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Wildland Fires

Personal Protective Equipment

Wildland fire fighters spend most of their time creating fire suppression lines, using chainsaws and hand tools to remove brush from an area. In doing so, they are at risk of being exposed to carbon monoxide and particulates, among other things. Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) respirators are impractical. While an N-95 respirator is small and light, it offers little protection against gases. In July 2012, we started a program to certify respirators used for wildland fire fighting. To learn more, visit the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory’s Respirator Information for Manufacturers topic page.

The turnout gear worn is lightweight to lessen the effects of heat stress. During suppression activities, these fire fighters typically wear:

  • Nomex pants and shirt (Nomex is a material which is flame-resistant).
  • Vibram-soled boots with 8" uppers
  • hard hats
  • goggles
  • leather gloves 1

NIOSH has conducted some studies to assess the personal protective equipment used by wildland fire fighters. To learn more about these efforts contact the NPPTL Hotline: 888-654-2294.

Publications

NIOSH Begins Respirator Certification for Wildland Fire-Fighting Operations (July 10, 2012)

Health hazard evaluation report: HETA 91-312-2185, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Gallatin National Forest, Montana (1992)

 


1 Health hazard evaluation report: HETA 91-312-2185, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Gallatin National Forest, Montana (1992)

 
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