University Presentation Showcase: Undergraduate Poster Gallery



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Creation Date

Spring 4-5-2018


fitness and wellness managment


Exercise and Sport Science




Michael T. Lane

Mentor Department

Exercise and Sport Science


INTRODUCTION: Fire protection gear holds a singular function for protecting fire fighters in the field, but there is limited research on the metabolic cost when wearing this equipment. Being unaware of how taxing the gear is could put fire fighters in dangerous situations, specifically relative to the size of the individual. Standard firefighter annual physical training tests often lack the encumbrance of the gear, providing an inadequate sense of preparedness. PURPOSE: To analyze the metabolic demand of firefighting gear on individuals during submaximal aerobic exercise using indirect estimation of VO2 max. METHODS: 14 college students [age (mean 22±4 SD years), height (176±7cm), weight (77±14kg)] performed the Bruce submaximal walking test in standard gym clothes (configuration 1). Afterwards, subjects performed the same submaximal test wearing the following configurations: personal protective equipment (configuration 4), SCBA pack and mask (configuration 3), and full gear (configuration 2). Each subject completed 4 sessions total. Gear configurations for each visit was determined using a randomized cross-over design excluding the familiarization. Each subject was weighed before and after the walking test. The original Bruce submaximal protocol was adjusted to (stage 1) 3 minutes (min) at 1.7 MPH and 0% grade(GR), (stage 2) 3 min at 1.7 MPH and 10% GR, (stage 3) 3 min at 2.5 MPH and 12% GR, (stage 4) 3 min at 3.4 MPH and 14% GR, (stage 5) 4 min cool down at 1.7 MPH and 0% GR. Familiarization used the same adjusted protocol but increased stage 4 to 6 min. Predicted VO2 was calculated using the ACSM equation of Indirect estimation of VO2max in athletes. Adjusted VO2 max for added gear was calculated by dividing the mass of the equipment in pounds for each configuration by subject weight multiplying by 100 then multiplying the product by the originally predicted VO2. Results were compared using a One-way ANOVA with Post Hoc LSD analysis. RESULTS: Overall there was a significant difference between the configurations in predicted VO2 max (P<.025). Configuration 2 was significantly greater compared to configuration 1 (P<.03) and configuration 4 was significantly greater compared to configuration 1 (P<.04). No significance was found between adjusted (54.9±7.5 VO2/kg/ml/m/kg body weight) and predicted (48.7±7.6VO2/kg/ml/m/kg body weight) VO2 max. CONCLUSION: The findings of this study give us an insight into the increase of the metabolic cost from the encumbrance of the fire gear. Training programs specific to firefighting should focus more on aerobic tasks while in the fire gear that could be used in actual emergencies.