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Chapter 10

Jun 12, 2015



  • 1. Chapter 10 Reading Firefighters

2. Objectives

  • List the three factors that lead to overexertion, the three ergonomic factors that can produce injury, and the three strategies to mitigate ergonomic hazards
  • List the three factors that impact human cell performance, explain its chemistry, and define fuel replacement strategies to increase it

3. Objectives (cont.)

  • Discuss the two types of thermal stress
  • Explain the role of hydration in preventing injuries
  • Define the four Rs of firefighter rehabilitation

4. Reading Firefighters Is It Possible?

  • Human performance depends on many factors
  • Overexertion is the leading cause of injuries (and deaths) at incidents
  • Reading firefighters involves the evaluation of factors that lead to overexertion
    • Fire service has actually set up firefighters to be injured

5. Reading Firefighters Is It Possible? (cont.)

  • The overexertion setup
    • Firefighters are the only professional athletes who work at peak performance without warm up
      • Physical and mental challenges are required at a moments notice when an incident occurs
      • Essence of fire service professionalism: the ability to function safelyat all times
      • Solution: address physical and mental demands of firefighters

6. Reading Firefighters Is It Possible? (cont.)

  • Overexertion resistance
    • Firefighters should be physically fit to resist overexertion and injury
      • Proactively aim for strength, flexibility, and aerobic fitness
      • Adopt program for efficient fueling for their metabolism
      • Know how their bodies respond to stress

7. Figure 10-1 The physically fit firefighter can resist overexertion longer with minimal injury risk. 8. Reading Firefighters Is It Possible? (cont.)

  • Overexertion realities
    • ISOs must deal with here-and-now overexertion threats regardless of firefighters preventive fitness efforts
    • ISOs can address human overexertion factors
      • Ergonomics
      • Physiology
      • Rehab efforts

9. Ergonomics

  • The science of adapting work or work conditions to a worker
  • The study of problems associated with people adjusting to their work environment
  • A firefighters workplace includes the fire station, apparatus, and the incident scene

10. Figure 10-2 Firefighters seldom find an ergonomically friendly workplace. 11. Ergonomics (cont.)

  • Ergonomic stressors
    • The physical environment
      • Surface conditions, temperature variations, lighting, equipment, etc.
    • Relationship of the worker to the environment
      • Bending, ascending or descending, pushing, etc.
    • Task being attempted
      • Energy and amount of focus required
      • Task priority and number of people

12. Ergonomics (cont.)

  • Ergonomic abatement strategies
    • Awareness
      • Warnings and reminders
    • Accommodation
      • Altering environment, task, or personnel
    • Acclimation
      • Usually done proactively
      • Fitness programs, prehydration, stretching exercises prior to assignment

13. Firefighter Physiology

  • Physiological performance depends on metabolic processing (cell chemistry) of firefighter
  • Factors that affect cell chemistry
    • Thermal stress
    • Hydration
    • Fuel replacement

14. Firefighter Physiology (cont.)

  • Thermal stress
    • Heat stress can be caused by:
      • Activity
      • Humidity
      • Air temperature
      • Reduced effectiveness of cooling mechanisms (i.e., PPE)
      • Sun, shade, and wind

15. Figure 10-3 The ISO should be observant of the signs and symptoms of heat stress. 16. Firefighter Physiology (cont.)

  • Thermal stress (cont.)
    • Heat stress reduction
      • Passive cooling: use of shade, air movement, and rest to bring down core temperatures
      • Active cooling: uses external methods or devices to reduce body core temperatures
      • Temperatures above 101 degrees Fahrenheit should trigger active cooling

17. Firefighter Physiology (cont.)

  • Thermal stress (cont.)
    • Cold stress can be caused by:
      • Moisture (perspiration)
      • Immediate temperature change
      • Wind chill
      • Level of activity
      • Duration and degree of exposure

18. Figure 10-4 Hypothermia is the cooling of the bodys core temperature, a condition that should be avoided at all cost. 19. Firefighter Physiology (cont.)

  • Fighting thermal stress
    • Accommodation
      • Warm clothing cold extremes
      • Forearm cold water submersion for heat extremes
    • Rotation
      • Planned action to rotate crews
    • Hydration
      • Important in both heat and cold stress environments

20. Firefighter Physiology (cont.)

  • Hydration
    • Firefighters should drink a quart of water an hour during work periods
      • Best delivered in 8-ounce increments spread over the hour
    • For activities longer than an hour, add essential electrolytes and nutrients to water
      • Dilute sports drinks with 50 percent water to speed absorption

21. Firefighter Physiology (cont.)

  • Fuel replacement
    • Metabolic rates are influenced by:
      • Lifestyles
      • Fitness
      • Illnesses
      • Over-the-counter and prescription drugs
      • Circadian rhythms: physiological response to the 24-hour clock, which includes sleep, energy peaks, and necessary body functions

22. Firefighter Physiology (cont.)

  • Fuel replacement (cont.)
    • Cell theory
      • Optimal cell performance uses oxygen, water, glucose (food), and insulin
      • Too much insulin in the system tells the body to store carbs, not use them
      • Fuel firefighters with a low-glycemic index food so that blood sugar levels and insulin are stable, gradual, and consistent

23. Table 10-2 Glycemic index comparisons for common carbohydrates. 24. Firefighter Physiology (cont.)

  • Fuel replacement (cont.)
    • Cell-fueling strategy
      • 40/30/30 balance of low glycemic carbohydrates, protein, and fat provides quick energy that optimizes cell performance
      • Choosing the best protein, carbohydrate, and fat also promotes steady, sustained performance
      • Department should preplan nourishment for rehab

25. Firefighter Physiology (cont.)

  • Fuel replacement (cont.)
    • Eating cycle at incidents