The influence of short-term firefighting activity on information processing performance.
Greenlee-TA; Horn-G; Smith-DL; Fahey-G; Goldstein-E; Petruzzello-SJ
Ergonomics 2014 May; 57(5):764-773
This study examined the following: effects of simulated firefighting (FF) activities under heat stress on sustained attention; whether incident rehabilitation (IR) influences performance; and relationships between performance, affect and personality. Firefighters performed approximately 18 min of FF. Attention, physiological, perceptual and psychological assessments were made before and after FF, IR and recovery. IR had no effects. Self-rated Energy increased, Tiredness decreased and Anxiety increased immediately post-FF; all returned to baseline 120 min post. The immediate effect of FF was faster reaction time (RT) followed by slowing after recovery. Perceived Energy at baseline was associated ( p-values < 0.05) with faster and Tiredness with slower post-FF RTs; Accuracy was unaffected. Conscientiousness was negatively associated with RT before and 120 min following FF. RTs were faster following FF, accuracy was unchanged. Higher baseline Energy/lower Tiredness were associated with faster, less variable RTs at baseline and post-FF. Those with higher Conscientiousness had faster RTs. Research should further investigate higher-level cognitive processing following, or ideally during, FF. Practitioner Summary: This study examined the effects of simulated firefighting (FF) activities on sustained attention and affect. Energy and Anxiety increased, Tiredness decreased immediately post-FF. The immediate effect of FF was faster reaction time (RT) followed by slowing after recovery; accuracy was unaffected. Higher baseline Energy/lower Tiredness were associated with faster, less variable RTs.
Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting; Task-performance; Simulation-methods; Mental-processes; Physiological-effects; Psychological-responses; Exposure-assessment; Energy-metabolism; Stress; Reaction-rates; Fatigue; Mental-stress; Physical-stress;
Author Keywords: cognitive processing; reaction time; firefighting; anxiety; energy
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign