The Effects of Fire Fighting and On-Scene Rehabilitation on Hemostatis

Gavin P. Horn, Steven J Petruzzello, George C Fahey, Bo Fernhall, Jeffrey A Woods, Denise L. Smith

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


Fire fighting is a dangerous occupation – in part because firefighters are called upon to perform strenuous physical activity in hot, hostile environments. Each year, approximately 100 firefighters lose their lives in the line of duty and tens of thousands are injured. Over the past 15 years, approximately 45% of line of duty deaths have been attributed to heart attacks and another 650-1,000 firefighters suffer non-fatal heart attacks in the line of duty each year. From 1990 to 2004, the total number of fireground injuries has declined, yet during this same period, the number of cases related to the leading cause of injury - overexertion/strain – remained relatively constant. It is well recognized that fire fighting leads to increased cardiovascular and thermal strain. However, the time course of recovery from fire fighting is not well documented, despite the fact that a large percentage of fire fighting fatalities occur after fire fighting activity. Furthermore, on scene rehabilitation (OSR) has been broadly recommended to mitigate the cardiovascular and thermal strain associated with performing strenuous fire fighting activity, yet the efficacy of different rehabilitation interventions has not been documented. Twenty-five firefighters were recruited to participate in a “within-subjects, repeated measures” study designed to describe the acute effects of fire fighting on a broad array of physiological and psychological measures and several key cardiovascular variables. This study provided the first detailed documentation of the time course of recovery during 2½ hours post-fire fighting. Additionally, we compared two OSR strategies (standard and enhanced) to determine their effectiveness.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherIllinois Fire Service Institute
Number of pages33
StatePublished - Nov 2010


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