2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase


A Pilot Study Concept to Evaluate If Exercise and Diet Can Increase Resilience in Firefighters

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Luke Montrose and Dr. Shawn Simonson


The presented project is a concept design for a study of health effects and resilience training for firefighters. Both structural and wildland firefighters have many occupational hazards including nutritional deficiencies, physical and mental stress, abnormal sleeping patterns, and smoke inhalation. Past studies have noted the effects of acute and chronic exposures on body compositions, oxidative stress, epigenetic patterns, and the cardiopulmonary system. This pilot study seeks to evaluate the implementation of pre-season exercise and dietary protocol aimed at improving firefighter resilience. Outcome measures will be evaluated on baseline, intermittent (after every 20 days on fire for wildland fighters {if possible}, and after exposure to large fires for structural), and postseason (after September with declined high fire warning) values. These values will be tabulated with results (e.g., lung panel volumes, blood markers indicative of heart health, oxidative stress, and DNA methylation) from a treatment and control group. To ensure success, relationships will be built with both structural and wildland and wildland firefighter groups to gain additional input and improve the study design.

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