Wildland Firefighters and the Importance of Quality Sleep
The Role of Wildland Firefighters
Wildland firefighters go by many names, including forest firefighters, woodland firefighters, and wildfire prevention specialists. No matter what you call them, though, no one can deny the importance of the role they play in today's society.
Wildland firefighters usually work as part of a firefighting team or crew. They work hard to prevent fires and remain ready in case of emergencies. When there is a wildfire, wildland firefighters typically parachute down near the fire, retrieve dropped equipment, and begin fighting the blaze. Not only do they prevent, contain, and battle to extinguish wildfires, they also rescue hikers and other people trapped in fire areas and provide emergency medical treatment. Once the fire is out, they even patrol for remaining hotspots with potential for reigniting large fires.
The Importance of Quality Sleep
Wildland firefighters have an important, but physically demanding and exhausting, job. For optimal health, it is recommended that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, and our wildland firefighters just aren't getting that. According to the United States Forest Service, MTDC and University of Montana researchers have been conducting human factors studies on wildland firefighters for several decades. In sleep data logs collected at fire camps in California and Montana during 2008, it was discovered that the average amount of sleep received each night was 6.1 hours. However, respondents stated that they were woken up an average of 2.2 timesaver night, and 23.8% reported feeling tired when they woke. Only 2.4% felt very rested.
This lack of quality sleep is a result of many different factors. Fire camps have noise from generators, vehicles, and other firefighters and are often hot, smokey, and dusty. Some wildland firefighters are also on the nightshift, which further interferes with sleep, or may perform 24 hour emergency shifts. However, the main contributor to poor sleep is lack of comfort. Some may receive government issued cots, but many wildland firefighters sleep on the ground or in their car. While this may be sustainable for short periods of time, some wildfires can last for months.
Lack of quality sleep can quickly lead to sleep deprivation. As explained by the United States Forest Service, sleep deprivation can have a variety of negative effects including impaired mental and physical performance, accidents and injuries, increased blood pressure, strokes, and even heart attacks. Sleep deprivation for just 1 week has been proven to lead to cognitive impairment when work requires multitasking, which makes firefighting all the more dangerous.
Photo from United States Forest Service, USFS
A Possible Solution
The GO-KOT® is constructed with rugged 1000-denier nylon, state-of-the-art aluminum framing, and spring steel legs. It can be set up and taken down quickly, folds into a small carrying bag, weighs only 10lbs, and supports up to 350lbs! A durable, portable, lightweight, and comfortable cot is just what our wildland firefighters need to help improve their sleep.
Having the ability to set up the GO-KOT® wherever they need it, will help our wildland firefighters get off the ground, stretch out their backs, relax their joints, and get the quality sleep they need to wake up feeling refreshed and focused. Not only that, but the ease of setting up the GO-KOT® also allows for quick 20-30 minute naps, which the United States Forest Service recommends because they help restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce the risk of mistakes.
We appreciate all the hard work our firefighters do for their communities and we want to support them in anyway we can! For individuals, please contact us for a first responders discount and for units and institutions we are on GSA Advantage!