Effects of Firefighting Hood Design, Laundering and Doffing on Smoke Protection, Heat Stress and Wearability
Richard M. Kesler, Alex Mayer, Kenneth W. Fent, I-Chen Chen, A. Shawn Deaton, R. Bryan Ormond, Denise L. Smith, Andrea Wilkinson, Steve Kerber and Gavin P. Horn
Firefighter hoods must provide protection from elevated temperatures and products of combustion (e.g. particulate) while simultaneously being wearable (comfortable and not interfering with firefighting activities).
The purpose of this study was to quantify the impact of (1) hood design (traditional knit hood vs particulate-blocking hood), (2) repeated laundering, and (3) hood removal method (traditional vs overhead doffing) on (a) protection from soot contamination on the neck, (b) heat stress and (c) wearability measures.
Using a fireground exposure simulator, 24 firefighters performed firefighting activities in realistic smoke and heat conditions using a new knit hood, new particulate-blocking hood and laundered particulate-blocking hood.
Overall, soot contamination levels measured from neck skin were lower when wearing the laundered particulate-blocking hoods compared to new knit hoods, and when using the overhead hood removal process.
No significant differences in skin temperature, core temperature, heart rate or wearability measures were found between the hood conditions.