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.
- Effect of boot weight and material on gait characteristics of men and women fire fighters (Research Symposium 2008)
- Glove fit for firefighters - an accommodation comparison between U.S. NFPA 1971 and European EN 659 glove size schemes with a contemporary (CAESAR) anthropometric hand size database (Conference Proceedings 2004)
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.
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.
- Interlaboratory study of ASTM F2731, Standard test method for measuring the transmitted and stored energy of firefighter protective clothing systems (2012)
- Effects of liquid cooling garments on recovery and performance time in individuals performing strenuous work wearing a firefighter ensemble (2011) View video
- Physiological responses to wearing a prototype firefighter ensemble compared with a standard ensemble (2011)
- A health hazard evaluation of antimony exposure in fire fighters (2010)
- Effects of fire fighter protective ensembles on mobility and performance (2010)
- The rate of body heat storage in subjects wearing a prototype firefighter ensemble (2010)
- Cardiovascular responses to five cooling strategies wearing a prototype firefighter ensemble (2010)
- Effects of cooling on performance time and recovery in individuals wearing a prototype firefighter ensemble (2010)
- Physiological monitoring in firefighter ensembles: wearable plethysmographic sensor vest versus standard equipment (2010) View video
- Ergonomic comparison of a chem/bio prototype firefighter ensemble and standard ensemble (2008)
- Project HEROES (Homeland Emergency Response Operational and Equipment Systems) Task 1: A review of modern fire service hazard and protection needs (2003) [PDF 1017 KB, 128 pages]
- Impact of a design modification in modern firefighting uniforms on burn prevention outcomes in New York City firefighters (2000)
- Federal certification of personal protective equipment and clothing for firefighters and emergency response personnel (1997)
- Work tolerance and subjective responses to wearing protective clothing and respirators during physical work (1989)
- Physiological responses to the wearing of fire fighter's turnout gear with neoprene and GORE-TEX barrier liners (1988)
- Reduced work tolerance associated with wearing protective clothing and respirators (1987)
- A Report On The Performance Of Firefighters' Helmets (1976)
- Industrial and Firefighter's Safety Helmet Test Procedures (1976)
- Development of criteria for industrial and firefighters' head protective devices (1975)
- Effect of boot weight and material on gait characteristics of men and women fire fighters (2012)
- Firefighters' physiological responses to boot weight and sole flexibility during ladder climbing and obstacle crossing (2010)
- Physiological effects of boot weight and design on men and women firefighters (2010)
- Physiological consequences of leather and rubber boots in men and women firefighters (2007)
- Page last reviewed: September 26, 2013
- Page last updated: September 26, 2013
- Content source:
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies (DSHEFS)