Pre-shift fluid intake: Effect on physiology, work and drinking during emergency wildfire fighting

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Health and Safety
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TitlePre-shift fluid intake: Effect on physiology, work and drinking during emergency wildfire fighting
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsRaines, J, Snow, R, Petersen, A, Harvey, J, Nichols, D, Aisbett, B
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Pagination532 - 540
Date Published5/2012
AbstractAbstract Wildfire fighters are known to report to work in a hypohydrated state, which may compromise their work performance and health. Purpose To evaluate whether ingesting a bolus of fluid before the shift had any effect on firefighters’ fluid consumption, core temperature, or the time they spent in high heart rate and work activity zones when fighting emergency wildfires. Methods Thirty-two firefighters were divided into non-bolus (AD) and pre-shift drinking bolus (PS, 500 ml water) groups. Results Firefighters began work hypohydrated as indicated by urine colour, specific gravity and plasma osmolality (Posm) results. Post-shift, firefighters were classified as euhydrated according to Posm and hypohydrated by urinary markers. No significant differences existed between the drinking groups in pre- or post-shift hydration status, total fluid intake, activity, heart rate or core temperature. Conclusion Consuming a bolus of fluid, pre-shift provided no benefit over non-consumption as both groups had consumed equivalent ad libitum volumes of fluid, 2.5 h into the shift. No benefits of bolus consumption were observed in firefighter activity, heart rate response or core temperature response across the shift in the mild weather conditions experienced. Ad libitum drinking was adequate to facilitate rehydration in firefighters upon completion of their emergency firefighting work shift.
Short TitleApplied Ergonomics
Refereed DesignationRefereed