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Job task characteristics of Australian emergency services volunteers during search and rescue operations
journal contributionposted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by Aaron Silk, Gavin Lenton, Robert Savage, Brad AisbettBrad Aisbett
Search and rescue operations are necessary in locating, assisting and recovering individuals lost or in distress. In Australia, land-based search and rescue roles require a range of physically demanding tasks undertaken in dynamic and challenging environments. The aim of the current research was to identify and characterise the physically demanding tasks inherent to search and rescue operation personnel within Australia. These aims were met through a subjective job task analysis approach. In total, 11 criterion tasks were identified by personnel. These tasks were the most physically demanding, frequently occurring and operationally important tasks to these specialist roles. Muscular strength was the dominant fitness component for 7 of the 11 tasks. In addition to the discrete criterion tasks, an operational scenario was established. With the tasks and operational scenario identified, objective task analysis procedures can be undertaken so that practitioners can implement evidence-based strategies, such as physical selection procedures and task-based physical training programs, commensurate with the physical demands of search and rescue job roles. Practitioner Summary: The identification of physically demanding tasks amongst specialist emergency service roles predicates health and safety strategies which can be incorporated into organisations. Knowledge of physical task parameters allows employers to mitigate injury risk through the implementation of strategies modelled on the precise physical demands of the role.