Leadership

VALIDATION OF A PHYSICAL WORK PERFORMANCE EVALUATION FOR INCUMBENT FIREFIGHTERS

Issue 12 and Volume 158.

BY DARRELL MENDENHALL, MS; STEVEN MOFFATT, MD; TISCH WILLIAMS, MA; MIKE REEVES; JAMES GREESON; C. SHAWN SHELTON, BA; HOWARD STAHL; TERRELL W. ZOLLINGER, DRHP; ROBERT M. SAYWELL JR., PH.D., MPH; and CAROLYN MUEGGE, MS, MPH Intense physical exertion is an occupational hazard inherent to firefighting. Since the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) began reporting line-of-duty injury and fatality data in 1977, heart attack has been the leading cause of death, accounting for approximately half of all firefighter fatalities. In nearly all cases, these fatal heart attacks have been directly attributed to stress and overexertion. These data indicate that firefighters are regularly confronted with situations demanding levels of sustained physical effort often exceeding their physical working capacities, thus resulting in stress, overexertion, and heart attack. As supported by the mortality statistics, cardiorespiratory fitness is well accepted as a critical requisite to the health, safety, and performance of firefighters in executing the…

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