The challenge of Fatigue in Firefighters

The firefighting season in the southern hemisphere has been in full swing, with devastating blazes burning across countries including Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina.

Fighting fires is a physically and mentally demanding job, to say the least. This is not only for the teams on the ground but also for the crew working in the air. ISS recently had the opportunity to work with firefighting helicopter pilots in Spain who explained the complexities of their roles during the season. Working 21 days straight, either in the air or on the ground is standard industry practice, followed by no more than a fortnight spent at home resting. It is therefore no surprise that studies show the quantity of sleep obtained on days worked by firefighters is significantly limited compared to their days off.

In addition to full-time professional firefighters, many countries have the support of volunteers during the season. However, this is not the case in Chile where there have been extreme ongoing fires recently, and where the majority of firefighting roles are voluntary. As a general rule the volunteers would have competing priorities for their sleep and recovery, such as work commitments and parenting. Another factor in the peak of campaigns is the availability of adequate rest areas in order for them to nap and sleep.

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Join us in Singapore for our Fatigue Management & Human Factors in our 24-hour Society event in March 2019 to find out more about sleep and fatigue management. Click here for tickets and more information.

We are running a December discount offering 25% off all tickets for our blog readers (with the exception of student tickets). Please use the promotion code FatigueInsider in the site (noting that the code is case sensitive and there is no space between the two words). Don’t forget to share the code with your friends and colleagues.

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