Publication Date

2013

Abstract

The Australian Defence Force is reviewing the physical demands of all employment categories in the Australian Army to establish valid and legally defensible assessments. The current assessments, performed in physical training attire, are not specific to job demands. Moreover, the fitness standards decrease based on age and are lower for females, and as job requirements are constant, these assessments are counterintuitive. With regard to the Army Emergency Responder employment category, tasks of physical demand in the present study were selected through consultation with subject-matter experts. Participants consisted of 10 qualified Army Emergency Responder soldiers and three noncareer firefighters under instruction. Real-life firefighting scenarios were witnessed by researchers and helped form task simulations allowing measurement of heart rate and oxygen consumption. Peak oxygen consumption ranged from 21.8 ± 3.8 to 40.0 ± 3.4 mL kg−1 min−1 during cutting activities and a search and rescue task, respectively, representing values similar to or higher than the current entry standards. Manual handling tasks were also assessed, with the heaviest measured being two soldiers lifting a 37.7-kg Utility Trunk to 150 cm. The findings provide a quantitative assessment of the physiological demands of Army Emergency Responders, and highlight the need for change in current fitness assessments.

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

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