Maximising the safety and performance of Australian urban fire fighters working in the heat

  • Anthony Walker

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Australian urban firefighters work in hot environments, experiencing significant increases in core temperatures (Tc),which then leads to changes in immune and inflammatory function. These core temperatures can exceed recommended safe working limits and increase the risk of premature fatigue, leading to injury or fatality. The highest cause of line-of-duty injuries and fatalities in urban firefighters are cardiac events occurring during, or in the hours following, emergency responses. These cardiac events have been linked with increased thermal strain and immune and inflammatory function. The purpose of this thesis was, by simulating work tasks in a hot environment (~100 °C),to gain an appreciation of the thermal strain experienced by Australian professional urban firefighters. By comparing responses to working in the heat, this thesis then aimed to establish an understanding of how variations in individual physiology may impact on the risk of a cardiac event following work in the heat. This information, along with the evidence based post-incident cooling practices examined, can inform pre-conditioning practices for professional urban firefighters, along with changes to standard operating procedures to minimise thermal strain experienced during emergency responses in the heat.
Date of Award2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Canberra
SupervisorBen Rattray (Supervisor), Matthew Driller (Supervisor) & Christos Argus (Supervisor)

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