The Impact of Heat Exposure and Sleep Restriction on Firefighters’ Work Performance and Physiology during Simulated Wildfire Suppression

Vincent, Grace E. and Aisbett, Brad and Larsen, Brianna and Ridgers, Nicola D. and Snow, Rod and Ferguson, Sally A. (2017) The Impact of Heat Exposure and Sleep Restriction on Firefighters’ Work Performance and Physiology during Simulated Wildfire Suppression. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14 (2):180. pp. 1-15. ISSN 1661-7827

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Abstract

This study was designed to examine the effects of ambient heat on firefighters’ physical task performance, and physiological and perceptual responses when sleep restricted during simulated wildfire conditions. Thirty firefighters were randomly allocated to the sleep restricted (n = 17, SR; 19 °C, 4-h sleep opportunity) or hot and sleep restricted (n = 13, HOT + SR; 33 °C, 4-h sleep opportunity) condition. Firefighters performed two days of simulated, intermittent, self-paced work circuits comprising six firefighting tasks. Heart rate, and core temperature were measured continuously. After each task, firefighters reported their rating of perceived exertion and thermal sensation. Effort sensation was also reported after each work circuit. Fluids were consumed ad libitum. Urine volume and urine specific gravity were analysed. Sleep was monitored using polysomnography. There were no differences between the SR and HOT + SR groups in firefighters’ physiological responses, hydration status, ratings of perceived exertion, motivation, and four of the six firefighting tasks (charged hose advance, rake, hose rolling, static hose hold). Black out hose and lateral repositioning were adversely affected in the HOT + SR group. Working in hot conditions did not appear to consistently impair firefighters work performance, physiology, and perceptual responses. Future research should determine whether such findings remain true when individual tasks are performed over longer durations


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health and Wellbeing (1 Jan 2015 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health and Wellbeing (1 Jan 2015 -)
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2020 22:46
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2020 06:14
Uncontrolled Keywords: firefighting; sleep restriction; physical performance; work physiology
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110602 Exercise Physiology
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420702 Exercise physiology
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420799 Sports science and exercise not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920505 Occupational Health
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020180
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/39585

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