Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

First Advisor

E. Scott Dunlap

Department Affiliation

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

Second Advisor

Andrew T. Tinsley

Department Affiliation

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

Third Advisor

Earl H. Blair

Department Affiliation

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

Abstract

This research measured heavy metals, specifically cadmium, chromium, copper, and lead, on the surface of the firefighters bunker gear. Despite the fact that many studies have been conducted regarding the presence of organics in smoke emissions from structure fires, very few studies have investigated the extent of heavy metal emissions found during a structure fire. Using a wipe test procedure samples were collected from firefighters following a structure fire and analyzed for metals. Three locations on the bunker gear were used, the knee, elbow, and chest areas. The results showed that varying amounts of cadmium, chromium, copper and lead adhere to a firefighter's bunker gear in all locations following a fire. Some lead concentrations found on firefighters bunker gear exceeded the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standards for clearance in residential homes. There are no surface standards for cadmium, chromium, and copper however, if the same levels where found using air monitoring they could potentially exceed ACGIH recommendations and NIOSH standards for an 8 hour time weighted average requiring continuous protection.

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