Indices of physiological strain for firefighters of the Australian Defence Forces.

08:00 EDT 11th October 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Indices of physiological strain for firefighters of the Australian Defence Forces."

High levels of exertion and physiological strain are the leading cause of fireground injuries. The Physiological Strain Index (PSI) provides a rating of strain based on body core temperature and heart rate; however, it may underestimate the strain of workers in protective clothing as skin temperature may be elevated. This study aimed to examine the relationship between the PSI and an Adaptive Physiological Strain Index (aPSI) that incorporates skin temperature, among firefighters wearing protective clothing. Nine male firefighters of the Australian Defence Force volunteered to participate. Participants conducted scenario-based activities while wearing turnout gear and breathing apparatus. Working in teams of four, participants would respond to a situation around and within a small building with several rooms that could be filled with smoke, however, no live fire was present. Heart rate, gastrointestinal temperature, and skin temperature were monitored throughout work and rehabilitation. Physiological strain was estimated via the PSI and aPSI. Absolute peak PSI and aPSI ratings were significantly different during work (
7.3 ± 1.6; aPSI 8.2 ± 2.0;  < 0.001). The aPSI produced higher ratings of physiological strain, >0.5 above PSI, progressively from a moderate level of strain (>6). The aPSI may provide a more accurate indication of a level of "maximal strain" for encapsulated workers than the original PSI, coincident with the occupational limits for body core temperature of 38.0 °C for general occupational groups, or 38.5 °C for selected and acclimatised personnel.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Journal of occupational and environmental hygiene
ISSN: 1545-9632
Pages: 1-8


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