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Application of thermoregulatory modeling to predict core and skin temperatures in firefighters.

Kim J-H; Williams WJ; Coca A; Yokota M
Int J Ind Ergon 2013 Jan; 43(1):115-120
The purpose of the study was to compare body temperature responses from subjects who exercised while wearing firefighter clothing to predictive data from a real-time thermoregulatory model that had been initially developed and validated for use in the military. Data from two firefighter studies, firefighter study 1 (FFS1: 7 males and 3 females, continuous treadmill exercise at 50% VO2max, 25 oC, 50% RH) and firefighter study 2 (FFS2: 6 males, intermittent treadmill exercise at 75% VO2max, 35 oC, 50% RH), were utilized for the thermoregulatory modeling and comparison. The results showed that prediction error (RMSD) of the model for core and skin temperatures was 0.33 and 0.65 oC in FFS1 and 0.39 and 0.86 oC in FFS2, respectively. While the real-time thermoregulatory model tested in the present study showed the potential for providing a means for reasonably accurate prediction of body temperature responses in firefighters, further development on the model's metabolism algorithms to include adjustments for protective clothing, options to facilitate external work, inclusions of cooling effects are suggested. Relevance to industry: Firefighters exposed to thermal extremes experience physiological strain, but direct monitoring of physiological variables is not always practical. Thermoregulatory models can simulate the thermal responses reasonably accurately by applying known thermo-physiological mechanisms together with heat loss mechanisms related to clothing and environment in an effort to improve firefighter safety.
Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting-equipment; Protective-clothing; Protective-equipment; Personal-protective-equipment; Personal-protection; Humans; Men; Women; Physiological-factors; Physiological-effects; Physiological-measurements; Epidemiology; Statistical-analysis; Physical-exercise; Thermoregulation; Models; Body-temperature; Heat; Stress; Author Keywords: Real-time modeling; Heat stress; Core temperature; Skin temperature; Protective clothing
W. Jon Williams, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL/NIOSH/CDC), 626 Cochrans Mill Road, B29-108, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
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Journal Article
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NIOSH Division
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Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
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International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division