Research to Improve Turnout Gear for Women

Research to Improve Turnout Gear for Women

By Susan Sokolowski, PhD – Director & Associate Professor, Sports Product Design, at University of Oregon Portland and Linsey Griffin, PhD – Assistant Professor Wearable Product Design, Human Dimensioning Lab at the College of Design, University of Minnesota The Size FF Research project is sponsored by the U.S. National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) (https://www.nimss.org/projects/view/mrp/outline/18359) and consists of academic experts from the fields of anthropometrics and product design. The group’s focus since 1982 has been on the development of better performing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). iWomen Partnership Through a partnership with the 2018 International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services (iWomen) conference directors, the research team adopted a user-centered approach to understand the PPE needs of female firefighters. A protocol was developed to collect 3D scans of the hands and feet, along with 1:1 interviews where female firefighter attendees shared information about their experience as firefighters and the practice of using turnout gear (coats, pants, glove, boots, and accessories). User-Centered Approach The user-centered approach considers the user (e.g. firefighter) throughout the research and design process, so their input is always considered (Vos, 2009). The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), through their standard 9241-210, have published principles regarding using a human-centered design process. Those principles include: 1. The design is based upon an explicit understanding of users, tasks, and environments. 2. Users are involved throughout design and development. 3. The design is driven and refined by user-centered evaluation. 4. The process is iterative. 5. The design addresses the whole user experience. 6. The design team includes multi-disciplinary skills and perspectives (ISO, 2010). The benefits of a user-centered approach have been proven to produce...
How to care for garments that have been exposed to soot, smoke and toxic substances

How to care for garments that have been exposed to soot, smoke and toxic substances

Firefighters can better protect themselves by practicing wet-soap decon practices and other advanced cleaning procedures as outlined in NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting. Plus, they can also tap into many free online resources offered by companies like Globe. Learn more from Gavin Horn, director of research at the Illinois Fire Service Institute, about research that defines decon best practices on reducing exposure to toxic substances, and from Pat Freeman, technical services manager for...
Two More Recipients Announced in 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway

Two More Recipients Announced in 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway

  Globe and DuPont Protection Solutions (DuPont), in partnership with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), is awarding 13 fire departments with a total of 52 sets of life-saving turnout gear in 2018 through the Globe Gear Giveaway. The program is designed to help fire departments with limited budgets who struggle to maintain adequate protection for their personnel. The latest recipients are the Burnettsville (IN) Volunteer Fire Department and the Pattonsburg (MO) Fire and Rescue Protection District. Burnettsville (IN) Volunteer Fire Department The Burnettsville Volunteer Fire Department serves 2,000 residents over 15 square miles. The department has 11 active volunteers who respond to roughly 70 calls a year. All but three firefighters use turnout gear that is more than 10 years old, which is considered unsafe according to national standards. With a limited budget, the department struggles to get funding for new gear and equipment but continues to be active in the community with fire prevention and life safety education at their local school as well as community days and other events. “Our goal is to assist the people of our community in a safe and timely manner,” said Burnettsville Firefighter Michael Capitanio. “With out-of-date gear, we are risking more than we would in normal emergency operations. This new gear will go a long way in helping us to reach that goal and improve the safety of our firefighters.” Pattonsburg (MO) Fire and Rescue Protection District The Pattonsburg Fire and Rescue Protection District has 22 volunteer firefighters who protect a population of 1,900 on nearly 130 square miles. The Pattonsburg community rests next to the heavily traveled Interstate 35...
It’s in the smoke: cancer-causing compounds and contaminates

