Sizing firefighters: method and implications

Human Factors
Hongwei HsiaoMichael Wilbur


This article reports new anthropometric information of U.S. firefighters for fire apparatus design applications (Study 1) and presents a data method to assist in firefighter anthropometric data usage for research-to-practice propositions (Study 2). Up-to-date anthropometric information of the U.S. firefighter population is needed for updating ergonomic and safety specifications for fire apparatus. A stratified sampling plan of three-age by three-race/ethnicity combinations was used to collect anthropometric data of 863 male and 88 female firefighters across the U.S. regions; 71 anthropometric dimensions were measured (Study I). Differences among original, weighted, and normality transformed data from Study 1 were compared to allowable observer errors (Study 2). On average, male firefighters were 9.8 kg heavier and female firefighters were 29 mm taller than their counterparts in the general U.S. population. They also have larger upper-body builds than those of the general U.S. population. The data in weighted, unweighted, and normality transformed modes were compatible among each other with a few exceptions. The data obtained in this study provide the first available U.S. national firefighter anthropometric information for fire ...Continue Reading


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