Firefighting is a strenuous occupation requiring high levels of physical fitness.
Inadequate levels of fitness can put firefighters and risk of overexertion and injury.
Therefore ensuring that firefighters maintain role specific fitness levels throughout their
career is critical to both firefighter and public safety. The aim of this thesis was to
investigate the minimum cardiorespiratory, strength and muscular endurance demands
UK firefighting and to recommend minimum physical employment standards to ensure
the operational effectiveness and safety of firefighting personnel working in the UK fire
& rescue service.
The first study developed a task analysis protocol to identify the minimum
acceptable performance requirements of the critical and most physically demanding
tasks in UK firefighting, identifying 2 distinct roles (firefighter and incident
commander) with 8 critical tasks identified for firefighter and 2 for the incident
commander role. The second study investigated the physical demands of performing
these critical tasks to the minimum acceptable performance requirement.
Cardiorespiratory fitness standards were derived for those undertaking both firefighting
and incident command roles.
Following this, the validity and reliability of a firefighter simulation test was
assessed to determine its appropriateness as a criterion test of operational fitness. Whilst
there was a strong inverse correlation between the test completion time and
cardiorespiratory fitness and the simulation was highly reliable, the error associated with
the simulation suggests that it may not be suitable to use as a standalone fitness test and
should be used in conjunction with gym-based cardiorespiratory fitness assessments.
The final study assessed the sensitivity and specificity of common and replicable gymbased
physical ability tests to predict firefighting performance in order to recommend
strength and muscular endurance standards. Each of the gym-based physical ability tests
and associated standards were effective at predicting effective firefighting performance.
|Date of Award||18 Jan 2018|
|Supervisor||James Bilzon (Supervisor) & Keith Stokes (Supervisor)|
- Physical Employment Standards