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Physiological responses of fire fighters dressed in Level A or fully encapsulated Chemical Protective clothing were measured in field studies while exposed to various climatic conditions. Each test involved an operationally relevant work session. Rectal temperatures (TR), heart rates (HR), blood pressures, respiration rates, clothed weights and climatic parameters were recorded before and after each test. Test results show average TR, HR and sweat losses increased to 38.6°C, 208 beats/min and 1.59 Kg respectively during the hot/dry and hot/wet exposures. The wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) levels for the hot/dry conditions exceeded the NIOSH recommended limiting criteria and was marginal for the hot/wet tests. Physiologic parameters measured during comfortable and cold conditions were similar to each other and lower than those measured during the hot/dry or hot/wet conditions. Differences in suit design were clearly reflected in the measured physiologic parameters and the effort required to perform work. Suggested suit modifications are discussed to reduce clothing encumbrance and enhance work efficiency.
Chemical Protective Clothing, Fire Fighters Clothing, Thermal Exposure, HAZMAT Clothing
president, Biotherm, Inc., Beavercreek, OH