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Title:Analysis of fatigue in firefighters: foot clearances over stair edges and validation of a novel means for metabolic data collection
Author(s):Kesler, Richard
Advisor(s):Hsiao-Wecksler, Elizabeth T.
Department / Program:Bioengineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
fire service
metabolic data
Abstract:Firefighting is a physically challenging occupation which demands high levels of energy exertion and can result in high levels of fatigue. The combination of slip, trip, and fall injuries with those caused by overexertion comprise a significant number of total firefighter injuries each year. To better assess the energy expenditure and exertion of firefighters during simulated firefighting activities, a standard firefighter facepiece was modified to interface with a portable metabolic monitoring device (Cosmed K4b2). This design allowed for the collection of metabolic data while the firefighter utilizes a standard self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) as the air supply. This modified facepiece was then validated in a stationary bicycling variable-workload assessment with two metabolic measurement devices (the portable Cosmed K4b2 unit and a limited portability metabolic cart unit). These conditions were: (1) the standard mask with the Cosmed K4b2, (2) modified SCBA facepiece with the Cosmed K4b2, (3) standard headpiece with the metabolic cart, and (4) modified SCBA facepiece with the metabolic cart. These results showed the modified facepiece was an accurate and reliable tool for the collection of metabolic data, and is suitable for use in future studies which demand the collection of metabolic data while utilizing a SCBA system. Previous studies have attempted to simulate firefighting in safe, controlled environments, but a standard has yet to be developed. This study examined three protocols, each designed to simulate the environment and workload associated with firefighting. To assess the biomechanical differences between conditions, firefighters ascended and descended stairs before and immediately after activity. For half of the trials firefighters carried an asymmetrical hose load, as is commonly done on the fireground. Clearances of the heels and toes were examined over each stair edge. Some significant changes occurred due to condition, pre/post activity, and load carriage. These results can lead to the development of a standard for the simulation of firefighting and lead to reduced injuries on the fireground by allowing for a better understanding of how fatigue and load carriage affect firefighters.
Issue Date:2013-05-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Richard Kesler
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-24
Date Deposited:2013-05

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