Perception or reality

Can thermal perceptions inform management of firefighters in the heat?

Anthony Walker, Ben Rattray, Matt Brearley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    4 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Accurately assessing the physiological status of firefighters during work in the heat is critical to ensuring their safety. Evaluating core temperatures (Tc) in the field is problematic due to cost and limitations in technology and accuracy. As such, fire services rely on individual perceptions of wellbeing. The present study aimed to establish whether perceptual responses measured using the perceptual strain index (PeSI), calculated from rate of perceived exertion (RPE) and thermal sensation (TS), could reliably predict the physiological strain (PSI) encountered by experienced firefighters working in a hot environment. We conducted two firefighting simulations (set-pace and self-paced) in a purposefully built heat chamber (100 ± 5°C) comprised of two 20-min periods separated by a 10-min recovery outside the chamber. Physiological strain was measured via heart rate (HR) and gastrointestinal temperature (Tgi) and compared with PeSI at 5-min intervals. To evaluate the predictive ability of the PeSI for PSI, mean differences and the 95% limits of agreement (LOA) were established, along with correlation coefficients at each 5-min interval. Moderately significant correlations occurred in the second work bout of the self-paced trial only (10 min: r = 0.335, 15 min: r = 0.498, 20 min r = 0.439) with no other correlations observed at any other time during either trial or during the rest periods. Bland-Altman analysis revealed mean differences of −0.74 ± 2.70 (self-paced) and +0.04 ± 2.04 (set-paced) between PeSI and PSI with the 95% LOA being −4.77 to 3.28 (self-paced) and −4.01 to 2.01 (set-paced). The wide LOA and lack of correlations observed between perceptual and physiological strain in both self-paced and set-paced work trials indicate that PeSI is not sufficiently reliable as a sole measure of wellbeing for firefighters working in the heat. Hence, we recommend that fire services prioritise the development of reliable and effective monitoring tools for use in the field

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)306-312
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
    Volume14
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2017

    Fingerprint

    Firefighters
    Hot Temperature
    Temperature
    Aptitude
    Heart Rate
    Technology
    Safety
    Costs and Cost Analysis

    Cite this

    @article{836f23b8ec944014af11d509fccd3d4a,
    title = "Perception or reality: Can thermal perceptions inform management of firefighters in the heat?",
    abstract = "Accurately assessing the physiological status of firefighters during work in the heat is critical to ensuring their safety. Evaluating core temperatures (Tc) in the field is problematic due to cost and limitations in technology and accuracy. As such, fire services rely on individual perceptions of wellbeing. The present study aimed to establish whether perceptual responses measured using the perceptual strain index (PeSI), calculated from rate of perceived exertion (RPE) and thermal sensation (TS), could reliably predict the physiological strain (PSI) encountered by experienced firefighters working in a hot environment. We conducted two firefighting simulations (set-pace and self-paced) in a purposefully built heat chamber (100 ± 5°C) comprised of two 20-min periods separated by a 10-min recovery outside the chamber. Physiological strain was measured via heart rate (HR) and gastrointestinal temperature (Tgi) and compared with PeSI at 5-min intervals. To evaluate the predictive ability of the PeSI for PSI, mean differences and the 95{\%} limits of agreement (LOA) were established, along with correlation coefficients at each 5-min interval. Moderately significant correlations occurred in the second work bout of the self-paced trial only (10 min: r = 0.335, 15 min: r = 0.498, 20 min r = 0.439) with no other correlations observed at any other time during either trial or during the rest periods. Bland-Altman analysis revealed mean differences of −0.74 ± 2.70 (self-paced) and +0.04 ± 2.04 (set-paced) between PeSI and PSI with the 95{\%} LOA being −4.77 to 3.28 (self-paced) and −4.01 to 2.01 (set-paced). The wide LOA and lack of correlations observed between perceptual and physiological strain in both self-paced and set-paced work trials indicate that PeSI is not sufficiently reliable as a sole measure of wellbeing for firefighters working in the heat. Hence, we recommend that fire services prioritise the development of reliable and effective monitoring tools for use in the field",
    keywords = "Heat stress, perceptual strain index, physiological strain index, safety",
    author = "Anthony Walker and Ben Rattray and Matt Brearley",
    year = "2017",
    month = "4",
    day = "3",
    doi = "10.1080/15459624.2016.1240871",
    language = "English",
    volume = "14",
    pages = "306--312",
    journal = "AIHA journal : a journal for the science of occupational and environmental health and safety",
    issn = "1047-322X",
    publisher = "Taylor and Francis Ltd.",
    number = "4",

    }

    Perception or reality : Can thermal perceptions inform management of firefighters in the heat? / Walker, Anthony; Rattray, Ben; Brearley, Matt.

