was able to capture the safety briefing by Gavin Horn and Denise Smith, as well as a two-room burn experiment that included fire attack, ventilation, and overhaul (SEE PHOTOS).
An archive of the visit will be provided in the near future, courtesy of MSA.
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