Wearing protective garments under various combinations of environmental conditions and work intensities may result in excessive heat stress. Maintaining thermal balance depends among others on the ventilation of the garment worn. Ventilation is the amount of ambient air that flows under the garment after passing through the fabric and through designed openings. A gas dilution technique was used to assess ventilation of firefighter protective ensemble. The cuffs of the sleeves and pants, and the collar and front closure of the turnout coat were opened and closed to determine the effect on ventilation. In addition, the effect of using a belt or suspenders to hold the pants was examined. The gas dilution technique provided quantitative data on the increase in garment ventilation due to various combination of the openings and suspension of the pants. The greatest effect resulted from opening the collar and pant cuffs along with the use of suspenders.
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