One Step at a Time
The Fire Industry Education Research Organization (F.I.E.R.O.) independently administered and coordinated a study for accumulating data to support the efforts of a task group of the NFPA Technical Committee on Structural and Proximity Firefighting Protective Clothing and Equipment, responsible for the NFPA 1971 standard.
This task group was charged with investigating how to provide more human-based data for understanding the ability of evaporative resistance (Ret) to predict the impact of fire fighter protective clothing on fire fighter physiological responses. The task group had concluded that a physiological manikin in place at North Carolina State University (NCSU), which is capable of predicting core temperature, skin temperature, and sweating rate, would offer the least expensive and most expedient approach for acquiring data for a large number of different firefighter clothing material systems and over a wider range of conditions than previously provided by a human subject study conducted by NCSU for W.L. Gore & Associates. The physiological manikin was further selected because it could evaluate full garments, be programmed to simulate different work rates, and be subjected to different temperature and humidity conditions. F.I.E.R.O. set up the study with NCSU and arranged funding support for the study from multiple sources that also included contributions of materials and the manufacture of the test garments.
The F.I.E.R.O. coordinated study provided two reports with the first report providing the results for two phases of physiological manikin testing and a second report including the measurements of material evaporative resistance (Ret) and total heat loss (THL) for the material systems evaluated as covered in the first report. These reports were provided to the NFPA 1971 Task Group and were used as the basis of their recommendations.