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Event Description:

Firefighters comprise the largest group of public safety employees with more than 350,000 career firefighters and more than 780,000 volunteer firefighters in the United States. Smoke inhalation is the primary risk factor of more than half of work-related deaths among them by respiratory and cardiovascular causes. It is well established that the intensity, severity, and magnitude of wildfires is increasing at alarming rates due to climate change. This presentation will discuss smoke exposures, including polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and exhaled breath condensate (EBC) biomarkers collected in real conditions to characterize lung’s physiological responses in firefighters. Novel instruments were used to assess respiratory and cardiovascular health including medical-grade wearable devices to continuously measure heart rate variability, electrodermal activity, skin temperature, blood pressure and arterial stiffness. Learners will also discuss how findings can be used to develop appropriate controls to reduce exposures and interventions to treat acute and sub-chronic inflammatory responses.

Learning Objectives:

- Identify and describe chemical hazards of wildland firefighters
- Characterize the respiratory and cardiovascular responses of smoke inhalation
- Evaluate the role of physical activity and fire characteristics on smoke exposures and resultant responses