Chemical Protective Gear Limits Responders' Physical Capacity

Respiratory and chemical protective equipment used by firefighters and military personnel significantly reduces exercise capacity, according to a new study, indicating such equipment impacts the amount of physical effort required for emergency personnel to respond to situations.

Researchers from Texas measured the effect of the equipment on 22 healthy, active-duty soldiers. Each participant performed three exercises, a minimum of 1 week apart, wearing different clothing and gear for each test.

When exercising with a chemical protective mask or the full protective suit, participants showed a significant decrease in oxygen uptake and oxygen pulse.

The research was presented at the annual scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians, Chest 2006, held in October in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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