Firefighter Body Dimensions for Updating Safety Specifications for Fire Apparatus and Firefighter Protective Equipment

October 2015
NIOSH Dataset RD-1007-2015-0

Up-to-date anthropometric information (body dimensions) of the U.S. firefighter population is needed for updating ergonomic and safety specifications for fire apparatus and firefighter protective equipment. Seventy-one measurements relevant to the design of seats, seat belts, cabs, turnout gear, gloves, and head-and-face gear are presented in this webpage. Forty of the 71 measurements were collected with the participants in fitted shorts in both standing and seated postures. Twenty-one of the 71 measurements were collected while the participants were wearing their personal turnout gear, including personal selection of tools stored in their pockets, in both standing and seated postures. Ten of the 71 measurements were hand- and head/face-related dimensions extracted from hand and head/face scans. The data obtained in this study provide the first available U.S. national firefighter anthropometric information which will benefit the design of future fire apparatus and protective equipment to better protect firefighters.

Data Collection Methods

A stratified sampling plan of 3-age by 3-race/ethnicity combinations was used to collect anthropometric data (body dimensions) of 863 male and 88 female firefighters across the U.S. regions; 71 body dimensions were measured. Measurements were recorded using a FARO digitizing arm for vertical dimensions. Measurements of body depths were obtained using anthropometers, breadths using sliding calipers, and circumferences using tape measures. Other instruments included a weight scale, a stool for seated measurement, and a Smedley hand grip dynamometer for hand grip strength measurements. A 3-dimensional head-and-face scan and a 2-dimensional hand scan were recorded using a head scanner and a hand scanner, where four hand dimensions and six head-and-face measurements were extracted. Detailed descriptions of the methods are provided here: Sizing firefighters: method and implications.

Publications Based on Firefighter Dataset

Sizing firefighters: method and implications

Anthropometric procedures for protective equipment sizing and design

Seat and seatbelt accommodation in fire apparatus: Anthropometric aspects

Firefighter hand anthropometry and structural glove sizing: a new perspective

Comparison of Measured and Self-Reported Anthropometric Information among Firefighters: Implications and Applications


This project was supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). When a publication makes use of this dataset, acknowledgement of the development of the dataset should be attributed to NIOSH Division of Safety Research.

Information on other anthropometry research projects at NIOSH is available on the Anthropometry page.


NIOSH/Division of Safety Research
Protective Technology Branch
(304) 285-6120