To better assess the energy expenditure and exertion of firefighters during simulated firefighting activities, a commercial firefighter self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) facepiece was modified to interface with a portable metabolic monitoring device (Cosmed K4b2) while still functioning as a positive pressure SCBA air supply. To validate the device, standard National Fire Protection Association 1981 SCBA function tests were conducted and 14 subjects performed variable-workload assessments using all combinations of two test devices (Cosmed K4b2 and metabolic cart) and two masks (modified SCBA facepiece and stock manufacturer-supplied breath collection). Metabolic data collected with the Cosmed K4b2 via the modified facepiece were found to be accurate when compared to a ParvoMedics Truemax 2400 metabolic cart (average per cent difference: 4.6%). This modified facepiece design is suitable for use in metabolic studies requiring the utilisation of an SCBA system. Furthermore, the well-established overestimation of oxygen consumption from the Cosmed K4b2 system was replicated.
- gas analysis
- oxygen uptake
- self-contained breathing apparatus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Human Factors and Ergonomics
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation