Effectiveness of a light-weight ice-vest for body cooling while wearing fire fighter's protective clothing in the heat

Juhani Smolander, Kalev Kuklane, Désirée Gavhed, Håkan Nilsson, Ingvar Holmér
International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics: JOSE 2004, 10 (2): 111-7
The aim of the study was to examine the effects of wearing an ice-vest (ca 1 kg) on physiological and subjective responses in fire fighters. The experiments were carried out on a treadmill in a hot-dry environment. The physical cooling effect of the ice-vest was measured with a thermal manikin. The ice-vest effectively reduced skin temperatures under the vest. On average, heart rate was 10 beats/min lower, the amount of sweating was reduced by 13%, and subjective sensations of effort and warmth were lower during work with the ice-vest compared to work without it. Thermal manikin tests indicated that the useful energy available from the vest for body cooling was rather high (58%). In conclusion, the ice-vest reduces physiological and subjective strain responses during heavy work in the heat, and may promote efficient work time by 10%.

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