The steady state load of five firefighting tasks
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics. 2019. 10.1080/10803548.2019.1573013
Purpose. Physiologic demands of five common tasks in firefighting have been examined. Methods. Eight male volunteers, dressed up as smoke divers (+21 kg extra load), carried out the following tasks at constant pace for 5 min: walking at 1.4 m·s–1, walking (all walks at the same speed) while carrying a 10-kg ladder, walking carrying two hose packs of 16 kg together, walking carrying a 32-kg spreader tool and, finally, climbing up and down a ladder at a preset pace. A 5-min break separated each exercise. The heart rate, oxygen uptake and lung ventilation were measured continuously, and the blood lactate concentration was recorded after each task. Results. The end-exercise heart rate rose from 108 to 180 bpm from the first to last task, blood lactate concentration rose from 1 to 7 mmol·L–1, oxygen uptake rose from 19 to 48 ml·kg–1 min–1 and lung ventilation rose from 38 to 124 L·min–1. Discussion. Walking was an easy task even when dressed up as a smoke diver. Adding loads increased demands; ladder climbing taxed >90% of the subjects’ aerobic power. Conclusions. The physiologic demands varied considerably between different tasks.