Assessing gait changes in firefighters after firefighting activities and while carrying asymmetric loads

Kiwon Park, Julian F. Sy, Gavin P. Horn, Richard M. Kesler, Matthew N. Petrucci, Karl S. Rosengren, Elizabeth T Hsiao-Wecksler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the most common causes of injuries among firefighters is slips, trips, and falls on the fireground. Acute fatigue from firefighting activities and/or carrying asymmetric loads might impact gait characteristics increasing slip, trip, and fall risk. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of fatigue from simulated firefighting activities and carrying asymmetric loads (fire hose over one shoulder) on firefighters’ gait behavior. Both firefighting activities and asymmetric hoseload carriage led to shorter step lengths, stride lengths, single leg support time, and longer double leg support time, suggesting firefighters adopted cautious gait strategies. Simulated firefighting activities performed in either a live-fire training tower or laboratory-based environmental chamber using a firefighting activity simulator resulted in nearly identical effects on gait kinematics. This result suggests that gait assessment in a laboratory-based environmental chamber can be used as effective simulations in place of specialized burn facilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-50
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Ergonomics
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • Firefighters
  • Firefighting activities
  • Gait parameters
  • Load carriage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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