Can You Be  a Firefighter With Asthma?

"Can you be a firefighter with asthma?"

... Is what you're wondering.

Maybe you watched the first responders going into the buildings while everyone else was running out on 9/11 and it inspired you to help people.

Maybe, you've always known that firefighting was the career for you.

Your life's vision is clear, but right now you're having doubts due to your asthma.

You're wondering if you can be a firefighter with asthma.

Well, we're going to give you the information you need to find out.​


Can You Be a Firefighter With Asthma?

Having asthma doesn't rule out firefighting as a career option.

You're probably wondering can someone with asthma​ be a firefighter?

A lot of people also ask...

Can asthmatics become firefighters?

Okay, here's the deal...

There are many successful career and volunteer firefighters with asthma.

We've worked with several asthmatic firefighters over the years.

They have been volunteer firefighters and paid firefighters.

They look back on their careers without regret because every day they went to work, they made a difference.

You can too, and here's some stuff you need to know.

What Asthmatic Firefighters Need to Know

There are certain physical standards that firefighters have to meet to be considered fit for duty.

You should be aware of the policies governing firefighters' physical conditions.

And you should have an understanding of your own condition.

Armed with this knowledge, you can make an informed decision about whether 'can I be a firefighter if I have asthma".

Career Firefighters with Asthma

NFPA 1582 6.8.1 specifies that asthma is a Category A medical condition.

You'll need to undergo a breathing test to prove that you're fit for duty.

If the test demonstrates that you can achieve appropriate airflow, then your asthma shouldn't impact your ability to be a firefighter.

If you've been declared fit for duty and your application is refused because of your asthma, then the hiring department may be committing disability discrimination.  

Precautions for Firefighters with Asthma

Asthmatic firefighters must carefully monitor their illness.

Do you know what triggers an attack for you?

  • Exercise
  • Allergies
  • Stress
  • Smoke

​As a firefighter, you may be exposed to all these during a call.

Steps to Reduce Asthma Attacks as a Firefighter

​1.  You can mitigate some risk factors by staying in shape.

2.  An exercise program can increase lung capacity and ensure that your body will be better prepared for a physically demanding firefighting job.

3.  Avoiding allergens and toxicants all together is not always possible, but you can take steps to minimize exposure.

How to Be a Firefighter with Asthma

Firefighters with asthma have to be aware of their surroundings and physical state during a call.

​Asthmatic firefighters have a plan to handle their asthma if symptoms arise while they're on duty.

Noticing early signs of an asthma attack and having the appropriate means to stop the attack keeps you safe and allow you to do this job.


You don't have to give up on your dream of becoming a firefighter because you've got asthma.

You can meet the standards set out in NFPA 1582 and take steps to prevent symptoms from arising on the job.

What's the bottom line?

You can be a firefighter with asthma.​


​1.  NFPA 1582

2.  Bronchial Challenge Test

3.  Common Asthma Triggers

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Jim Connelly

The Founder of Public Safety Elite, I'm a proud member of the Fire Service, a dedicated husband to a wonderful wife, proud father of a beautiful young lady, and passionate about Public Safety for a fulfilling career!

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