Development of role-related minimum cardiorespiratory fitness standards for firefighters and commanders

A. G. Siddall, R. D. M. Stevenson, P. F. J. Turner, K. A. Stokes, J. L. J. Bilzon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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A minimum cardiorespiratory fitness standard was derived for firefighters following a metabolic demands analysis. Design and minimal acceptable performance of generic firefighting task simulations (i.e., hose running, casualty evacuation, stair climb, equipment carry, wild-land fire) were endorsed by a panel of operationally experienced experts. Sixty-two UK firefighters completed these tasks wearing a standard protective firefighting ensemble while being monitored for peak steady state metabolic demand and cardiovascular strain. Four tasks, endorsed as valid operational simulations by ≥90% of participants (excluding wild-land fire; 84%), were deemed to be a sufficiently valid and reliable basis for a fitness standard. These tasks elicited an average peak steady state metabolic cost of 38.1 ± 7.8 It is estimated that healthy adults can sustain the total duration of these tasks (~16 min) at ≤90% maximum oxygen uptake and a cardiorespiratory fitness standard of ≥42.3 would be required to sustain work.

Practitioner Summary: A cardiorespiratory fitness standard for firefighters of ≥42.3 was derived from monitoring minimum acceptable performance of essential tasks. This study supports the implementation of a routine assessment of this fitness standard for all UK operational firefighters, to ensure safe physical preparedness for occupational performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1335-1343
Number of pages9
Issue number10
Early online date6 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2016


  • Firefighting
  • Physical Employment Standards
  • Role-related fitness
  • Physical Demands Analysis


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