Ergonomic comparison of a chem/bio prototype firefighter ensemble and a standard ensemble.
Coca-A; Roberge-R; Shepherd-A; Powell-JB; Stull-JO; Williams-WJ
Eur J Appl Physiol 2008 Sep; 104(2):351-359
Firefighter turnout gear and equipment protect the wearer against external hazards but, unfortunately, restrict mobility. The aim of this study was to determine the ease of mobility and comfort while wearing a new prototype firefighter ensemble (PE) with additional chemical/biological hazard protection compared to a standard ensemble (SE) by measuring static and dynamic range of motion (ROM), job-related tasks, and comfort. Eight healthy adults (five males, three females), aged 20-40 years, participated in this study. The study consisted of two repeated phases, separated by five uses of the ensembles. Subjects randomly donned either the SE or PE in either dry or wet conditions on separate days. In each phase, five tests were carried out as follows: baseline (non-ensemble), SE-dry, SE-wet, PE-dry, and PE-wet. There was a significant reduction (P<0.05) of wrist flexion for PE-dry condition compared to the same SE-dry condition. Donning the PE took 80 s longer than the SE in phase 1, this difference disappeared in phase 2. There was a significant decrease (P<0.05) in post-test comfort wearing the PE compared to the SE. The data collected in this study suggest that, in spite of design features to enhance chemical/biological hazard protection, the PE design does not decrease the wearer's overall functional mobility compared to the SE. However, subjects seem to be more comfortable wearing the SE compared to the PE. These overall findings support the need for a comprehensive ergonomic evaluation of protective clothing systems to ascertain human factors issues.
Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting-equipment; Protective-clothing; Emergency-responders; Ergonomics
Aitor Coca, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, CDC/NIOSH, 626 Cochrans Mill Road, B29-107, Pittsburgh, PA 15236, USA
Services: Public Safety
European Journal of Applied Physiology