Observer estimation of OMNI scale RPE during a fire fighter skills test using video-graphic analysis

Philip Prins


Fifty-four male and female college aged students (28 men, 26 women) were asked to estimate the level of exertion (RPE) of twenty certified firefighters during a firefighter skills test using direct kinematic video-graphic analysis. Observers estimated RPE at six different epochs: immediately before exercise (IBE), top of stairs (TOS), bottom of stairs (BOS), immediately after hose drag (IAHD), immediately after exercise (IAE), and session (S). RPE was self-reported by firefighters IBE and IAE. The validity and reliability of the video-graphic observational technique was explored. Observer RPE estimates were significantly lower than the self-reported ratings (p<.001; mean difference: 0.54 ± 0.84). Observer ratings did not differ between trials and showed strong correlations ranging from 0.69 to 0.79 (p<.001). These findings indicate that the observational technique employed presently could possibly be used to provide estimates of exertional perceptions in firefighters, however more research is warranted to further validate kinematic observation in firefighters


Perceived exertion, firefighters, observational technique


Bassilli, J. N., 1978. Facial motion in the perception of faces and of emotional expressions. J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform. 4, 373-379.

Bingham, G. P., 1987. Kinematic form and scaling: Further investigations on the visual perception of lifted weight. J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform. 13, 155-177.

Bingham, G. P., 1993. Scaling judgments of lifted weight: Lifter size and the role of the standard. Ecol. Psychol. 5, 31-64.

Colburn, D., Suyama, J., Reis, S. E., Morley, J. L., Goss, F. L., Chen, Y. F., Moore, C.D., & Hostler, D., 2011. A comparison of cooling techniques in firefighters after a live burn evolution. Prehosp. Emerg. Care. 15, 226-232.

Cutting, J. E., & Kozlowski, L. T., 1977. Recognizing friends by their walk: Gait perception without familiarity cues. Bull. Psychon. Soc. 9, 353-365.

Gallagher Jr, M., Robertson, R. J., Goss, F. L., Nagle-Stilley, E. F., Schafer, M. A., Suyama, J., & Hostler, D., 2012. Development of a perceptual hyperthermia index to evaluate heat strain during treadmill exercise. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 112(6), 2025-2034.

Goss, F. L., Robertson, R. J., Deldin, A., Gibbs, B. B., & Hostler, D., 2014. Observation of OMNI Scale of Perceived Exertion During Fire Suppression Training. Percept. Mot. Skills. 119(1), 183-190.

Holzmann, P., 1982. ARBAN—A new method for analysis of ergonomic effort. Appl. Ergon. 13(2), 82-86.

Hostler, D., Suyama, J., Guyette, F. X., Moore, C. G., Pryor, R. R., Khorana, P., McEntire, S. J., Comer, D., & Reis, S. E., 2014. A randomized controlled trial of aspirin and exertional heat stress activation of platelets in firefighters during exertion in thermal protective clothing. Prehosp. Emerg. Care. 18, 359-367.

Johansson, G., 1973. Visual perception of biological motion and a model for its analysis. Percept. Psychophys. 14(2), 201-211.

Karter M & Badger S., 2001. United States firefighter injuries of 2000. National Fire Protection Association Journal. 95, 49–54.

Karter, M. J., & Stein, G. P., 2011. U.S. fire department profile through 2010. National Fire Protection Association. Fire Analysis and Research Division.

Karter Jr, M. J., & Molis, J. L., 2014. US Firefighter Injuries-2013. National Fire Protection Association Journal. 105 (7), 1 - 27.

Kozlowski, L. T., & Cutting, J. E., 1977. Recognizing the sex of a walker from a dynamic point-light display. Percept. Psychophys. 21, 575-580.

Ljunggren, G., 1986. Observer ratings of perceived exertion in relation to self-ratings and heart rate. Appl. Ergon. 17, 117–125.

Noble, B. J., & Robertson, R.J., 1996. Perceived exertion. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Paridon, Stephen M., Bruce S. Alpert, Steven R. Boas, Marco E. Cabrera, Laura L. Caldarera, Stephen R. Daniels, & Thomas R. Kimball., 2006.

Clinical stress testing in the pediatric age group: A statement from the American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young, Committee on Atherosclerosis, Hypertension, and Obesity in Youth. Circulation, 113(15), 1905–20.

Robertson RJ, Goss FL, & Metz KF., 1998. Perception of physical exertion during dynamic exercise: a tribute to Professor Gunnar A. V. Borg. Percept. Mot. Skills. 86(1), 183–91.

Robertson, R. J., 2004. Perceived exertion for practitioners: Rating effort with the OMNI picture system. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Robertson, R. J., Goss, F. L., Aaron, D. J., Tessmer, K. A., Gairola, A., Ghigiarelli, J. J., & Weary, K. A., 2006. Observation of perceived exertion in children using the OMNI pictorial scale. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 38(1), 158-166.

Robertson, R.J., Goss, F.L., Aaron, D.J., Utter, A.C., & Nagle, E., 2007. OMNI Scale rating of perceived exertion at ventilatory breakpoint by direct observation of children's kinematics. Percept. Mot. Skills. 104, 975 - 984.

Runeson, S., & Frykholm, G., 1981. Visual perception of lifted weight. J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform. 7, 733-740.

Runeson, S., & Frykholm, G., 1983 Kinematic specification of dynamics as an informational basis for person-and-action perception: Expectation, gender recognition, and deceptive intention. J. Exp. Psychol. Gen. 112, 585-615.

Smith, D. L., Petruzzello, S. J., Goldstein, E., Ahmad, U., Tangella, K., Freund, G. G., & Horn, G. P., 2011. Effect of live-fire training drills on firefighters' platelet number and function. Prehosp. Emerg. Care.15 (2), 233-239.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics., 2006. Fatal occupational injuries, employment, and rates of fatal occupational injuries by selected worker characteristics, occupations, and industries, 2006.

Walton, S. M., Conrad, K. M., Furner, S. E., & Samo, D. G., 2003. Cause, type, and workers’ compensation costs of injury to firefighters. Am. J. Ind. Med. 43, 454–458.



  • There are currently no refbacks.


 JSHP is hosted by the Mary and Jeff Bell Library, at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi.