Are the Job Demands on Physical Work Capacity Equal for Young and Aging Firefighters?

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The job demands on physical work capacity and the frequency of the firefighting and rescue tasks were rated by 156 professional firefighters (age range, 22 to 54 years) who responded to a questionnaire. Smoke-diving requiring the use of personal protective equipment was considered to demand most aerobic power. The clearing of debris with heavy manual tools, and roof work set the highest demands on muscular performance and motor coordination, respectively. During the past 5 years, 83 to 88% of the respondents had performed these tasks on average four times a year. The rating and frequency of the tasks were not significantly affected by age. The results suggest that the job demands on physical work capacity remain the same throughout the occupational career of the firefighters.

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