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A story of impact: NIOSH research improves equipment design to protect firefighters
  • Published Date:
    May 2015
  • Series:
    DHHS publication ; no. (NIOSH) 2015–183
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-126.08 KB]

  • Alternative Title:
    NIOSH research improves equipment design to protect firefighters
  • Description:
    NIOSH produced a database that was shared with 17 firefighter associations and firefighter apparatus manufacturers to begin updating their designs of seat belts, fire truck cabs, gloves, boots, seats, self-contained breathing apparatus carrying straps, and protective clothing. NIOSH also developed a series of advanced theories in measuring human body size and shape and its effect on fire apparatus operation to assist the fire apparatus and equipment industry in fire apparatus arrangement and PPE sizing determinations. The NIOSH research team worked with professional associations and fire apparatus and PPE companies on using the data and theories to inform design processes for improved engineering innovations. For example, a fire department in a very large metropolitan area retrofitted older fire apparatus with new seatbelt systems based on the NIOSH data. The NIOSH national firefighter anthropometry data, along with the robust partnerships established throughout this effort, contributed to an NFPA standards update on seatbelt specifications, which resulted in science-based modifications to seatbelt length, configuration, and retracting systems. This standard guides manufacturers in their design process and fire departments in their purchase requirements. The improved fire apparatus and PPE designs will better fit future firefighters and help protect them against injuries and hazardous exposures. This study sets a model for conducting similar studies of other special groups (e.g., law enforcement officers and emergency medical service workers) for effective equipment design.

    NIOSHTIC No 20046250

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