Firefighters at the heart of science

Firefighters are to be studied by scientists in an attempt to understand how their heart is affected by their work.

Researchers from Edinburgh University will follow Lothian and Borders crews during training as they tackle fires which can hit 700C.

The British Heart Foundation has provided £187,000 towards the research. Firefighters are more likely to have a heart attack on duty than at other times, the charity said.

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Watch commander Steve Young, 48, a firefighter for almost 25 years, is taking part.

“My father died of a heart attack when he was only 59, so, personally, I’ve always had a close connection to heart disease,” he said.

“I didn’t know that heart attacks were the biggest risk for us firefighters. Hopefully this research will help lead to better safety for firefighters on duty.

“I’m pleased to be giving something back by helping to understand the dangers we face every day. This ­research is a positive step in the right direction.”

Take heart – Page 22