Fire fighter

Risk level

A saviour in our hour of need

Putting out fires, helping out after accidents and lots of other duties are all part of a firefighter's work. It's a job with variety that many dream of, but also involves large risks. Good health is important to be able to do the job, and anyone with asthma will find it hard to get in.

What are the risks?

Fires generate smoke gases that irritate the airways, which can cause coughing, streaming eyes and breathing difficulties. If toxic substances are burning, the smoke can trigger an asthma attack even if you haven't had one before.

The training and work include smoke diving, in other words entering buildings full of smoke. Smoke diving is extremely strenuous and firefighters are tested regularly to ensure that they are up to it. If you have asthma, or any other condition that makes breathing more difficult, you must not work with smoke diving, as the risks in your particular case are too great.

Prevention and avoidance

On call-outs, firefighters always wear protective equipment for breathing and for their body. It is important that firefighters stay fit so that they can work in difficult conditions.

If you have any type of problem with your airways, think carefully before deciding to become a firefighter.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions or want to know more about asthma, allergy and eczema when working as a fire fighter, get in touch with your school nurse or careers adviser.