Posts Tagged NIOSH

Study to investigate health hazards for firefighters

Excerpts from

During a collaborative research project underway now at the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), researchers are not only testing contaminates on the gear, but on skin as well. They’re also monitoring gases created as furniture and carpeting burn. But, that’s just part of the multi-faceted study involving researchers from IFSI, UL, NIOSH, University of Illinois, Chicago, and Skidmore College.

… 12 Illinois firefighters and researchers got underway [with] Each firefighter [having] blood drawn, vitals and temperatures checked. Urine samples were tested for certain markers as well as hydration. They were equipped with a device that will monitor the heart for the next 12 hours.

Dr. Denise Smith explained that part of the research is determining the impact of firefighting on the cardio-vascular system. “We talk about putting the rig back in service. How long does it take to get a firefighter back in service? We’re looking to see if there are changes hours after the firefighter does their work.”

Each year, dozens of firefighters die not on the fireground, but hours after the incident.

Firefighters participating in the study wore new gear to make sure samples were not skewed. They carried three chemical collection units, smaller than portable radios, in their coat pockets. When they completed their tasks, these was removed and tested.

UL and NIOSH engineers set up sensitive equipment to monitor gases and heat inside the rooms that would burn or exposed to smoke and heat.

UL Research Engineer Robin Zevotek set up thermal sensors from the floor to ceiling two feet apart in rooms that would burn. In other areas, they were placed a foot apart. During the scenario, he would be able to watch the temperatures on a nearby monitor.

In a hallway, devices would capture the data at one, three and five foot levels. The lowest would be where a victim would likely be, while others would be firefighters either crawling or walking.


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NIOSH Report on Homewood, IL LODD

The Neighborhood has an article about the fire which resulted in the tragic death of Homewood firefighter/paramedic Brian Carey and the serious injuries incurred by firefighter/paramedic Karra Kopas in March of this year.  The article can be seen HERE and the NIOSH report summarizing the events surrounding the fire can be obtained HERE.

NIOSH report cites numerous errors in fatal Homewood fire

September 20, 2010


A report obtained Monday by the SouthtownStar on the Homewood house fire in March that took the life of a Homewood firefighter and a resident cites several errors that occurred as firefighters were battling the blaze.

The report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health said contributing factors included an incomplete 360-degree situational size-up (of the fire scene); an inadequate risk-vs.-gain analysis; ineffective fire control tactics; insufficient staffing, uncoordinated ventilation and its effect on fire behavior; inadequate command, control and accountability; and failure to recognize, understand and react to deteriorating conditions.

The report also said the breathing apparatus facepiece somehow got removed from Brian Carey, 28, the Homewood firefighter/paramedic who died fighting the fire. Resident Wendell Elias, 87, also died in the fire.

Homewood firefighter/paramedic Karra Kopas suffered second- and third-degree burns battling the fire. She has been recovering but still is not back on the job at the fire department.


• NIOSH Report (.pdf)

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