Why do firefighters get more heart disease

An unusual research project we fund is looking for clues about the causes of heart attacks – by working with firefighters on duty.

This £187,000 project, which is possible thanks to your donations, is a unique collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and the Lothian and Borders Fire Service.

The science

The reason for the project is that firefighters are more likely to suffer from a heart attack on duty than at other times. We don’t yet fully understand why, but it’s likely to be a combination of the heat and different stresses put on the body when fighting fire.

To work out the effect their job has on the heart, our researchers are following the firefighters during fire training, when they tackle blazes at up to 700 degrees Celsius. 




The researchers are taking measurements of the heart and blood vessels of firefighters before they tackle a blaze at their Edinburgh training facility.

How this research could help heart patients

It’s important to work out how firefighting puts such a strain on the body, because it could help find new ways to look after the health of our firefighters. They risk their lives to keep us safe, so we hope that this research might help us give something back.

Support heart research

We need your donations to help us fund more cutting-edge heart research.