The Heat Stress Of Firefighters

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Firefighters are subjected to significant levels of physical exertion, exposure to higher tempera-ture environments, and smoke during the firefighting activities. The physical exertion includes the ability to carry heavy loads, for example oxygen tanks, removal of fallen building structures, rescue of a victim, etc. To be able to work in such inhospitable environments, firefighters wear a protective suit, which shields them from the high temperatures. However, the protective suit re-stricts the heat outflow from the human body to its immediate surroundings. A combination of the physical load, surroundings with higher temperature, and protective suit leads to heat buildup within the human body. An unchecked increase in body heat will lead…show more content…
Inability to dissipate the heat is detrimental to the fire-fighter’s health and can result in heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke and may contribute towards sudden cardiac events.
1.2 Computational whole body model
To suitably dissipate the excess body heat, there are two options: 1) use of cooling mech-anisms, and 2) limiting the duration of the activity, or both. The limit for the duration of activity can be predicted with the help of algorithms based on experimental data [4], human body simula-tors [5, 6], or computational models [7]. Algorithms are developed based on the average re-sponse of the human subjects tested in controlled environmental simulators. The variations in the local environment are limited based on the capacity of the experimental setup. Conversely, using a computational model includes the advantages of: 1) better manipulation of the human body ge-ometry, and 2) the possibility to impose and test unfavorable boundary conditions such as expo-sure to fire. Computational models allow for the integration of the human thermoregulatory sys-tem with a physiologically realistic geometry to determine the thermal interactions of the model with the environment. However, the main drawback of the computational models is that their results are dependent on the quality of input data and boundary conditions. A computational model that resembles the human body is
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