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SCBA oximetry for fire fighter physiologic monitoring.

Wiesmann WP; Bogucki S; Pranger A; Winchell RJ; Kolka M
Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, R43-OH-004173, 2002 Jun; :1-47
This project adapted technologies currently used for patient monitoring in the clinical environment to real time physiologic monitoring of working firefighters. The work is aimed at reducing the occupational morbidity and mortality of the fire ground through direct physiologic status monitoring and development of essential research tools for understanding the pathophysiology of non-traumatic disability on the fire ground. Reflectance mode oximetry sensors were mounted in the face pieces of commercially available self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) after the optimal separation distance of the emitting and detecting elements was empirically established. Oximetry processing boards that were optimized for both detection of the non-pulsatile (DC) waveform component and compatibility with wearable radiotransmitters were built and hardened for experimental use. A previously validated protocol of simulated, sequential fireground tasks was adapted for this project so that it could be performed within the controlled conditions of an environmental chamber. IRB-approved studies using local firefighters as voluntary subjects were then conducted to test the operational feasibility and reliability of the integrated SCBA-oximetry system. These preliminary experiments also correlated DC oximetry with physiologic status by simultaneously monitoring core temperature under conditions of compensable and uncompensable heat stress. The Phase 1 technical accomplishments and scientific results suggest that SCBA-based oximetry represents a viable future solution for remote, physiologic monitoring of fire ground personnel and a potentially valuable research tool for studying workers at risk for exertion-related heat stress while wearing personal protective equipment.
Breathing; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting-equipment; Respiratory-equipment; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Respiratory-function-tests; Physiological-testing; Monitoring-systems
BioAsyst, LLC, 12321 Middlebrook Road, Suite 150, Germantown, Maryland
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Final Grant Report
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NIOSH Division
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
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Sekos, Inc., Germantown, Maryland
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division