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ACE Firefighter Environmental Stress Workshop

ACE is the only venue in the world offering the Firefighter Environmental Stress Workshop. This one-of-a-kind workshop utilizes ACE’s $100 million environmental testing facility, which includes a climatic wind tunnel, two climate chambers and an ambulance ride simulator. All of these chambers are capable of simulating temperatures ranging from extreme heat to frigid cold. 

Frigid Cold   Ambulance Ride Simulation

ACE combines the high-tech chambers with the specialized knowledge and expertise of UOIT’s Kinesiology program and Durham College’s Fitness and Health Promotion program to create an ideal environment for teaching firefighters how their bodies react in different types of stressful environmental situations. Faculty and students will utilize Hexoskin technology to gather and measure the participants’ physiological responses throughout all of the simulations. Acquiring this data will enable participants to see how their bodies react, where they need to improve, and what techniques they can use to ensure optimal performance during real-life, high-stress rescue situations.

Workshop learning outcomes

  • Learn how to to put theory into practice while staying calm and thinking clearly in adverse environmental conditions.
  • Discover how your body reacts to stressful situations, both cognitively and physically. Learn how you can improve in these areas, which will increase your chance of success in real-life emergency situations.
  • Develop teamwork skills as you work with fellow team members to overcome the challenge presented.
  • Find out how the skills learned in class can produce drastically different results when completed in stressful environmental conditions.

Simulation descriptions 

Simulation 1: Scene Arrival/Forcible Entry/Search-and-Rescue Maze (Extreme Heat) 

Part 1: Scene Arrival 

Climatic Wind Tunnel, Cold Rain
  • Arrive at the scene in damp spring rains or frigid winter snowstorm.
  • Don a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and remove hose lines.
  • Pull hose line and enter Emergency Scene Control.
  • Scene arrival drills.

Part 2: Forcible Entry

Forcible Break and Entry
  • Perform a forcible-entry task.
  • Force door prop and gain entry to search area.

Part 3: Extreme Heat Maze Search 

  • Vision is reduced to zero as you enter a pitch-black 60˚C chamber.
  • Navigate maze as a team of three in search of victim.
  • Locate and remove victim from chamber as a team while staying calm and collected in the heat.
  • Physiological data monitored to see the effects of extreme heat on physical performance and decision-making.
Firefighter Entering Extreme Heat   Search and Rescue in Extreme Heat

Simulation learning outcomes: 

  • Participants will be able to operate portable radios during adverse weather conditions.
  • Participants will be able to perform entry control during adverse weather conditions.
  • Participants will gain knowledge of their body’s response to job tasks in extreme heat while wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and SCBA.

Simulation 2: Cold Weather SCBA Training and Physiological Response to Environment

Physiological Responses Being Measured

Part 1: Monitor Effect of Cold Weather While Wearing SCBA

  • Observing impact of PPE and SCBA on the body in a cold environment.
  • SCBA use in below-freezing conditions and effect on equipment.

Part 2: Physiological Effects in a Cold Environment 

  • All participants will have their physiological responses monitored to see how they perform in frigid conditions.
  • Examples of drills: 110-pound mannequin drags; spinning; manual handling tasks (e.g. untying knots).

Simulation learning outcomes:

  • Participants will be able to identify limitations of using SCBA during extreme cold weather conditions.
  • Participants will gain knowledge of their body’s responses during job tasks in a cold environment.
  • Participants will experience the effect of PPE on the body in a cold environment and the unexpected potential for hyperthermia.

Simulation 3: Patient Care in a Moving Ambulance
Performing CPR Drills in Ambulance Simulation

  • Perform CPR in an ambulance simulation, which recreates the unpredictable frantic drive to the hospital emergency wing.
  • Deal with unexpected first aid situations while staying calm in a non-ideal scenario.
  • Have your vitals monitored to see where you struggled in staying calm, which will help you improve the way you react in a real emergency situation.

Simulation learning outcomes:

  • Participants will be able to work safely during patient care in a moving vehicle.
  • Participants will recognize hazards associated with performing patient care while in a moving vehicle.
  • Participants will be able to utilize the physiological information gained to perform better during real emergency situations.


Colin Howard
Marketing Specialist and Account Manager

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