How to Reduce Health and Safety Risks for First Responders

First responders risk everything to protect their communities—and these heroes deserve protection from the health and safety risks they face when performing their life-saving services.

The nature of first responders’ uncontrolled work environments leads to accidental exposure to dangerous chemicals, opioids, bodily fluids, fumes, and hazardous building materials, among many other concerns. These can lead to long-term health impacts, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, renal disease, respiratory disease, and death.

First responders need professional support to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, control, and communicate the unique hazards they face—and that is where Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) professionals provide invaluable expertise that is proven to protect workers.

How OEHS Professionals Can Support First Responders

OEHS professionals work alongside first responders and safety officers during regular work activity and in emergency response to identify potential risks that present immediate or long-term health implications. In addition, OEHS professionals can partner with emergency medical technicians, paramedics, firefighters, and police officers, as well as other certified or non-traditional first responders.

First Responders Infographic

While first responders are at a higher level of health risk due to the potentially dangerous environments in which they work, these risks—and the costly downstream that comes with them—can be minimized by working with an OEHS expert.

In the below ‘Resources by Type,’ you will find more information including case studies and relevant news articles about how OEHS professionals help first responder teams. If you’re ready to partner with an OEHS expert to safeguard your team, find a consultant through AIHA’s Consultant Directory.

Resources by Type

To learn more about how to protect the health and safety of first responders, we encourage you to review these resources:


Healthier Workplaces and Schools eBook

The recent pandemic has taught us many important lessons about the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, RSV, and measles in indoor environments. As a result, we must take advantage of what we have learned to help ensure our places of work are and continue to be safe places for our workers, customers, and communities. Many of the steps you can take to help keep buildings and the people in them safer and healthier are simple and effective and can be adjusted to meet the current situation or infectious disease risk that exists. In this e-book, we will walk you through the different approaches to help mitigate the risk of spreading airborne infectious diseases depending on your workplace setting.