CHIEFTAIN TOM CLEMENTS National Sales Manager Chieftain Safety Mfg. FIREHOUSE: Are there any new additions to PPE, specifically to coats and pants, to improve firefighter safety? CLEMENTS: With the new NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 1971, 2007 edition, on turnout...
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FIREHOUSE: At what temperature and for how long does the PPE provide protection before the wearer could become injured during severe structural firefighting conditions?
BLAKE: The outer shell is PPE's primary defense against direct flame and heat, while the thermal liner provides thermal insulation. These two components, combined with the moisture barrier, determine the thermal protective performance (TPP) and total heat loss (THL) of a specific set of gear. While the moisture barrier is not the primary protection against flame or heat, it does have the greatest impact on breathability, which studies have shown to be an effective way to reduce firefighter heat stress. When taken together, THL and TPP are an excellent measurement of performance provided by a particular combination of outer shell, thermal liner and moisture barrier. Additionally, the PPE inspection process should not be overlooked. Although the moisture barrier is not the primary protection against flames, it can suffer thermal damage if the outer shell or thermal barrier has been compromised.