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This profile summarizes the common issues and duties for fire fighters. Fire fighters may be called to any number of settings or workplaces. It is impossible to predict all of the possible hazards a fire fighter may encounter. The demands of fire fighting can be sporadic and unpredictable with intermittent periods of intense physical and psychological stress. This summary focuses on the major job duties that most fire fighters (those fighting primarily structural fires) would have in common.
Main duties of a fire fighter include:
Specialized teams may be organized to respond to emergencies involving specific hazardous products or situations.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has evaluated the carcinogenicity of occupational exposure of a firefighter as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1) based on sufficient evidence for cancer in humans. IARC concluded that there was:
Fire fighters also develop:
Fire fighters will need to know:
All workers should:
Because of the wide variety of situations where a fire fighter may work, and the vast range of activities done and materials encountered, all situations cannot be covered in this document.
NOTE: If you have health concerns, ask your doctor or medical professional for advice.
If you have any questions or concerns about your specific workplace, you can ask one or more of the following for help:
General information is available in OSH Answers or through the CCOHS person-to-person Inquiries Service.