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Non-Destructive Assessment of Outer Shell Degradation for Firefighter Turnouts

Fire Protection Research Foundation report: Non-Destructive Assessment of Outer Shell Degradation for Firefighter Turnouts
Authors: R. Bryan Ormond, Ph.D., and William J. Gabler, Ph.D., Textile Protection and Comfort Center, North Carolina State University
Date of issue: October 2017

 

Current retirement criteria for firefighter protective clothing including outer shell materials establishes a maximum service life in NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting. However, this maximum service life 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.