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Thermal Performance and Limitations of Bunker Gear.

pdf icon Thermal Performance and Limitations of Bunker Gear. (5773 K)
Lawson, J. R.

Fire Engineering, Vol. 151, No. 8, 37,40,42,44,46,50-52,55-56, August 1998.


protective clothing; fire fighting; fire fighters; burn injuries; thermal burns; NFPA 1971; skin (human); moisture; garments


Structural firefighters' protective clothing is designed to protect its wearers from the thermal environments experienced during firefighting. This includes protection from thermal radiation, hot gas convection, and heat conducted from hot surfaces. Protective clothing may respond differently to each of these three modes of heat transfer (radiation, convection, and conduction). Firefighters may receive serious burn injuries from each of these modes of heat transfer or a combination of them even though they are wearing protective clothing and may be a significant distance from a fire. The reason for this is that protective clothing has definite physical limits to its ability to protect the wearer. All thermal protective clothing has these limits, which are measurable. A working firefighter may not recognize these critical limits until he is already experiencing a burn injury.