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Current test methods used for quantifying the thermal performance of fire fighters' protective clothing are not providing information needed to understand why fire fighters are being burned. Many of the thermal exposures where fire fighters receive serious burn injuries are much lower than those specified in current test methods. In addition, current test methods do not provide a means to measure performance changes associated with wet garment systems. New test apparatus have been developed for measuring thermal performance of protective clothing systems. A wide range of thermal exposures can be replicated. These test apparatus can measure the thermal performance of protective clothing systems that are dry or wet and also measure performance changes associated with garment compression. This is an overview of measurement issues critical to the development of standards for fire fighters' protective clothing and the safety of fire service personnel. Research efforts addressed in this document have been supported in part by the United States Fire Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
burns, fire fighters, heat flux, predictive models, protective clothing, sensors, temperature measurements, test methods, thermal properties
Physical Scientist, Building and Fire Research Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD
Fire Protection Engineer, Building and Fire Research Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD