Caring about the future

FUMEXP - Fire-fighters smoke exposure and related health effects
Coordinator - Ana Isabel Miranda
Programme - PTDC/AMB/66707/2006
Execution dates - 2008-01-01 - 2010-12-31 (36 Months)
Funding Entity - FCT
Funding for CESAM - 148982 €
Total Funding - 199154 €
Proponent Institution - Universidade de Aveiro
Participating Institutions
Associação para o Desenvolvimento da Aerodinâmica Industrial - Universidade de Coimbra
Faculdade de Medicina - Universidade de Coimbra

Project Description

There is a general agreement about the importance of forest fires as a major emission source of air pollutants to the atmosphere. However, the current state of knowledge about the potential health impacts on the affected communities and, in particular, in the personnel involved in firefighting operations is scarce and in some cases dubious. FUMEXP project, through the analysis of the potential effect of forest-fire smoke emissions on firemen health, intends to fill some of the gaps in the existing knowledge in this issue. This objective will be accomplished through extensive field measurements, during wildfires and experimental field burnings, of personal exposure of a group of firefighters that will be accompanied during two fire seasons.
The integration of results with personal activities will allow evaluating the correlation between the job tasks of each fireman and the attained concentration levels. In this scope, the use of portable equipment for in continuum measuring and data-logging is fully justified, in particular due to the importance of peak exposures. The experimental data collecting procedure that will be developed and implemented will also address the measurement of air pollutants levels and meteorological parameters. The knowledge of the characteristics of the fire, particularly the intensity of flames and smoke, will complete the needed information and data for a multivariable analysis of the overall dimension of the occupational exposure of firefighters. This study intends to develop operational exposure management actions based on the identification of the key factors that induce the occurrence of hazardous smoke exposures during real firefighting conditions.
The analysis will be improved through the application of an air quality modelling system that will allow obtaining three dimensional concentration fields of a wider range of pollutants (comparing with the ones considered in the measurements). One of the great advantages of this technique is the possibility to have a more detailed spatial distribution of data on an integrated mesoscale/microscale basis. The simulation will allow establishing a bridge between the exposure measurements and the medical tests, improving the integrated analysis of cause-effect relation between exposure values and effects on health and contributing to the knowledge of the working conditions of firefighters within real fire conditions.
Medical tests on selected firefighters constitute the last phase in the analysis of the potential health injuries resulting from this activity.

Project webpage

CESAM members on this project
Ana Isabel Miranda
Carlos Borrego
Joana Valente
PhD Student

Pos-Doc Researcher

PhD Student
PhD Student

CESAM Funding: UIDP/50017/2020 + UIDB/50017/2020 + LA/P/0094/2020