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Multiple days of heat exposure on firefighters' work performance and physiology

Larsen, Brianna, Snow, Rod, Vincent, Grace, Tran, Jacqueline, Wolkow, Alexander and Aisbett, Brad 2015, Multiple days of heat exposure on firefighters' work performance and physiology, PLoS One, vol. 10, no. 9, Article Number : e0136413, pp. 1-16, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136413.

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Title Multiple days of heat exposure on firefighters' work performance and physiology
Author(s) Larsen, Brianna
Snow, RodORCID iD for Snow, Rod
Vincent, Grace
Tran, Jacqueline
Wolkow, Alexander
Aisbett, BradORCID iD for Aisbett, Brad
Journal name PLoS One
Volume number 10
Issue number 9
Season Article Number : e0136413
Start page 1
End page 16
Total pages 16
Publisher Public Library of Science (PLOS)
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2015
ISSN 1932-6203
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
Summary This study assessed the accumulated effect of ambient heat on the performance of, and physiological and perceptual responses to, intermittent, simulated wildfire fighting tasks over three consecutive days. Firefighters (n = 36) were matched and allocated to either the CON (19°C) or HOT (33°C) condition. They performed three days of intermittent, self-paced simulated firefighting work, interspersed with physiological testing. Task repetitions were counted (and converted to distance or area) to determine work performance. Participants were asked to rate their perceived exertion and thermal sensation after each task. Heart rate, core temperature (Tc), and skin temperature (Tsk) were recorded continuously throughout the simulation. Fluids were consumed ad libitum. Urine volume was measured throughout, and urine specific gravity (USG) analysed, to estimate hydration. All food and fluid consumption was recorded. There was no difference in work output between experimental conditions. However, significant variation in performance responses between individuals was observed. All measures of thermal stress were elevated in the HOT, with core and skin temperature reaching, on average, 0.24 ± 0.08°C and 2.81 ± 0.20°C higher than the CON group. Participants' doubled their fluid intake in the HOT condition, and this was reflected in the USG scores, where the HOT participants reported significantly lower values. Heart rate was comparable between conditions at nearly all time points, however the peak heart rate reached each circuit was 7 ± 3% higher in the CON trial. Likewise, RPE was slightly elevated in the CON trial for the majority of tasks. Participants' work output was comparable between the CON and HOT conditions, however the performance change over time varied significantly between individuals. It is likely that the increased fluid replacement in the heat, in concert with frequent rest breaks and task rotation, assisted with the regulation of physiological responses (e.g., heart rate, core temperature).
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0136413
Field of Research 110602 Exercise Physiology
Socio Economic Objective 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, Public Library of Science (PLOS)
Free to Read? Yes
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Created: Thu, 12 Nov 2015, 13:40:07 EST

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