Hydration for Fire Fighters

Importance of Hydration

Being dehydrated has been shown to affect athletic performance, and similarly the performance of those in workplaces can also be affected by decreases in hydration levels. People who work in extreme hot and/or humid conditions (e.g. fire fighters, and miners) or work at a high intensity (e.g. laborers) need to be aware of their hydration, and take action to maintain it at adequate levels.

Why fire fighters

Fire fighters work under extremely hot conditions, which are exacerbated by the protective gear they are required to wear. When working under these conditions large amounts of body fluid will be lost through sweating, so they must be encouraged consume a large amount of fluid per hour to replace this fluid.

What to drink

Water should be the main ingredient of any rehydration solution. Diluting a sports drink is a good idea as this can avoid dental problems from having too many sugars, also it tones down the flavor which can be a bit overpowering when a large volume is to be consumed.

How much to drink

Some guidelines recommend 1800 ml/hour (taken as 350 ml per 15 minutes). This is just a guideline, and there are other considerations to be made. What to consume will depend on what is practical and what is possible while fighting, i.e. when they get breaks etc.. Also, the amount of fluid people can physically tolerate in a short period is a very individual thing - 1800ml per hour is a lot - some will be able to drink this while others may struggle. Sweat rates also vary among individuals, so those who generally sweat a lot may need more, other less. It is up to the individual to monitor their sweat losses and determine how much they need to drink to stay adequately hydrated.

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