Sleep Quantity and Quality of Ontario Wildland Firefighters Across a Low-Hazard Fire Season

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Abstract

Objective:

The aim of the study was to assess the sleep quality, quantity, and fatigue levels of Canadian wildland firefighters while on deployment.

Methods:

Objective and subjective sleep and fatigue measures were collected using actigraphy and questionnaires during non-fire (Base) and fire (Initial Attack and Project) deployments.

Results:

Suboptimal sleep quality and quantity were more frequently observed during high-intensity, Initial Attack fire deployments. Suboptimal sleep was also exhibited during non-fire (Base) work periods, which increases the risk of prefire deployment sleep debt. Self-reported, morning fatigue scores were low-to-moderate and highest for Initial Attack fire deployments.

Conclusions:

The study highlights the incidence of suboptimal sleep patterns in wildland firefighters during non-fire and fire suppression work periods. These results have implications for the health and safety practices of firefighters given the link between sleep and fatigue, in a characteristically hazardous occupation.

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