SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 28 September 2020

Assessing the Durability of Firefighter Protective Hoods Following Exposure to Ultraviolet Light


Protective hoods for firefighters offer users thermal protection to areas of the head and neck that are not covered by the turnout jacket, self-contained breathing apparatus mask, and helmet. Particulate-blocking hoods are a new class of firefighter protective hoods that are being utilized in today's U.S. Fire Service. These newer hoods offer firefighters protection from carcinogenic particulates frequently found on today's modern firegrounds. More departments are adopting this novel personal protective equipment (PPE) technology while phasing out conventional knit hoods that have been used for decades. Particulate-blocking hoods exhibit similar protection to their knit counterparts, but it is crucial to scrutinize hoods, both traditional and particulate-blocking, for their durability against the elements, namely ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. This research investigates the effects that simulated sunlight exposures have on the durability and performance characteristics of firefighter protective hoods. Physical testing results display that the outermost layers of the hoods, when exposed to UV light, experience varying drops in mechanical burst strength. The findings also show that material-type, fabric type, and layer configuration in firefighter hoods all play a role in providing the user thermal protection in the head and neck's interface areas, even after prolonged UV exposure.

Author Information

Kasebi, Arash
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, US
Gaskill, Mark
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, US
Ormond, R., Bryan
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, US
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Pages: 64–80
DOI: 10.1520/STP162420190095
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7695-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7694-2