Impact Of Various Clothing Ensembles On Firefighter

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[Executive Summary]
This project was commissioned by Australian Defence Apparel Pty Ltd. The aim of the project was to investigate the differences between three different clothing variations on purposely selected mobility and subjective measures. Data were collected by the Tactical Research Unit in the Northern Territory over the period 08‐09 August 2019. Eight volunteer firefighters (3 x male trainees; 4 x male officers; 1 x female officer) completed a variety of assessments over a two‐day period, while randomly allocated to a counterbalanced, repeated measures, design to trial the three different clothing variants (V1‐V3) in conjunction with current station wear. In addition, a combination of station wear and V1 (SV1)and V2 (SV2) was trialled. The selected outcome measures included objective measures to specifically assess mobility and power (reach height, Functional Movement Screen [FMS], and vertical jump) and subjective measures (visual analogue scale [VAS] for the FMS, vertical jump, step ups and crawl; and a mannequin sketch to mark any areas of discomfort).

V3 was preferred over station wear in all tasks and performed better both objectively (FMS and vertical jump) and subjectively (VAS scores). While V1 was typically associated with poorer objective and subjective performance, the impacts of V1 and V2 when compared to each other and station wear varied on movement varied depending on the tasks. This variation was greater when station wear was added to V1 (SV1) or V2 (SV2). The greatest areas of discomfort across all clothing variations, including station wear, was the knees, followed by the thighs.

Thus, results from this initial investigation suggest that V3 is preferable over station wear and that the
optimal clothing option for firefighters may vary depending on their roles. Discomfort and restriction over the knees in particular is of concern and was considered by firefighters as impacting on their ability to perform tasks. Any clothing that has the least impact on lower limb power development and FMS
ability may help reduce firefighter injury. Conversely, clothing that allows for better performance than current clothing may provide a risk mitigation to current injury levels, noting that not all injuries to firefighters occur while conducting fire suppression duties. Similar findings existed in relation to boot
variations. While generally not significant, definite trends towards greater ankle range and potential injury mechanism mitigation was found in the B1 variation when consideration was given to a wear in period of the boot.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyAustralian Defence Apparel
Number of pages61
Publication statusUnpublished - 2019


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