The aims of this study were 1) to evaluate the current pilot test method and ascertain reliable measurements for a standard test method of mobility with personal protective equipment (PPE), such as physical performance and balance ability tests; 2) to compare two participant groups (firefighters versus non-firefighters) and to investigate whether non-firefighters are appropriate as a standard participant group in the field of PPE or not. Totally, 18 participants (nine professional firefighters and nine untrained males) performed the current pilot test method consisting of a balance test, completed prior to and after a performance test. Significant differences were found between PPE conditions and CON (the control clothing ensemble: T-shirt, shorts, and running shoes) for the functional balance test, physical performance test, heart rate, and subjective evaluations in firefighters group. Therefore, the present pilot test method is valid as a standard test method for assessing mobility while wearing PPE. Moreover, the present result shows that firefighters are more reliable than non-firefighters in testing of PPE with current test methods.
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