    In: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, Vol. 14, No. 4, 03.04.2017, p. 306-312.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Perception or reality

    T2 - Can thermal perceptions inform management of firefighters in the heat?

    AU - Walker, Anthony

    AU - Rattray, Ben

    AU - Brearley, Matt

    PY - 2017/4/3

    Y1 - 2017/4/3

    N2 - Accurately assessing the physiological status of firefighters during work in the heat is critical to ensuring their safety. Evaluating core temperatures (Tc) in the field is problematic due to cost and limitations in technology and accuracy. As such, fire services rely on individual perceptions of wellbeing. The present study aimed to establish whether perceptual responses measured using the perceptual strain index (PeSI), calculated from rate of perceived exertion (RPE) and thermal sensation (TS), could reliably predict the physiological strain (PSI) encountered by experienced firefighters working in a hot environment. We conducted two firefighting simulations (set-pace and self-paced) in a purposefully built heat chamber (100 ± 5°C) comprised of two 20-min periods separated by a 10-min recovery outside the chamber. Physiological strain was measured via heart rate (HR) and gastrointestinal temperature (Tgi) and compared with PeSI at 5-min intervals. To evaluate the predictive ability of the PeSI for PSI, mean differences and the 95% limits of agreement (LOA) were established, along with correlation coefficients at each 5-min interval. Moderately significant correlations occurred in the second work bout of the self-paced trial only (10 min: r = 0.335, 15 min: r = 0.498, 20 min r = 0.439) with no other correlations observed at any other time during either trial or during the rest periods. Bland-Altman analysis revealed mean differences of −0.74 ± 2.70 (self-paced) and +0.04 ± 2.04 (set-paced) between PeSI and PSI with the 95% LOA being −4.77 to 3.28 (self-paced) and −4.01 to 2.01 (set-paced). The wide LOA and lack of correlations observed between perceptual and physiological strain in both self-paced and set-paced work trials indicate that PeSI is not sufficiently reliable as a sole measure of wellbeing for firefighters working in the heat. Hence, we recommend that fire services prioritise the development of reliable and effective monitoring tools for use in the field

    AB - Accurately assessing the physiological status of firefighters during work in the heat is critical to ensuring their safety. Evaluating core temperatures (Tc) in the field is problematic due to cost and limitations in technology and accuracy. As such, fire services rely on individual perceptions of wellbeing. The present study aimed to establish whether perceptual responses measured using the perceptual strain index (PeSI), calculated from rate of perceived exertion (RPE) and thermal sensation (TS), could reliably predict the physiological strain (PSI) encountered by experienced firefighters working in a hot environment. We conducted two firefighting simulations (set-pace and self-paced) in a purposefully built heat chamber (100 ± 5°C) comprised of two 20-min periods separated by a 10-min recovery outside the chamber. Physiological strain was measured via heart rate (HR) and gastrointestinal temperature (Tgi) and compared with PeSI at 5-min intervals. To evaluate the predictive ability of the PeSI for PSI, mean differences and the 95% limits of agreement (LOA) were established, along with correlation coefficients at each 5-min interval. Moderately significant correlations occurred in the second work bout of the self-paced trial only (10 min: r = 0.335, 15 min: r = 0.498, 20 min r = 0.439) with no other correlations observed at any other time during either trial or during the rest periods. Bland-Altman analysis revealed mean differences of −0.74 ± 2.70 (self-paced) and +0.04 ± 2.04 (set-paced) between PeSI and PSI with the 95% LOA being −4.77 to 3.28 (self-paced) and −4.01 to 2.01 (set-paced). The wide LOA and lack of correlations observed between perceptual and physiological strain in both self-paced and set-paced work trials indicate that PeSI is not sufficiently reliable as a sole measure of wellbeing for firefighters working in the heat. Hence, we recommend that fire services prioritise the development of reliable and effective monitoring tools for use in the field

    KW - Heat stress

    KW - perceptual strain index

    KW - physiological strain index

    KW - safety

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85014793236&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1080/15459624.2016.1240871

    DO - 10.1080/15459624.2016.1240871

    M3 - Article

    VL - 14

    SP - 306

    EP - 312

    JO - AIHA journal : a journal for the science of occupational and environmental health and safety

    JF - AIHA journal : a journal for the science of occupational and environmental health and safety

    SN - 1047-322X

    IS - 4

    ER -