A standard exercise protocol that allows comparisons across various ergonomic studies would be of great value for researchers investigating the physical and physiological strains of firefighting and possible interventions for reducing the demands. We compared the pattern of cardiorespiratory changes from 21 firefighters during simulated firefighting activities using a newly developed firefighting activity station (FAS) and treadmill walking both performed within an identical laboratory setting. Data on cardiorespiratory parameters and core temperature were collected continuously using a portable metabolic unit and a wireless ingestible temperature probe. Repeated measures ANOVA indicated distinct patterns of change in cardiorespiratory parameters and heart rate between conditions. The pattern consisted of alternating periods of peaks and nadirs in the FAS that were qualitatively and quantitatively similar to live fire activities, whereas the same parameters increased logarithmically in the treadmill condition. Core temperature increased in a similarly for both conditions, although more rapidly in the FAS. Practitioner Summary: The firefighting activity station (FAS) yields a pattern of cardiorespiratory responses qualitatively and quantitatively similar to live fire activities, significantly different than treadmill walking. The FAS can be performed in a laboratory/clinic, providing a potentially standardised protocol for testing interventions to improve health and safety and conducting return to duty decisions.
- core temperature
- heart rate
- oxygen consumption calorimetry
- test protocol
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Human Factors and Ergonomics
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation