UL FSRI Partners with IFSI and NIOSH to Research PPE Laundering
The UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (UL FSRI) partnered with the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to research the impacts that personal protective equipment (PPE) laundering and hood design can have to protect firefighters from the risks of cancer along with the chemical, thermal and cardiovascular effects of fire exposure. The goal of this project was to collect new data on the impact that repeated washing and gross on-scene decontamination has on removing fireground contaminants and the critical protective properties of the PPE.
Largely as a result of previous UL FSRI research projects, the fire service in the United States has become acutely aware of the limitations of some components of their PPE and the need to clean PPE after fires. However, no guidance exists on how often PPE should be laundered vs. deconned and the effectiveness of PPE cleaning after multiple washes. Damage from laundering may also impact safety features that provide critical protection from fireground risks including heat and contaminants. Finally, the hood has been identified as a vulnerable location where contaminants may penetrate PPE. The industry has introduced new technology to address this issue with little scientific study of effectiveness or durability to exposure/laundering. In this study, UL FSRI, IFSI and NIOSH hope to advance the understanding of PPE protection and the effects of cleaning measures after realistic fire scenarios, then broadly disseminate this critical information to the fire service.
February 7, 2019