BACKGROUND: Firefighting is a physiologically demanding occupation and there is a need to evaluate physical and fitness characteristics that are related to attenuated physiological stress during fireground tasks. Previous studies have not measured associations between heart rate responses during simulated fireground tasks with a standardized work rate. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine associations between heart rate during a standardized pace simulated fireground test (SFGT) and heart rate recovery and variability following the SFGT. In addition, this study sought to evaluate associations between heart rate measures versus physical and fitness characteristics in structural firefighter recruits. METHODS: Twenty-one fire academy recruits performed a standardized pace SFGT while mean heart rate reserve (HRRes) during the SFGT, change in heart rate variability from rest to post-SFGT (LnRMSSDRest-Post), and 60-second post-SFGT heart rate recovery (HRR60) were measured. Regression analyses were conducted between HRRes, LnRMSSDRest-Post and HRR60 and between heart rate measures versus physical and fitness characteristics while accounting for differences in SFGT completion time. RESULTS: HRRes was associated with LnRMSSDRest-Post, but not HRR60. Height and pull-ups explained most of the variance in HRRes, height explained most of the variance in LnRMSSDRest-Post and push-ups and 1.5-mile run explained most of the variance in HRR60. CONCLUSION: Greater cardiovascular stress during fireground tasks is associated with greater depression of post-SFGT heart rate variability, but not heart rate recovery. Physical and fitness characteristics are important to consider in relation to firefighters' ability to cope with physical stress on the fireground.
|Number of pages||12|
|State||Published - 2023|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Lexington Fire Academy for providing access to the fireground equipment and testing site and all the support needed to complete this research project.
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- Cardiovascular system
- first responders
- physical functional performance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health