Older firefighters may be able to tolerate longer periods of work in difficult environments before they start to feel the effects of heat stress, compared to those who do not work in extremely warm temperatures.
A new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene found older firefighters experienced “reduced subjective feelings of thermal and cardiovascular strain during exercise, compared to the non-firefighters.” Researchers say this information could show a greater heat resilience in firefighters because of the nature of their occupation.
On the other hand, researchers did not find any differences in the levels of thermal and cardiovascular strain between older heat-exposed firefighters and non-heat-exposed older workers. However, the non-heat-exposed workers did feel more heat stress compared to the older firefighters. They also found the work was more physically challenging.
In conclusion, this study could prove that if you have older workers who work in the heat, they may be in a better position to handle the hot work, compared to their non-heat-exposed counterparts.
For helpful tips and recommendations on staying safe in the extreme temperatures, check out OSHAcademy course 602 Heat and Cold Stress Safety.