Physical and Physiological Performance Determinants of a Firefighting Simulation Test

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Objective:To examine determinants of firefighting simulation test performance.Methods:Sixty-eight (63 male; 5 female) firefighters completed a firefighting simulation (eg, equipment carry, casualty evacuation) previously validated to test occupational fitness among UK firefighters. Multiple linear regression methods were used to determine physiological and physical attributes that best predicted completion time.Results:Mean (±SD) time taken to complete the simulation was 610 (±79) seconds. The prediction model combining absolute cardiorespiratory capacity (L min−1) and fat mass explained the greatest variance in performance and elicited the least random error (R = 0.765, R2 = 0.585, standard error of the estimate [SEE]: ±52 seconds). Higher fitness and lower fat mass were associated with faster performance.Conclusions:Firefighter simulation test performance is associated with absolute cardiorespiratory fitness and fat mass. Fitter and leaner individuals perform the task more quickly. Work-based interventions should enhance these attributes to promote safe and effective operational performance.

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