The effect of prescribed fluid consumption on physiology and work behavior of wildfire fighters

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Raines, Jenni, Snow, Rodney, Petersen, Aaron ORCID: 0000-0003-1508-748X, Harvey, John ORCID: 0000-0001-6927-6580, Nichols, David and Aisbett, Brad (2013) The effect of prescribed fluid consumption on physiology and work behavior of wildfire fighters. Applied Ergonomics, 44 (3). pp. 404-413. ISSN 0003-6870


The purpose of this study was to examine 1) wildfire fighters' ability to consume the prescribed fluid volume (1200 mL h−1), 2) the effect of fluid intake on plasma sodium and hydration, and 3) the effect of fluid intake on firefighters' heart rate, core temperature and activity during emergency suppression shifts. Methods Thirty-four firefighters were divided into ad libitum (AD, n = 17) and prescribed (PR, n = 17) drinking groups. Results PR drinkers did not meet the prescribed fluid target, yet consumed over double the volume of AD drinkers. No differences between groups in plasma sodium or hydration were noted. PR drinking resulted in lower core temperature between 2 and 6 h. This did not coincide with reduced cardiovascular strain, greater work activity or larger distances covered when compared to AD drinkers. Conclusion Extra fluid consumption (above AD) did not improve firefighter activity or physiological function (though PR firefighters core temperature was lower earlier in their shift). Firefighter can self-regulate their fluid consumption behavior and work rate to leave the fireground euhydrated.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1016/j.apergo.2012.10.002
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords ResPubID25549, ResPubID26689, wildfire fighters, fluid intake, plasma sodium and hydration, physical work capacity, core temperature
Citations in Scopus 23 - View on Scopus
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