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Title:Thermal response to firefighting activities in residential structure fires: impact of job assignment and suppression tactic
Author(s):Horn, Gavin P.; Kesler, Richard M.; Kerber, Stephen; Fent, Kenneth W.; Schroeder, Tad J.; Scott, William S.; Fehling, Patricia C.; Fernhall, Bo; Smith, Denise L.
Life safety
Firefighting research
Body temperature
Heat stress
Residential buildings
Structural firefighting operations
Firefighting tactics
Abstract:Firefighters’ thermal burden is generally attributed to high heat loads from the fire and metabolic heat generation, which may vary between job assignments and suppression tactic employed. Utilising a full-sized residential structure, firefighters were deployed in six job assignments utilising two attack tactics (1. Water applied from the interior, or 2. Exterior water application before transitioning to the interior). Environmental temperatures decreased after water application, but more rapidly with transitional attack. Local ambient temperatures for inside operation firefighters were higher than other positions (average ~10–30 °C). Rapid elevations in skin temperature were found for all job assignments other than outside command. Neck skin temperatures for inside attack firefighters were ~0.5 °C lower when the transitional tactic was employed. Significantly higher core temperatures were measured for the outside ventilation and overhaul positions than the inside positions (~0.6–0.9 °C). Firefighters working at all fireground positions must be monitored and relieved based on intensity and duration. Practitioner Summary: Testing was done to characterise the thermal burden experienced by firefighters in different job assignments who responded to controlled residential fires (with typical furnishings) using two tactics. Ambient, skin and core temperatures varied based on job assignment and tactic employed, with rapid elevations in core temperature in many roles.
Issue Date:2017-07-31
Citation Info:Gavin P. Horn, Richard M. Kesler, Steve Kerber, Kenneth W. Fent, Tad J. Schroeder, William S. Scott, Patricia C. Fehling, Bo Fernhall & Denise L. Smith (2018) Thermal response to firefighting activities in residential structure fires: impact of job assignment and suppression tactic, Ergonomics, 61:3, 404-419, DOI: 10.1080/00140139.2017.1355072
Sponsor:This work was supported by the Department of Homeland Security Fire Prevention and Safety Grant [#EMW-2013-FP-00766].
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 The Author(s).
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License ( 4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-11-14

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  • IFSI Research
    This collection contains research publications from IFSI Research at the Illinois Fire Service Institute.

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