BACKGROUND: Firefighters (FFs) require a combination of exceptional aerobic capacity and an ability to generate force rapidly to effectively perform their duties. Indeed, both high aerobic and anaerobic capacity have been reported to independently predict FF performance in fire-suppression-related duties. FFs often provide non-fire emergency services, for example, at large-scale local events. Despite this, it is relatively unknown how anerobic capacity influences cardiovascular (CV) strain and FF performance while providing these non-fire emergency services.METHODS: 15 FFs were observed across 5 NCAA DI football games while performing emergency medical services at a large university located in the Southeastern United States. FFs completed health and exercise history questionnaires; heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP), body weight, handgrip strength, and vertical jump height were measured pre- and post-shift. FFs were assigned to a bike (n=6) or logistics (n=9) team and wore GPS-enabled monitoring systems that recorded physiological and environmental data. Analyses included descriptive statistics, independent t-tests, and correlations. RESULTS: Shifts lasted (M±SD) 8.2±1.0 h and reached temperatures of 22.8±3.0 °C. FFs were obese (body mass index [BMI]=33.1±6.2 kg/m2), had stage 2 hypertension (based on pre-shift resting systolic/diastolic BP values=142.6±14.2/85.7±29.2 mmHg), and had worked 14.7±10.3 h of overtime in the last 7 days. FFs assigned to the bike team were younger (MD±SD; -13.8±16.6 y, p<0.001), had a lower BMI (-5.1±9.2 kg/m2, p=0.02), achieved higher relative peak power (26.4±6.9 W/kg, p=0.003), and experienced greater CV strain (average HR response expressed as a percentage of age-predicted maximal HR; 8.1%±11.5%, p=0.002) than logistics. Partial correlations (controlling for team assignment) revealed a strong, inverse association between CV strain and relative peak power (β=-0.761, p=0.007). Handgrip strength was unrelated to CV strain (β=-0.119, p=0.71).CONCLUSIONS: FFs had suboptimal CV health and experienced increased levels of CV strain when performing non-fire emergency services. After controlling for team assignment, anaerobic power--but not muscular strength--was associated with reduced CV strain during non-fire suppression activities. Further research, in a larger and more diverse sample, is necessary to explore how individual factors may modulate this relationship further.

This document is currently not available here.