Evaluation of Interventions to Reduce Firefighter Exposures.

Burgess JL, Hoppe-Jones C, Griffin SC, Zhou JJ, Gulotta JJ, Wallentine DD, Moore PK, Valliere EA, Weller SR, Beitel SC, et al. 2020. Evaluation of Interventions to Reduce Firefighter Exposures. J Occup Environ Med. 62:279–288. doi:10.1097/JOM.0000000000001815.

OBJECTIVE: Evaluate the effectiveness of firefighter exposure reduction interventions.

METHODS: Fireground interventions included use of self-contained breathing apparatus by engineers, entry team wash down, contaminated equipment isolation, and personnel showering and washing of gear upon return to station. Urinary polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon metabolites (PAH-OHs) were measured after structural fire responses before and after intervention implementation. Separately, infrared sauna use following live-fire training was compared to standard postfire care in a randomized trial.

RESULTS: The fireground interventions significantly reduced mean total urinary postfire PAH-OHs in engineers (-40.4%, 95%CI -63.9%, -2.3%) and firefighters (-36.2%, 95%CI -56.7%, -6.0%) but not captains (-11.3% 95%CI -39.4%, 29.9%). Sauna treatment non-significantly reduced total mean PAH-OHs by -43.5% (95%CI -68.8%, 2.2%).

CONCLUSIONS: The selected fireground interventions reduced urinary PAH-OHs in engineers and firefighters. Further evaluation of infrared sauna treatment is needed.