Firefighting is one of the most perilous professions, primarily due to the constant exposure to life-threatening situations. Firefighters often battle intense flames, collapsing structures, and hazardous materials. The risk of smoke inhalation, burns, and heat stress is ever-present. Additionally, they frequently confront hazardous chemical and biological substances in their line of duty. Firefighters are exposed to a host of carcinogens in the line of duty, including asbestos, benzene, flame retardants, formaldehyde, polychlorinated biphenyls, PAHs, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (collectively known as PFAS).
Firefighters confront a multitude of health risks in their line of duty, with heart disease ranking prominently as a significant threat, responsible for 45 percent of all work-related firefighter deaths. The act of firefighting itself amplifies this risk, as the physically demanding work, exposure to carbon monoxide, and high stress levels contribute to heart attacks. Factors such as lack of physical fitness, obesity, and smoking further compound the dangers. Cancer is another grave concern, with firefighters being over twice as likely to be diagnosed with invasive forms of the disease due to their exposure to cancer-causing materials during firefighting. Additionally, the profession poses risks of chronic respiratory diseases and hepatitis B and C infections.