Fire fighters and emergency personnel throughout the United States must pass extensive physical endurance tests throughout the year as part of their ongoing training. Just like any other training program, training exercises for personnel in emergency operations is also regulated with a strict curriculum. NFPA 1584, Standard on the Rehabilitation Process for Members during Emergency Operations and Training Exercises, is what emergency personnel abide by.
NFPA 1584, focuses on various parameters of training, but specifically states requirements for a pulse oximeter to be used to monitor the vital signs of personnel during training exercises. Why is this required? The answer is quite simple, because these parameters are your basic method of determining good or poor health. This is the same reason why individuals with respiratory illnesses use a pulse oximeter, which is also known as a pulse ox by some, to monitor their health. Why an oximeter? A pulse oximeter is used to measure the percentage of blood oxygen saturation in the body, and it also gives readings for pulse rate.
A pulse oximeter has been around for many years, but it has been used mostly by either clinics or hospitals due mostly because of their astronomical costs. These original pulse oximeters were also very bulky and not portable. In recent years, advances in technology have paved way for advances in pulse oximetry. New pulse oximeters are now small and portable and provide fast, accurate readings. These new oximeters are now also available for under $ 100, which makes them accessible to the masses. The training programs have instilled the importance of the devices into the personnel, and therefore oximeters are now readily found at fire houses, and other training centers throughout the United States, Canada, and even Europe. A pulse oximeter is small device, but it has revolutionized the training market and it continues to break into more industries that see its importance.
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