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FIRE FIGHTERS

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Turnout Gear

This page lists the projects we are currently working on to improve the turnout gear worn by fire fighters. Also provided is a list of publications from our completed studies related to turnout gear for fire fighters.

Conference Presentations

Current Projects

Comparison of ensemble Total Inward Leakage (TIL) tests
This research project will result a greater understanding of the three most commonly used inward leakage tests for personal protective equipment (PPE) ensembles. The Inward Leakage Test (SF6), Man-In-Simulant-Test (MIST) and Total Inward Leakage Test (Corn Oil) will be evaluated. Each of these methods measures inward vapors or aerosols leakage. This research on ensemble tests will ensure that PPE for hazmat teams, law enforcement, fire fighters, technical rescuers, soldiers and other first responders is tested and certified to the appropriate ensemble requirements. This effort will provide the standards development committees the technical data and guidance needed to select the method and establish criteria in existing and future standards.

Development and validation of physiological performance models to correlate the effect of ensemble Total Heat Loss (THL)
The National Academies Evaluation
This project will study a thermal manikin and people wearing different types of emergency response protective clothing. The data can be used to develop and validate physiological performance models to link whether turnout gear total heat loss influences emergency responder performance. This effort will provide the standards organizations with a sound physiological basis for setting THL values in current and future PPE performance standards with a focus on CBRN standards

Creation of cumulative permeation test end points for Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs)
This project will develop a way to measure cumulative penetration of protective clothing materials and determine toxicity-based end point criteria for certain toxic industrial chemicals. This will produce recommended test procedures and end points based on cumulative skin exposure levels as are currently used for chemical warfare agents.

Fire Fighter Fatality and Investigation Program (FFFIPP) protective clothing evaluation

Next generation structural firefighting PPE ensemble
The overall goal of this research is to develop new materials and designs to produce a firefighting ensemble that will meet the requirements of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards 1971 and 1994. This research is important because current materials and ensemble designs, intended for fighting structural fires, do not provide the appropriate level of protection against chemical and biological agents associated with a terrorist attack.

NFPA Protective clothing and equipment standards development
This research works to continually improve emergency services personnel protective equipment (PPE) by revising existing standards and developing new standards. New material technologies and design configurations are considered, which can be driven by performance criteria mandated in PPE certification standards. The implementation of these National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) enhances worker safety and health hazard prevention.

Sizing Fire Fighters and Fire Apparatus: Safe by Design
This project will establish a large-scale anthropometric database of U.S. fire fighters [PDF 1579 KB, 38 pages] to design ergonomical, efficient fire trucks. The database will include data for 900 fire fighters and fire truck workspace data for 195 fire fighters. These individuals will be selected as representatives of the U. S. fire fighter population in age, gender, and race/ethnicity. The database will include information on physical size, form and functional capacity measurements, digital scans in 5 postures, and fire-truck cab workspace measurements. Results from this study will be considered when updating relevant National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) fire truck standards and design of fire-engine cabs, seats, restraint systems, egress, and fire fighter bunker gear. This project will help reduce fatal and non-fatal injuries.

Stored thermal energy in fire fighter protective garments
This research examines a "steam burn" or "stored energy burn", which is burn to skin that does not result in physical damage to the turnout gear. It is believed that these burns occur when a fire fighter is exposed to thermal energies below flashover, which stores the thermal energy in the layers of the turnout gear. The burn occurs when these layers are pressed against the skin and thermal energy is transferred to the skin. The moisture level in the turnout gear and underclothing may contribute to the potential for stored thermal energy burns. This research is being done to understand why this type of burn injury occurs, develop a test apparatus and method to predict the likelihood of stored thermal energy burns, and to recommend adoption of the method.

Publications

Protective Clothing

Head Protection

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