Investigation of Female versus Male Firefighter Anthropometrics and Ergonomic Mobility
The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of fit on female versus male firefighter range of motion (ROM) when donning a structural turnout ensemble. Three test ensembles were evaluated: base layers (BL), turnout suit (TS), and turnout ensemble (TE). Sixteen career firefighters (10 males; 6 females) completed a user needs survey on fit and mobility restrictions, were measured in a three-dimensional body scanner, performed a static ROM protocol, and recorded ease of movement and comfort perceptions for each ensemble. Average body measurements and absolute ROM values were calculated for each test ensemble and analyzed by gender. Results demonstrated multiple significant differences in body measurements between male and female firefighters when wearing the BL and TS test ensembles. Mobility was significantly reduced when donning the TS and TE, regardless of gender. Significant differences in trunk and shoulder flexion when wearing turnout suits were identified according to participant sex.