Personal protective equipment Fire/emergency medical services

Database of firefighter body measurements shows PPE changes needed, NIOSH says


Photo: SANSA images

Washington – NIOSH has developed the first database of firefighter body measurements, aiming to help improve the design and safety of firefighter equipment.

The agency surveyed 951 male and female firefighters, gathering 71 body dimension measurements through 3-D scanning and digitization. The data is intended to help manufacturers of firefighter equipment and apparatus design safety belts, truck cabs, boots and other equipment, NIOSH states in a press release.

NIOSH also produced and tested design procedures for equipment designers, industry manufacturers and standard writers. Apparatus and personal protective equipment need to be revised to suit the diverse population of firefighters, the agency states in the release.

Other findings include:

  • Male firefighters were taller and had bigger upper-body builds than the average American.
  • About 1 out of 4 male firefighters and 1 in 2 female firefighters said they had issues with the fit or bulkiness of gloves.
  • Firefighters in turnout gear fit improperly in current fire apparatus, potentially jeopardizing their safety.