University Presentation Showcase: Undergraduate Poster Gallery



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Creation Date

Spring 4-5-2018


fitness and wellness managmen


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 the 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 training tests lack the encumbrance of the gear, providing an inadequate sense of preparedness. PURPOSE: To establish the additional metabolic cost of fire gear on individuals during a low intensity aerobic task. METHODS: 14 college students, age (22±4) height (175.5±7.1cm) weight (77.4±13.6kg) performed the Bruce submaximal walking test in standard gym clothes (familiarization),[LM1] [JI2] personal protective equipment (PPE), SCBA pack and mask, and full gear (combination of PPE and SCBA). Each subject completed 4 sessions total. Gear for each visit was determined using a randomized cross-over design excluding the familiarization. Each subject was weighed before and after the walking test with weight loss recorded. 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. Heart rate and Rate of Perceived Exertion were recorded during each minute of testing. Results were compared using a two-way ANOVA with Post Hoc LSD analysis and repeated measures. RESULTS[LM3] [JI4] : Overall there was significantly greater weight loss (.22±.1kg) in the full gear visit compared to the PPE (P<.004) and SCBA pack and masks visits (P˂0.001). Mean and Standard deviation weight loss for each gear combination is .32±.12kg full gear, .14±.06kg SCBA Pack and mask, and .22±.07kg PPE. Full gear had significantly higher heart rates during stages 1 (P<.009), 2 (P<.002), 3 (P<.001), and 4 (P<.015) compared to SCBA pack and mask. Full gear also had a significantly higher RPE response in stages 1 (P<.022), 2 (P<.007), 3 (P<.001), and 4 (P<.001). PPE compared to SCBA pack and mask showed significantly greater water loss (P<.032). CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion we found that fire gear has a greater metabolic cost than standard gym clothes. Also, we discovered that full fire gear had a profound effect on the heart rates, Rate of perceived exertion, and weight loss in subjects during the Bruce walking protocol. We also found that PPE compared to SCBA pack and mask caused significantly greater weight loss. This sparks interest because both combinations of gear are approximately equal in weight. Future research should investigate testing the metabolic demands of fire gear during firefighter specific tasks.