11. Occupational Illness and Injury in Firefighters

  1. Michael I. Greenberg MD, MPH, FAAEM, FACPM, FACOEM
  1. Richard T. Tovar MD, FACEP, FACMT

Published Online: 18 FEB 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444329629.ch11

Occupational Emergency Medicine

Occupational Emergency Medicine

How to Cite

Tovar, R. T. (2011) Occupational Illness and Injury in Firefighters, in Occupational Emergency Medicine (ed M. I. Greenberg), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444329629.ch11

Editor Information

  1. Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Author Information

  1. Medical College of Wisconsin and New Berlin Police and Fire Department, Delafield, WI, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 FEB 2011
  2. Published Print: 11 FEB 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405180719

Online ISBN: 9781444329629



  • firefighters;
  • occupational illness


Injuries that may result in the death of a firefighter include those due to blunt trauma (such as collapse of a structure), burns, or toxicant chemicals (most commonly smoke inhalation). Firefighters may also be subjected to a variety of environmental and work-specific stressors including excessive heat or cold. In addition, the physical stressors inherent in climbing ladders, hauling hose, carrying heavy objects, and the like may contribute to acute illness or injury in these workers. The emergency physician must be aware of the work environment that firefighters operate in as well as the potential for work-related illness and injury beyond the obvious risk for burns, smoke inhalation, or trauma. These workers may be more at risk for cyanide toxicity, acute and chronic cardiac events, and a variety of infectious diseases.