Principal Investigators: Dr. Nicola Cherry and Dr. Jeremy Beach.
Contact details: Toll free phone: 1-866-492-6093

Health of First Responders


Health of first responders exposed during the Fort McMurray fires of May 2016

Thank you for your interest in this study and for taking the time to log in and find out more about what we are doing. If you are willing, we would like to include you in a study that looks at the heath, now and going forward, of those exposed to smoke, heat, dust and chemicals in fighting the fires in Fort McMurray/Wood Buffalo in May and June 2016.

We want to find out about you and your exposures during the fire and your own perceptions of how the experience during the fire has affected your health and well-being immediately after the fire and today. To do this we will ask you to fill in a questionnaire that will take about 20 minutes to complete. If you are called away before you have finished you can save your information by pressing ‘resume later,’ and complete it when you return.

Before starting the questionnaire, you will need to complete the online consent form. The consent form is in several parts, asking you to indicate your agreement to each element of the research.

In the first part of the consent form we ask you to confirm that you understand that the questionnaire is for a research study and that you know what the study entails. This is all fully explained in the information sheet which you will read before you are asked to consent.

Next we ask your consent to follow your health through Alberta’s administrative health records. This will help us to look for any unexpected health patterns among first responders going forward. We will not see your full medical record, only dates and times of any health services provided to you. If you do not feel comfortable granting us access to see this information, you can just say ‘no’ and you will still be able to complete the questionnaire.

Because many of you have had tests of respiratory function carried out by other providers than this research team, we next ask your consent to access the records of those tests carried out elsewhere: without your agreement we cannot ask to see them, even though they form an important part of this health assessment.

Finally, we ask consent to contact you again to monitor how your health is doing and to see if you might be willing to take part in any further investigations of ill-health associated with the Fort McMurray fires.

Please would you now read carefully the information sheet about this study given here. If you have any questions you can phone us on 1–866–492–6093 or contact us by email at FMacFire@ualberta.ca. We will get back to you very rapidly.

It is entirely your decision whether or not you take part in the study. If you do decide to take part, please be assured that none of the information you give us will be disclosed to ANYONE outside the research team unless you specifically request this in writing. The results will remain confidential to the University team and your individual details will not appear in any report or publication.

This study is focused primarily on Alberta municipal and county firefighters who were deployed in the Fort McMurray fires of May/June 2016. Other first responders from Alberta who were deployed are also most welcome to join. Some of the tasks described are specific to firefighters but there is a section in which you can describe other tasks you carried out during this time.

If you would like to participate please now click Health of First Responders, read and complete the consent form and if you are willing, move on to fill out the questionnaire.