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Physiological responses to wearing a prototype firefighter ensemble compared with a standard ensemble.

Williams-WJ; Coca-A; Roberge-R; Shepherd-A; Powell-J; Shaffer-RE
J Occup Environ Hyg 2011 Jan; 8(1):49-57
This study investigated the physiological responses to wearing a standard firefighter ensemble (SE) and a prototype ensemble (PE) modified from the SE that contained additional features, such as magnetic ring enclosures at the glove-sleeve interface, integrated boot-pant interface, integrated hood- SCBA facepiece interface, and a novel hose arrangement that rerouted self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) exhaust gases back into the upper portion of the jacket. Although the features of the PE increased the level of encapsulation of the wearer that could lead to increased physiological stress compared with the SE, it was hypothesized that the rerouted exhaust gases provided by the PE hose assembly would (1) provide convective cooling to the upper torso, (2) reduce the thermal stress experienced by the wearer, and (3) reduce the overall physiological stress imposed by the PE such that it would be either less or not significantly different from the SE. Ten subjects (seven male, three female) performed treadmill exercise in an environmental chamber (22.C, 50% RH) at 50% .V O2max while wearing either the SE with an SCBA or the PE with an SCBA either with or without the hose attached (designated PEWH and PENH, respectively). Heart rate (HR), rectal and intestinal temperatures (Tre, Tin), sweat loss, and endurance time were measured. All subjects completed at least 20 min of treadmill exercise during the testing. At the end of exercise, there was no difference in Tre (p = 0.45) or Tin (p = 0.42),HR, or total sweat loss between the SE and either PEWH or PENH (p = 0.59). However, Tsk was greater in PEWH and PENH compared with SE (p < 0.05). Total endurance time in SE was greater than in either PEWH or PENH (p < 0.05). Thus, it was concluded that the rerouting of exhaust gases to the jacket did not provide significant convective cooling or reduce thermal stress compared with the SE under the mild conditions selected, and the data did not support the hypotheses of the present study.
Equipment-design; Exposure-assessment; Filters; Fire-protection; Fire-protection-equipment; Inhalation-studies; Laboratory-testing; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Physical-reactions; Physical-stress; Physiological-effects; Physiological-response; Physiological-stress; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures; Respiratory-equipment; Respiratory-protection; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Risk-analysis; Self-contained-breathing-apparatus; Statistical-analysis; Author Keywords: nanoparticle penetration; nonwoven fabric; protective clothing
W. Jon Williams, CDC, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), P.O. Box 18070, 626 Cochrans Mill Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
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Journal Article
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Services: Public Safety
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Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene