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Physiological responses of men working in fire fighting equipment in the heat

, : Physiological responses of men working in fire fighting equipment in the heat. Ergonomics 22(5): 521-527

On 3 separate occasions, 11 well conditioned fire fighters were tested on a treadmill at 4.0 km h-1 on a 10% grade for 15 min. The 1st 2 tests were conducted in the laboratory and the 3rd test was performed in a sauna. During the 1st test (BL), subjects wore the normal lightweight, blue uniform. For the other 2 tests (TL, TS) they wore fire-fighting turnout uniforms, boots and breathing apparatus. After 15 min of exercise, heart rates increased significantly for each trial (BL 99.2 .+-. 3.3, TL 136.4 .+-. 4.3 and TS 172.7 .+-. 3.2 beats min-1); as did mean skin and rectal temperatures. O2 uptake values were similar for tests in turnouts (TL 10.47 .+-. 0.75 and TS 10.80 .+-. 0.59 cm3 kg-1 min-1). Both these mean values were significantly higher than that obtained for trials in blues (BL 7.13 .+-. 0.41 cm3 kg-1 min-1). There were significant differences between weight loss, breathing rate and plasma volume changes. The additional wt and insulating properties of fire fighting equipment impose significant stress on fire fighters, especially while working in the heat. The extremely high heart rates for prolonged periods previously observed during actual fire fighting were explained.


PMID: 520284

DOI: 10.1080/00140137908924636

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