Effect of Firefighters' Protective Gear on Physiological Performance: a Systematic Review
Zubieta Pérez, Mikel
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Purpose: This systematic review aims to examine the current research in professional firefighters’ physiological response related to their personal protective equipment (PPE), during exercise. Methods: PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Web of Science were searched to gather all the studies published in peer-reviewed journals up to December 2020. Results: Both the use of personal protective clothing (PPC) or the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) significantly reduce work tolerance and increase HR and RPE, with a greater effect when combined. Core temperature shows higher values while wearing the PPC, increasing heat strain. Ventilatory parameters, sweat, and parasympathetic reactivation do not show any clear evidence and require further research. Conclusion: Current evidence points that PPC increases thermal strain by preventing thermoregulation. Additionally, the further a garment is located from the body’s center of mass, the greater physiological demand it creates, relative to its weight, making the SCBA relatively comfortable despite its considerable mass.