This study aimed to ascertain the appropriate test methods for the investigation of the effect of personal protective equipment on mobility of firefighters. Nine male volunteers performed a physical performance test (crawl, obstacle course, side-to-side jumps, heavy-object drag, and step-ups), functional balance test (functional reach, timed up and go, and wooden plank time), range of motion test, and subjective evaluation under four clothing conditions with different weights and combinations of personal protective equipment. The results showed that physical performance, functional balance ability, and joint angles significantly declined with increased weight of personal protective equipment. On subjective evaluation, wearing heavy personal protective equipment increased perceived exertion and discomfort on movement. Our results proved that some of our test methods, including the obstacle course, side-to-side jumps, functional reach, timed up and go, range of motion test, and subjective evaluation, can be used to examine the mobility of personal protective equipment wearers. The findings of this study provide an effective guide for researchers and firefighters regarding the evaluation of mobility with personal protective equipment, as well as for manufacturers in the development of enhanced, comfortable personal protective equipment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Cultural Studies
- Materials Science (miscellaneous)
- Strategy and Management