Respiratory diseases remain a significant health issue for fire fighters and emergency responders.  It is the number three killer in North America, exceeded by heart disease and cancer.  While heart disease and cancer in the fire service have received the attention, rightfully so; respiratory diseases in the fire service have not.  Many incorrectly believe with the use of respiratory protection and smoking the lowest in almost all other occupations, respiratory disease is a fire service disease of the past.  This is far from the truth.

Although medical progress has led to improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory diseases, prevention remains the best method of decreasing the number of such diseases and related deaths. However, understanding diseases of the respiratory system, identifying respiratory disease-causing agents, and avoiding exposure to these agents are keys in preventing fire fighter respiratory diseases.

To this end, under a cooperative agreement with the United States Fire Administration, the IAFF has completed a first ever manual fully addressing all aspects of respiratory issues.  We assembled over 32 physicians and pulmonary specialists to author chapters, which were then reviewed by over 20 experts.  It is now available on the IAFF website, under the Occupational Health, Safety and Medicine Section.  The IAFF knows that you will find this

Respiratory Diseases in the Fire Service manual both informative and useful.