Firefighters work in strenuous conditions for prolonged periods wearing up to 20 kg of personal protective equipment. This often contributes to significant heat and cardiovascular strain. This study examined the relationships between psychological and physical measures taken prior to undertaking a 15 min firefighting task, and the occurrence of heat stress and high levels of fatigue following the task. Nine qualified firefighters completed a 15 min “live burn” scenario designed to mimic a fire started by a two-seater couch in a lounge room and completed simulated tasks throughout the duration. Logical reasoning, speed and accuracy, general motivation and fatigue, and physical and mental effort were recorded pre-scenario, and at 0- and 20-min post-scenario. General motivation and fatigue scores at 0- and 20-min post-scenario were highly correlated with each other (rs = 0.90; p = 0.001). The general motivation and fatigue scores, at 0- and 20-min post-scenario, were also strongly related to pre-task logic/reasoning test scores (Post 0 rs = −0.77, p = 0.016; Post 20 rs = −0.87, p = 0.002). Firefighters with lower logical reasoning and speed and accuracy scores were more susceptible to fatigue and impaired cognition when exposed to rises in core temperature and heat stress.
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2022|