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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.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of occupational and environmental hygiene
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A purely physical condition which exists within any material because of strain or deformation by external forces or by non-uniform thermal expansion; expressed quantitatively in units of force per unit area.
ERYTHROCYTE size and HEMOGLOBIN content or concentration, usually derived from ERYTHROCYTE COUNT; BLOOD hemoglobin concentration; and HEMATOCRIT. The indices include the mean corpuscular volume (MCV), the mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), and the mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC).
Professional or volunteer members of a fire department who are trained to suppress fire and respond to related emergency.
A mechanism of communication with a physiological system for homeostasis, adaptation, etc. Physiological feedback is mediated through extensive feedback mechanisms that use physiological cues as feedback loop signals to control other systems.
A strain of albino rat developed at the Wistar Institute that has spread widely at other institutions. This has markedly diluted the original strain.
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