Fire Prevention & Protection

PSYCHOLOGICAL RESPONSES TO WORKING IN BUNKER GEAR

Issue 2 and Volume 149.

PSYCHOLOGICAL RESPONSES TO WORKING IN BUNKER GEAR BY STEVEN J. PETRUZZELLO, Ph.D.; DENISE L. SMITH, Ph.D.; DAVID F. CLARK, F.F., M.Ed.; and BRADLEY G. BONE, F.F., R.N. We reported in Fire Engineering (November 1994) some of the results of a study in which we examined firefighters` physiological responses while working in different types of gear–what we referred to as “station blues,” the “hip-boot” configuration, and the “NFPA 1500” configuration. We compared heart rate, oxygen consumption, deep body temperature, and mean skin temperature and found that these findings tell only part of the story. We also sought to determine what, if any, psychological effects the combination of physical work and bunker gear had on firefighters. To date, we have found very little research that has examined perceptual and self-reported variables beyond the perceptions of exertion. We reasoned that increased physiological stress caused by the increased heat production and heat retention of…

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