Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 9:10 am
From Scoop San Diego
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) today launched a trial of next generation personal protective garments for wildland firefighters. More than 1,000 wildland firefighters from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) units, the U.S. Forest Service, and 11 local California fire departments that are combating ongoing wildfires, will test the new equipment. S&T is conducting this wear trial in partnership with the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center’s National Protection Center (Natick).
“Today, fire departments face competing hazards where the personal protective gear that firefighters wear must balance the risk between severe burns and heat stress at the same time,” said Bill Deso, S&T Program Manager. “With the hard work and support of our partners in California, the U.S. Forest Service, and Natick, the next generation of personal protective equipment will improve radiant thermal protection; reduce heat stress; improve form, fit, and function compared to existing garments; and meet National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1977 and 1975 standards.”
Fire season coincides with the warmest months of the year when weather conditions, such as extreme heat and humidity, increase potential for heat stress. Firefighters also often respond to emergencies in remote areas and must hike long distances carrying heavy equipment from a staging area to the fire location. The new garment system is made of new fire resistant fabrics that is designed to reduce the threat of heat stress.