Validity and relevance of the pack hike wildland firefighter work capacity test: a review

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Petersen, Aaron ORCID: 0000-0003-1508-748X, Payne, Warren ORCID: 0000-0001-5046-3992, Phillips, Matthew, Netto, Kevin, Nichols, David and Aisbett, Brad (2010) Validity and relevance of the pack hike wildland firefighter work capacity test: a review. Ergonomics, 53 (10). pp. 1276-1285. ISSN 1366-5847


Fighting wildland fire is a physically demanding occupation. Wildland firefighters need to be physically fit to work safely and productively. To determine whether personnel are fit for duty, many firefighting agencies employ physical competency tests, such as the pack hike test (PHT). The PHT involves a 4.83-km hike over level terrain carrying a 20.4-kg pack within a 45-min period. The PHT was devised to test the job readiness of US wildland firefighters but is also currently used by some fire agencies in Australia and Canada. This review discusses the history and development of the PHT with emphasis on the process of test validation. Research-based training advice for the PHT is given, as well as discussion of the risks associated with completing the PHT. Different versions and modifications to the PHT have emerged in recent years and these are discussed with regard to their validity. Finally, this review addresses the relevance and validity of the PHT for Australian and Canadian wildland firefighters. Statement of Relevance: This paper reviews the history, development and validity of the PHT, an internationally recognised and utilised wildland firefighter work capacity test. It is concluded that while the PHT has general content validity for US wildland firefighters, verification of its reliability, criterion and construct validity is still needed

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1080/00140139.2010.513451
Official URL
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL)
Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Historical > SEO Classification > 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
Keywords ResPubID20681, firefighter, pack hike test, physical employment standards, work capacity
Citations in Scopus 22 - View on Scopus
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