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Article Title

INFLUENCE OF CALL VOLUME ON FIREFIGHTERS’ PHYSICAL ACTIVITY LEVEL AND TRAINING LOAD

Abstract

Mark G. Abel1, Emily L. Langford2, Sarah N. Lanham1, Jamal L. Thruston1, Alyssa Q. Eastman3, Jackson B. Miller1, Lauren T. Higginbotham2, Luis Monteiro4, Vanessa Santos5, Bridget Melton6. 1University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. 2University of Montevallo, Montevallo, AL. 3Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. 4Lusofona University, Lisbon, Portugal, KY. 5ICPOL Research Center, Higher Institute of Police Sciences and Internal Security, Lisbon, Portugal, KY. 6Georgia Southern, Statesboro, GA.

BACKGROUND: Firefighters must perform regular physical activity (PA) to enhance occupational readiness and reduce the risk of sudden cardiac events, which are the leading cause of on-duty fatalities. Despite the recommendation for firefighters to exercise on-duty, greater call volumes may reduce the time available to exercise. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between emergency call volume versus achievement of PA guidelines and training loads among firefighters. METHODS: A convenience sample of 126 (118 male, 7 female, 1 not provided; Age: 40.4±9.3 yr) career structural firefighters volunteered to complete an anonymous online survey describing the typical endurance (ET) and resistance training (RT) frequency, duration, and perceived exertion performed on- and off-duty. Session training load (SL; Arbitrary Units: AU) was calculated as: Session duration x rating of perceived exertion (0-10 category-ratio scale). Weekly training load (WL; AU) was calculated as: SL x weekly training frequency. Achieving PA guidelines was reflected by performing ≥2 RT sessions per week and ≥75 vigorous or ≥150 moderate intensity minutes of ET per week. Typical call volume per shift was stratified into the following categories: <1, 1-4, 4-8, 8-12, >12 hr. Cross-tabulation analyses examined the call volume-stratified proportion of firefighters achieving (met vs. did not meet) PA guidelines for ET and RT independently and collectively. The effects of call volume on SL and WL for RT and ET were determined via one-way ANOVA. Descriptive values are presented as mean±standard deviation. Significance was set at p<0.05. RESULTS: 23% of firefighters met global PA guidelines, 62% met RT, and 33% met ET guidelines. Call volume strata was not associated with status of meeting the PA guidelines for ET (n=124, χ2=0.94, p=0.920), RT (n=126, χ2=3.15, p=0.533), or global guidelines (n=124, χ2=2.54, p=0.637). There were no differences between call volume strata for SL (ET: n=97, 159±133 AU, p=0.779, η2=0.019; RT: n=81, 230±178 AU, p=0.327, η2=0.058) or WL (ET: n=97, 490±562 AU, p=0.560, η2=0.032; RT: n=81, 870±989 AU, p=0.391, η2= 0.052). CONCLUSION: Emergency call volume was not associated with achievement of PA guidelines and training loads were similar among firefighters with varied call volumes.

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