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Ergonomics. 2012;55(7):782-91. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2012.663506. Epub 2012 Apr 16.

Effects of firefighters' self-contained breathing apparatus' weight and its harness design on the physiological and subjective responses.

Author information

1
Department of Human Science, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan. ilham@gsd.design.kyushu-u.ac.jp

Abstract

To examine the effects of firefighters' self-contained breathing apparatus' (SCBA) weight and its harness design on the physiological and subjective responses, eight male students performed treadmill exercise under four conditions: the 8 kg firefighter protective clothing (PC) (Control), the PC + an 11 kg SCBA with an old harness (Test A), the PC + a 6.4 kg SCBA with an old harness (Test B) and the PC + a 6.4 kg SCBA with a new harness (Test C), at ambient temperatures (T(a)) of 22°C and 32°C. Besides highlighting the fact that a heavy SCBA had a significant effect on the oxygen consumption and metabolic rate, this experiment also found that in a T(a) of 32°C, in particular, the combined effect of 4.7 kg lighter SCBA and new harness design could reduce metabolic rate and improved subjective muscle fatigue and thermal discomfort.

PRACTITIONER SUMMARY:

An effort to alleviate the physiological and subjective burden of firefighters by reducing the weight of SCBA and by using the new harness design has provided satisfactory results in reduced oxygen consumption and in improved subjective responses in a hot air environment.

PMID:
22506725
DOI:
10.1080/00140139.2012.663506
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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