Current retirement criteria for firefighter outer shell materials has a set time limit as defined by NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting. However, this time limit does not compensate for amount of usage and exposure time, i.e., a major city fire department versus a rural fire department fire volume. A non-destructive method is needed to evaluate the outer shell integrity to determine when a garment is no longer protecting the wearer at peak efficiency.
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