BACKGROUND: In order to be accepted into a firefighter college, firefighter recruits must pass the candidate physical ability test (CPAT) and complete a basic physical with the physician of their choice. However, no specific health or fitness metrics are commonly assessed beyond these, leaving fire college instructors unaware of potential health or fitness issues in their recruit classes that could impede training. The purpose of this study therefore was to assess health and fitness characteristics in firefighter recruits during the first week of training. METHODS: 30 male recruits (age: 20.7 ± 3.8 yrs., wt.: 86.3 ± 12.3 kg, ht.: 178.8 ± 7.3 cm) were assessed for their body composition via bioelectric impedance analysis (BIA), resting blood pressure (BP), isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP) strength, and anaerobic power via a Wingate. Results of the assessments were summarized via descriptive statistics and where possible were compared with appropriate reference values. Correlational analyses were performed between strength, anaerobic power, and body composition variables. Significance of the correlations were determined using Fisher’s transformations with significance being set at a value of p<0.05. RESULTS: The recruits had an average BMI of 26.9 + 3.5 with an average body fat percentage of 18.0 + 5.5%. Additionally, recruits had a measured average skeletal muscle mass (SKMM) of 40.3 + 5.4kg, accounting for an average of 46.9 + 3.06% of their total body mass. 73% of the recruits had “Elevated” or higher BP readings, with 13% of recruits having a SBP of 140mmHg or greater. For IMTP, the recruits had a mean peak and average torques of 463.5 + 72.6Nm and 403.8 + 66.8Nm, respectively. For anaerobic power, the recruits had a mean relative peak power output of 8.54 + 1.22W/kg and mean relative average power of 6.26 + 1.02 W/kg, both of which equate to the 30th percentile for their respective categories. Correlational analyses did not reveal any significant interactions between torque and anaerobic power measurements, however, there were significant correlations between SKMM and peak and average power, and average and peak torque (r = 0.83, 0.79., 0.49, and 0.46, respectively). CONCLUSION: Based on the data collected, it would appear that the instructors may want to focus on improving the anaerobic power of their recruits and explore options for helping to reduce the resting blood pressure of the recruits.

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