Environmental Medicine & Physiology Unit
We are happy to announce that the Environmental Medicine and Physiology Unit has been approved to reopen to a limited capacity to resume research and training in the lab. Under SFU and provincial health guidlines, we have created safe-work protocols and cleaning schedules to reduce the spread of infection. Though our capcity is limited, we are working with our industry and research partners to continue to provide our services.
We will also be moving a selection of our courses to an online streaming platform. The first course to be offered on this platform is the Fundamentals of Hyperbaric Medicine. Registration is open now, visit the course page for more details.
Follow the links below for the latest studies and operational considerations for working at this time:
The Environmental Medicine and Physiology Unit at Simon Fraser University is the only civilian research hyper/hypobaric facility in Canada. It is capable of pressurizing or, “diving,” to 305 meters (30ATA, 445psi, 1000’) of sea water as well as drawing a vacuum, or “flying” the unit, to 33.5km Above Sea Level (ASL), which is equivalent to the atmospheric pressure on Mars (0.011ATA, 0.159psi, 100,000’ ASL).
The EMPU specializes in researching human performance in extreme environments. We are capable of meeting specific requirements for hyperbaric, aerospace, and environmental testing of various degrees and equipment. Previous projects include, but are not limited to: pilot high altitude training (hypoxia), monitoring human operational parameters, acclimatization training, testing of survival suits, life-support systems, electronics and fuel cells.
Beards are in: Air Canada policy change following EMPU study
The EMPU conducted a study for Air Canada to test the effect that facial hair has on the performance of oxygen masks for pilots. The study looked both at the effectiveness of a mask to supply oxygen in simulated loss of pressure, and to keep a successful seal when harmful gases are present like in the case of a fire. The study concluded that facial hair does not impede newer style masks, which work using positive pressure, and Air Canada has recently changed their facial hair policy as a result. You can read the full story here, or listen to our Director Sherri Ferguson on CBC’s On the Coast here.