Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $227,009)
The purpose of this study is to conduct definitive research illustrating the effects of agency-issued soft body armor (both ballistic- and stab-resistant) on core temperature during real-world operations (not laboratory conditions). This study will utilize working law enforcement and corrections officers with a variety of body shapes and sizes and differing levels of fitness and heat acclimatization as subjects. Each will have their core body temperature taken from an ingestible thermister and recorded on a portable electronic recorder by Bluetooth technology, which is the best way to obtain core temperature in working subjects. Subjects data will be recorded throughout their shift during normal shift activities (in whatever environment that may be) and while wearing their actual uniform and body armor. Between six and twelve law enforcement agencies will be recruited to participate in the study from various geographic regions of the continental United States. At least 100 observations will be made per geographic location, with a goal of obtaining 3600 total observations. This project will provide valid, reliable, and objective data on core body temperatures in law enforcement and corrections officers, obtained in real-world operational settings. The results of this research may encourage better designs of soft body armor by manufacturers, which could increase the compliance rate for wearing body armor by officers and have a positive impact on officer safety.