Skin sites to predict deep-body temperature while wearing firefighters' personal protective clothing during periodical changes in air temperature

The aim of this study was to investigate stable and valid measurement sites of skin temperatures as a non-invasive variable to predict deep-body temperature while wearing firefighters' personal protective equipment (PPE) during air temperature changes. Eight male firefighters participated in an experiment which consisted of 60-min exercise and 10-min recovery while wearing PPE without self-contained breathing apparatus (7.75 kg in total PPE mass). Air temperature was periodically fluctuated from 29.5 to 35.5°C with an amplitude of 6°C. Rectal temperature was chosen as a deep-body temperature and 12 skin temperatures were recorded. The results showed that the forehead and chest were identified as the most valid sites to predict rectal temperature (R(2) = 0.826 and 0.824, respectively) in an environment with periodically-fluctuated air temperatures. The present study suggests that particular skin temperatures are valid as a non-invasive variable when predicting rectal temperature of an individual wearing PPE in changing ambient temperatures. Practitioner summary This study should offer assistance for developing a more reliable indirect indicating system of individual heat strain for firefighters in real time, which can be used practically as a precaution of fire fighters' heat-related illness and utilized along with physiological monitoring.

Source: Kim S, Lee JY. Ergonomics, 2015.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2015.1075604

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