Provision of adequate and appropriate food and water is vital to the wellbeing of , and the continued optimal performance of firefighters. "Failure to provide adequate energy, nutrition, and fluid replacement leads first to a decrease in work performance, and then to illness as the immune system become compromised."
Issues related to the management of the fire often make it difficult for firefighters to be fed when they are hungry, particularly within the first 8 - 12 hours.
For meal replacement packs carbohydrates of low to moderate GI factor are recommended. For snack ration packs food of moderate to high GI factor are recommended. (The GI factor is the speed carbohydrates are absorbed in the body)
Carbohydrates are the only fuel that the brain and red blood cells can use.
In order for firefighters to work at their optimal performance it is generally recommended that they consume food's high in carbohydrates at least every four hours, more if hungry.
Appropriate food, water and rest has been found to reduce fatigue by half.
In order for firefighters to continue to work at their optimal performance it is generally recommended that they consume food (not necessarily a meal) every four hours.
Water should be drunk continuously every 10 - 15 minutes
Factors important in creating ration packs are;
It is perceived that ration packs play two roles;
|Sustagen Tetra Pak||1|
|Breakfast / Cereal Bars||2|
|Crispbread & Dip||1|
|Dried Fruit / Trail Mix||250gms|
|Mars / "Health" Bar||2|
|Gatorade (powder added to water)|
|Mea & pasta or Meat & vegetables or Meat & lentils or Meat & noodles||375gms|
|Tinned fruit or Fruit Cake or Rice Cream||small tin|
Tea/coffee is not recommended, if necessary use for morale purposes only as it can restrict fluid replacement)
A more extensive table of suitable foods.
|Food||Use By Date||GI Rating|
|Fruit Biscuits||6 months||Moderate|
|Fruit Strips||6 months||High|
|Coco Pop Crunchies (Cereal Bars)||6 months||High|
|La Snak Crispbread/Dip||6 months||Moderate|
|Muesli Bars||6 - 12 months||Moderate|
|Fruit Breaks/Fruit filled bars||6 - 12 months||Moderate|
|Long life milk||6 - 10 months||Low|
|Sustagen Tetra Pak||6 - 10 months||Low|
|Sesame Bars||6 - 12 months||Moderate|
|Nuts, Trail Mix||6 - 12 months||Moderate|
|Meal Replacement Bars||6 - 12 months||Moderate|
|Dried Fruit||6 - 12 months||Low|
|Mars, Snickers etc bars||12 months||Moderate|
|2 minute noodles||12 months||Low|
|Lollies, Jelly Beans||12 months||High|
|Cereals, Nutrigrain, Grinners, Max NRG, Mini Wheat||12 months||Moderate|
|Fruit Cake||12 Months||Moderate|
|Breakfast Bars||12 months||High|
|Tea Bags||2 years|
|Coffee Bags||2 years|
|Tinned Fruit||No Date||Low|
|Baked Beans, Spaghetti, Tinned Ravioli||No Date||Low|
|Tinned Spam, Corned Beef||No Date|
|Tinned Vegetables (peas, corn, carrots)||No Date||Low|
|Tinned Lentils||No Date||Low|
|Tinned Tuna, Salmon||No Date|
|Electrolyte Drinks ( Gatorade, Power ade) Powder||No Date||High|
|Rice Cream||No Date||Moderate|
These have been listed as:
However food contained in ration packs will be exposed to heat and vibration. In the past this has resulted in changes to the food. It is recommended that food is thrown out once a year regardless of the use by date, unless it can be guarantee that the food has not been adulterated.
Foods that obviously will spoil due to heat, vibration or life span should not be used. In addition products that are caffeine based, "fizzy' drinks and fruit juice/drinks should be avoided as they can restrict hydration.
Brigades and individuals should discuss any special dietary needs (e.g diabetes, allergies) during the development of rations packs.