It’s in the smoke: cancer-causing compounds and contaminates

Every firefighter today should know that smoke is dangerous. However, the visible particles of combustion that we see as smoke are just the tip of the fire scene contamination iceberg. There are several toxic substances and carcinogens firefighters need to be aware of and protect against present in smoke. We are now learning that firefighters and fire investigators need nothing less than the maximum level of respiratory protection during fire overhaul activities. The typical structure fire today involves the high temperature destruction of many types of plastics, foams, various species of wood, fabrics and other materials. Gases and particulates liberated from these burning materials often contain toxic, reactive and otherwise unhealthy chemicals that are both inhalation hazards and skin absorption hazards. Phoenix exposure study Researchers from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University collaborated with the Phoenix (Ariz.) Fire Department in a study to characterize firefighter exposures during fire overhaul operations at 25 structure fires. During those overhaul evaluations, air quality monitoring found the following substances or compounds exceeded published ceiling values promulgated at the time by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: Acrolein. Acrolein produces intense irritation to the eye and mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. Acute exposures may result in bronchial inflammation, resulting in bronchitis or pulmonary edema. CO. CO is present in all fire environments as a product of incomplete combustion and decreases the oxygen transport of the blood, which results in an inadequate supply of oxygen to the tissues. Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is classified as a probable carcinogen and adverse health effects due to...
The Continuing Debate on Turnout Gear Service Life

The Continuing Debate on Turnout Gear Service Life

Over the past several years, we have written various columns associated with the care and maintenance of firefighter protective clothing and equipment. One of the perennial issues on this topic has been gear service life. In many cases, this particular topic has been a subject of polarization among the fire service, particularly when it comes to firefighter helmets. In this month’s column, we attempt to shed more light on this topic to allow fire departments and individual firefighters to make better informed choices with respect to their gear service life. All clothing and equipment have a finite service life. For the most part, turnout gear is designed to be quite durable, made with rugged materials that are intended to repeatedly provide protection under a wide range of varying exposure conditions. By definition, service life is the length of time that clothing and equipment can remain in service while still providing a minimum level of protection. Nevertheless, even brand new gear that is subject to a serious fire event can require immediate retirement. Similarly, gear that is abused or improperly cared for can also lead to a shortened service life. The interpretation of service life will further depend on an individual organization’s understanding of what factors constitute continued safe usability of clothing and equipment, which can also be influenced by available resources. Yet, since 2008, NFPA 1851: Selection, Care and Maintenance of Structural Firefighting Protective Clothing has imposed a 10-year service life limit based on the element manufacturing date for any structural firefighting ensemble element, including garments, helmets, gloves, footwear and hoods. The reality of turnout gear service life Every...
Download your 2018 AFG PPE Project Guide

Download your 2018 AFG PPE Project Guide

Turnout gear is used on every alarm and is the core of every fire department. Your department simply cannot exist without it. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant program provides the best means to cover these expenses. However, because of their popularity, turnout gear requests are among the most competitive activities of this grant program. To assist you in this endeavour, FireRescue1 and FireGrantsHelp have built this free PPE project guide to provide you with information and suggestions to formulate your application for turnout gear and give you the most accurate and up-to-date information on this grants program. This guide, sponsored by Globe Turnout Gear, includes: Your agency’s guide to planning your AFG application Tips on integrating data into your AFG application Resources to writing a successful grant narrative A checklist to make sure you have everything you need for a successful AFG application Online Form – Globe – AFG Guide 2018 Powered by...
Departments in OR and VT Receive Turnouts through the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway

Departments in OR and VT Receive Turnouts through the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway

Thanks to Globe by MSA and DuPont Protection Solutions (DuPont), two more fire departments are each receiving four new sets of state-of-the-art turnout gear. Since 2012, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has annually partnered with Globe and DuPont to provide volunteer fire departments in need with new, state-of-the-art turnout gear to better protect our nation’s responders. The latest recipients are the Gardiner (OR) Rural Fire Department and the Salisbury (VT) Volunteer Fire Department. Gardiner (OR) Rural Fire Department Gardiner is a small community of 425 residents on the coast of Oregon. The department’s 10 firefighters make do with turnout gear that is nearly 20 years old and doesn’t comply with industry standards. The town papermill had supplied Gardiner’s firefighters with some gear, but the closing of the mill has left the department to rely solely on tax dollars. The department often hosts fundraising breakfasts and dinners to raise money but is unable to purchase new gear on its current budget. “We are volunteers, we are here to serve and protect our residents and surrounding area, and we are dedicated to what we do,” said Chief John Swann. “Receiving the Globe gear will really help build morale amongst my crew and improve safety. Thank you very much for thinking of our [volunteer] departments.” Salisbury (VT) Volunteer Fire Department Located in the foothills of the Green Mountains in Vermont, the Salisbury Volunteer Fire Department protects 1,500 residents over 30 square miles. Only half of the department’s 20 firefighters have turnout gear at all. Those who do are wearing gear that is over 10 years old, making them unsafe according to...
3 Scientific Tests Prove Globe Boots with Arctic Grip Pro Soles Improve Your Safety

