Physiological and psychological strain of firefighters during emergency response scenarios

Traditionally, a firefighter’s primary responsibility is to fight fires; however, only a small percentage of time is actually spent on this task. Moreover, in urban centres such as Toronto, most emergency calls are non-fire related, including emergency medical responses and automotive accidents on major highways. As a result, firefighters are required to wear either partial protective clothing ensembles or full encapsulation with self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) regardless of the ambient temperature. Although several studies have simulated the physiological strain associated with firefighting, limited data exists incorporating the added emotional stress associated with real-life emergency response scenarios. Therefore, this project will examine the physiological, psychological and biochemical responses associated with repetitive exposure to the complex stressors present in a firefighter’s occupational environment. From a multi-system perspective, empirical field-data will be provided relating biochemical indices to physiological limits to aid in the management and development of industry health and safety standards.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Stephen Cheung


Glen Selkirk





Life sciences


Brock University



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