Share this article on:

Sleep Quantity and Quality of Ontario Wildland Firefighters Across a Low-Hazard Fire Season

McGillis, Zachary MHK; Dorman, Sandra C. PhD; Robertson, Ayden MHK; Larivière, Michel PhD; Leduc, Caleb MHK; Eger, Tammy PhD; Oddson, Bruce E. PhD; Larivière, Céline PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: December 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 12 - p 1188–1196
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001175
Original Articles

Objective: The aim of the study was to assess the sleep quality, quantity, and fatigue levels of Canadian wildland firefighters while on deployment.

Methods: Objective and subjective sleep and fatigue measures were collected using actigraphy and questionnaires during non-fire (Base) and fire (Initial Attack and Project) deployments.

Results: Suboptimal sleep quality and quantity were more frequently observed during high-intensity, Initial Attack fire deployments. Suboptimal sleep was also exhibited during non-fire (Base) work periods, which increases the risk of prefire deployment sleep debt. Self-reported, morning fatigue scores were low-to-moderate and highest for Initial Attack fire deployments.

Conclusions: The study highlights the incidence of suboptimal sleep patterns in wildland firefighters during non-fire and fire suppression work periods. These results have implications for the health and safety practices of firefighters given the link between sleep and fatigue, in a characteristically hazardous occupation.

Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH), Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada (Mr McGillis, Dr Dorman, Mr Robertson, Dr Larivière, Mr Leduc, Dr Eger, Dr Oddson, Dr Larivière); School of Human Kinetics, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada (Mr McGillis, Dr Dorman, Mr Robertson, Dr Larivière, Mr Leduc, Dr Eger, Dr Oddson, Dr Larivière); Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada (Dr Dorman, Dr Larivière, Dr Larivière).

Address correspondence to: Céline Larivière, PhD, RKin, School of Human Kinetics, Laurentian University, 935 Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury, Ontario P3E 2C6, Canada (clariviere@laurentian.ca).

Funding: Ontario Ministry of Labour—“Bridging the Gap” program (Grant #12104). Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF).

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine