Evolving Systems

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 295–304 | Cite as

Detecting changes in the heart rate of firefighters to prevent smoke inhalation and health effects

  • Raquel SebastiãoEmail author
  • Sandra Sorte
  • Joana Valente
  • Ana I. Miranda
  • José Maria Fernandes
Original Paper


Firefighters can suffer serious health problems and experience cardiac disorders derived from high pollutants inhalation. During experimental field burns, environmental and heart rate data from firefighters were collected and it was possible to observe that changes in heart rate were related with variations in pollutants inhalation. Therefore, detecting changes in heart rate may provide a good indicator to identify hazardous situations for firefighters. An automated method, based on the detection of changes in the heart rate, is proposed to prevent and to avoid serious undesirable side-effects in the health of firefighters due to pollutants inhalation. Within the experiments performed, a precision and a recall of 91.5 and 78.2%, respectively, were obtained. Furthermore, this approach can be part of a real-time decision support system for routine use in firefighting practice. Our results show the potential to provide effective support in real operational scenarios and that further research on the impact of environmental conditions in the well-being of firefighters is of utmost importance.


Heart rate monitoring Change detection Pollutants inhalation Firefighters health and well-being Decision support 



A particular acknowledge should be given to Domingos Xavier Viegas and his research team for the organization and performing of the Gestosa experiments. This work was supported by the Portuguese Science Foundation (FCT) through national funds, and co-funded by FEDER, within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and Compete 2020, under the projects IEETA (UID/CEC/00127/2013), VitalResponder2 (PTDC/EEI-ELC/2760/2012), VR2market (CMUP-ERI/FIA/0031/2013) and SOCA (CENTRO-01-0145-FEDER-000010). The Post-Doc grants of R. Sebastião (BPD/UI62/6777/2015 and BPD/UI62/6777/2018) and the PhD grant of S. Sorte (SFRH/BD/117164/2016) are also acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Electronics and Informatics Engineering of Aveiro (IEETA), Department of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics (DETI)University of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM), Department of Environment and Planning (DAO)University of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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