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  • FF Rehab

    Does anyone have experiance with the cool vest or cool shirt for rehab? What are your experiences? how does it compair to the cool chairs or limb submersion chairs?

    Thanks
    aaron

  • #2
    I don't think that any of the gadgets that you have mentioned would be as effective as proper re-hydration methods for rehab.

    My department has a full time health and wellness coordinator and all angles were examined. Hydration is the key for our members well being and rehab effectiveness. And believe me, if there were better methods out there, we would be trying it. We have had heat indexes at or over 100 degrees nearly all summer long.
    I can't believe they actually pay me to do this!!!

    One friend noted yesterday that a fire officer only carries a flashlight, sometimes prompting grumbling from firefighters who have to lug tools and hoses.
    "The old saying is you never know how heavy that flashlight can become," the friend said.
    -from a tragic story posted on firefighterclosecalls.com

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    • #3
      Does your Department have a rehab program?

      If you have tried the Chairs and the misting fans I doubt you would be discounting them. You are not going to drop the core body temprature of a FF by just having him drink water at a fire scene. We are looking to add the cool vest system to our regional rehab team and are looking for real world user feedback not summation.

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      • #4
        The best "gadgets" I've seen are the forearm immersion chairs and the misting fans with a tank that you can put ice and water in.

        I've been trying some different things this summer with rehab and dropping body temperatures. Of course, rehydration is the biggest factor. Once you get your guys used to the idea and the understand why, it's easier to get them to do it. The last fire we had (two large apartment complexes) on a 90-degree plus day we went through four cases of IV fluids between us and the LEO's.

        When we first started getting serious about rehab we started with chilled bottled water, folding lawn chairs, and a vent fan. It worked, but it was taking guys 40 minutes or more to get their vitals back down to where we want them.

        By far the "Kore Kooler" chairs, IVs, and misting fans worked the best. One of the local ambulances brought their rehab trailer that had all of that equipment and it was a Godsend. We not only put water in the fans, but ice to help create a cool mist. We also utilized their collapsible tents to provide shade.

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        • #5
          I heard years ago that running cool water over your wrists was a way to cool down, so a chair that utilizes that process seems like a no-brainer.

          Misting fans are useful as well.

          We don't do a lot of structure fires as compared to some areas - even counting our AMA's, we'll only roll on a half dozen in the course of a year. That makes it hard to get people in the habit of using rehab effectively. We still have auxiliaries bringing coffee....

          One thing I've been trying to convince the departments in our county to do is purchase those 10x10 canopies (with attachable sides), all the same, so when we do have a major event, everyone can bring out their canopy, put them all together, and suddenly you have a 20x30 "room" in which to conduct rehab.

          Winter is the bigger bugaboo for us, so being able to enclose an area that size and provide heat (portable propane heaters) would be a real benefit.
          Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

          Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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          • #6
            havent used them for rehab, but when i went to space shuttle rescue school at cape canaveral i got to put one on that the astrounauts wear and that thing was COLD!!! i had to get out of it after about 5 minutes because i was starting to feel hypothermic.

            imo they're great.

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            • #7
              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LTPRJqt2z4
              I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

              "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

              "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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              • #8
                Rehab? Never heard of it :-P

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                • #9
                  We're using limb immersion also. Never would have believed that it worked until I used it. It's mandatory for our live burn instructor's use after each burn, and makes all of the difference in the world.

                  We generally couple this immersion with the misting fans, which is a no-brainer too.

                  I hope it would go without saying that water/Gatorade (or a mix) is also a part of the rehab process.

                  As for the OP's question about the cool vests, I've worn one under my fire suit while working at NASCAR events, but I think that this might be more of a long-term cooling agent, not short-term like a rehab area might be. FWIW, it does stay cool for several hours.
                  Career Fire Captain
                  Volunteer Chief Officer


                  Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by eagle5473 View Post
                    Does your Department have a rehab program?

                    If you have tried the Chairs and the misting fans I doubt you would be discounting them. You are not going to drop the core body temprature of a FF by just having him drink water at a fire scene. We are looking to add the cool vest system to our regional rehab team and are looking for real world user feedback not summation.
                    We do have a rehab program.

                    We have our members work through two cylinders. They are to intake at least 8 ounces of water while their cylinder is being changed. After two cylinders or a maximum of 45 mins of work they are to go into rehab. They have their initial vitals taken and are re-hydrated with a 50/50 mix of cold water and Gatorade. They are not to have any extreme cooling performed such as entering air-conditioned environments and such (this would include immersion if we did that) until they have spent a period of time out of their gear at ambient temperature with sufficient air movement (fans). Studies have found that the body's natural cooling system will shut down when external cooling is utilized especially if they go from very hot to very cold environments. Once their vitals have dropped to acceptable levels they are released to return to work whether it takes 10 minutes (minimum) or one hour. Basically, we are trying to limit the stress to our members systems by going from one extreme to the other. If it takes them a little longer to rehab then so be it.

                    Here is some real world feedback for the specific system you are looking at utilizing:

                    My team utilizes the cool vest system for level A hazmat entries. In my opinion and that of most of our team we have found that the cool vests really don't feel like they cool us down but seem to take a little heat off while we are working. Either way, no matter what you wear in a personal sauna, you will get hot. But as someone else here stated, they are a long term solution, not for short term cooling.

                    I also spent some time talking with a manufacturer of cool vests at a recent international conference and he stated that one of the drawbacks of a cool vest is that the blood vessels of the chest and back constrict when cooled which limits the amount of blood that the cool vest can cool. The only vessels that do not constrict due to cold are near the wrists and ankles. They are currently working on a solution for a system to cool those areas without being bulky and limiting your movement. This would validate some of the claims of forearm immersion. But remember, we as a department are trying to limit stress to our firefighters (both ways... heating too quickly and cooling too quickly).

                    Moral of the story: Stress kills. Limit the stress of your firefighters. Support their bodies natural cooling system. Don't add to their stress by trying to cool them too quickly. If it takes their vitals a while to come down to acceptable levels then so be it. Don't try to rush it. Call in additional resources.
                    I can't believe they actually pay me to do this!!!

                    One friend noted yesterday that a fire officer only carries a flashlight, sometimes prompting grumbling from firefighters who have to lug tools and hoses.
                    "The old saying is you never know how heavy that flashlight can become," the friend said.
                    -from a tragic story posted on firefighterclosecalls.com

                    Comment

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