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A comparison of active and passive cooling methods in firefighters during fireground rehabilitation following a live burn training

Colburn Hoster, Deanna (2013) A comparison of active and passive cooling methods in firefighters during fireground rehabilitation following a live burn training. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Objective We compared two active cooling devices to passive cooling in a moderate (≈22°C)
temperature environment on heart rate, core temperature, and perceptions of recovery when
applied to firefighters following 20 min. of fire suppression. Methods Firefighters (23 male, 2
female) performed 20 minutes of fire suppression at a live fire evolution. Immediately following
the evolution, the subjects removed their thermal protective clothing and were randomized to
receive forearm immersion (FI), ice water perfused cooling vest (CV), or passive cooling (P) in
an air-conditioned medical trailer for 30 minutes. Heart rate and deep gastric temperature were
monitored every five minutes during recovery. OMNI rating of perceived exertion, thermal
comfort, thermal stress, sweating, and comfort ratings were all reported every five minutes
during recovery. Results A single 20-minute bout of fire suppression resulted in near maximal
HR (175±13 - P,172±20 - FI, 177±12 beats•min−1 - CV) when compared to baseline (p < 0.001),
a rapid and substantial rise in Tc (38.2±0.7 - P, 38.3±0.4 - FI, 38.3±0.3° - CV) compared to
baseline (p <0.001), and mass lost from sweating of nearly one kilogram. Cooling rates (°C/min)
differed (p =0.036) by device with FI (0.05±0.04) providing higher rates than P (0.03±0.02) or
CV (0.03±0.04) although differences over 30 minutes were small and recovery of body
temperature was incomplete in all groups. There were no differences in perceptual ratings by
cooling method, but there were significant effects based on time (p=0.0). Conclusions During 30
min. of recovery following a 20-minute bout of fire suppression in a training academy setting,
there is a slightly higher cooling rate for FI and no apparent benefit to CV when compared to P
cooling in a moderate temperature environment.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Colburn Hoster,
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGoss, Fredricgoss@pitt.eduGOSS
Committee MemberSuyama,
Committee MemberReis,
Committee MemberRobertson, Robertrrobert@pitt.eduRROBERT
Date: 10 January 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 5 November 2012
Approval Date: 10 January 2013
Submission Date: 10 December 2012
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 80
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Health and Physical Activity
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: hyperthermia, perceptual measures, firefighters
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2013 14:40
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:08


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