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Fire service instructors’: Limit exposures to 9 per month

New research published in Experimental Physiology suggests that fire service instructors are at increased risk of cardiovascular diseases due to higher levels of inflammation in their blood, and so their exposure should be limited to nine exposures per month.

During their lessons to firefighters, fire service instructors experience core temperature increases to over 38°C when demonstrating scenarios to firefights. Fire service instructors experience this physiological strain over ten times more frequently than firefighters. Researchers in the UK found that this causes inflammation that lasts beyond the day of their exposure. This chronic inflammation may explain the increased precedence of health problems in this group.

The researchers collected blood samples from 110 fire service personnel and compare fire service instructors to firefights in terms of markers that indicate increased risk of heart disease. They found elevated levels in the blood of fire service instructors for all the markers they examined.

They speculated that these markers, which indicate inflammation might also be linked to other symptoms that fire service instructors report, such as mood swings, night sweats, fatigue, but only future studies will confirm this.

Commenting on the study, lead researcher Emily Watkins said:

“The fire service industry must reflect on work rota to ensure that fire service instructors can do their job for long as they want, whilst protecting their cardiovascular health.”


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