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

38 Citations (SciVal)
220 Downloads (Pure)


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 ml kg-1 min-1. 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 ml kg-1 min-1 would be required to sustain work. Practitioner Summary: A cardiorespiratory fitness standard for firefighters of ≥42.3 ml kg-1 min-1 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 - 6 Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anthropometry
  • Cardiorespiratory Fitness/physiology
  • Exercise Test/methods
  • Female
  • Firefighters
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Physical Fitness/physiology
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • United Kingdom
  • Young Adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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