Cardiovascular and Chemical Exposure Risks on Today's Training Ground

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article Summarizes New Dual-Purpose PPE Testing/Training Prop

April 28, 2020

Metal structure turned into a training prop with mannequins wearing firefighting gear

UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) Research Engineer Gavin Horn and Vice President of Research Stephen Kerber co-authored a peer-reviewed journal article along fellow researchers that was published in Fire Technology. The Development of Fireground Exposure Simulator (FES) Prop for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Testing and Evaluation focuses on research results from the "Protection from Chemical, Thermal, and Cardiovascular Risks: Impact of PPE Laundering and Hood Design" study, a component of the larger Cardiovascular & Chemical Exposure Risks in Today’s Fire Service" project.

As a result of the UL FSRI and IFSI fireground studies (and other related activities in the fire service), the fire service is more aware of the need to clean PPE on a regular basis. However, the effectiveness of repeated cleaning and potential impact on protective properties are unknown. This prop provides a controlled exposure scenario for repeated exposures (and subsequent cleanings), and will allow us to capture the first data to support such decisions.

This manuscript summarizes a new dual-purpose training/testing prop developed to provide researchers, equipment manufacturers, training organizations, standards organizations and firefighters a means to produce a controlled environment with a repeatable and realistic thermal and smoke environment in order to characterize PPE performance or characterize firefighter responses to common fireground conditions that simulate the combined vapor, particulate and thermal threats firefighters face.

UL FSRI partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Globe fire suits (now MSA), and the Illinois Fire Service Institute to conduct this research. Funding for this project was provided by the Department of Homeland Security Fire Prevention and Safety Grant #EMW-2015-FP-00646.

Access the article here

Relevant Resources: 

RESOURCE #1: Fent KW, Evans DE, Babik K, Striley C, Bertke S, Kerber S, Smith D, and Horn GP (2018) Airborne contaminants during controlled residential fires. J Occup Environ Hyg 15(5):399-412

RESOURCE # 2: Horn GP, Kesler RM, Kerber S, Fent KW, Schroeder TJ, Scott WS, Fehling PC, Fernhall B, and Smith DL (2018) Thermal response to firefighting activities in residential structure fires: Impact of job assignment and suppression tactic. Ergonomics 61(3): 404-419