3 Scientific Tests Prove Globe Boots with Arctic Grip Pro Soles Improve Your Safety

  Are you prepared for cold weather calls? What you put on your feet really makes a difference where your safety is concerned. While no footwear can eliminate all slips and falls, Arctic Grip Pro soles on Globe’s athletic construction boots take firefighter footwear to the highest level of performance and safety available. Arctic Grip Pro is state-of-the-art sole technology specifically engineered by Vibram to perform on wet ice. A combination of the highest performing rubber outsole compound and an advanced filler system, Arctic Grip Pro soles provide unparalleled traction on wet ice. In collaboration with Vibram, we undertook three scientific tests to prove that our Globe boots with the new soles can help to reduce slips and falls in cold and wet conditions. Incline Ramp Test: Wet Independent testing was conducted by scientists and engineers of the iDAPT Research team at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (TRI) of Toronto. TRI has a unique set of testing facilities whereby they can mechanically pitch, up to 20 degrees, an entire room that has been conditioned to form ice. In this environment, the test protocol requires the tester to repeatedly ascend and descend the icy surface to the maximum angle achievable. TRI tested Globe footwear outfitted with Vibram Arctic Grip Pro and other styles and brands of cold weather footwear. Conclusion: The data reflected an eight times increase in the combined incline and decline angle achieved with footwear outfitted with Arctic Grip Pro. Load Cell Test Vibram conducted a load cell test, which was developed to test Arctic Grip Pro in real life situations. Ice is formed on a surface where a...
Globe Discusses PPE on iWomen Talk Radio Show

Globe Discusses PPE on iWomen Talk Radio Show

  Globe was invited to participate in a talk radio show hosted by the International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services to discuss the importance of personal protective equipment. Pat Freeman, Globe Technical Services Manager, and Stephanie McQuade, Globe Marketing Services Manager, addressed the construction and materials for turnout gear, proper care and cleaning, and the importance of being fitted correctly for PPE. Other guests included Linsey Griffin, Assistant Professor Wearable Product Design, Human Dimensioning Lab at the College of Design, University of Minnesota and Susan Sokolowski, Director & Associate Professor, Sports Product Design, at University of Oregon Portland. They spoke about their women’s PPE research project with a group of 12 universities in the United States. Listen to the talk radio show on FireEngineering.com An interactive non-profit network, International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Service (iWomen) provides education, support and advocacy for fire service women. For more information, visit...
Three More Recipients Announced in the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway

Three More Recipients Announced in the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway

  Globe by MSA, in partnership with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and DuPont Protection Solutions (DuPont), is giving away 52 sets of new, state-of-the-art turnout gear to 13 volunteer fire departments in need through the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway program. Now in its seventh year, the program works to enhance the safety and capabilities of small-town fire departments across the U.S. and Canada. Recipients are being announced monthly throughout the year. The latest recipients are the Ben Lomond (CA) Fire Protection District, the New Victoria (NS, Canada) Fire Department, and the Huntington Volunteer Fire Company (Phillipsburg, NJ). Ben Lomond (CA) Fire Protection District The Ben Lomond Fire Protection District (BLFD)is an all-volunteer fire department with one paid chief. BLFD volunteers respond to an average of 500 calls per year involving structure fires, wildland fires, vehicle accidents, medical emergencies, public services, and more. All 35 responders are currently using turnout gear that is nearly 15 years old and not compliant with recommended safety standards. Due to obligations such as station repairs, apparatus replacement, and the need for new self-contained breathing apparatuses, securing new turnouts has been put on hold. “[This donation of] Globe gear would provide a fresh set of turnouts for our top responding volunteers,” said BLFD Engineer Dan Arndt. “This would not only help ensure our firefighters’ safety, it would also reward our responders for their commitment to the community.” New Victoria (NS, Canada) Fire Department The New Victoria Fire Department is located on the mouth of Sydney Harbour in the most northeastern part of Nova Scotia. The department responds to an average of 120 calls...