Firefighter Respiratory and Cardiovascular Health: Climate Change & Smoke Exposure

Firefighter Respiratory and Cardiovascular Health: Climate Change & Smoke Exposure

About the webinar:

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:
At the completion of this activity, the learner will be able to:

  • 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

Ilias Kavouras, PhD
Dr. Kavouras holds the position of Professor at CUNY School of Public Health. Dr. Kavouras’ research lies on the interface of chemical and health sciences to understand the coupling of atmospheric pollution and human health including the role of climate change. His research focuses on particulate matter sources and composition, development of aerosol characterization technologies, wildfires smoke emissions, geospatial, receptor and inverse modeling, and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. He has developed novel analytical protocols, geospatial analysis methods and state-of-the-art instrumentation.

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