The Department of Homeland Security‘s science and technology directorate has partnered with the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center to create a garment system for wildland firefighters in an effort to address risks from heat exhaustion.
DHS said Monday the Wildland Firefighter Advanced Personal Protection System is made of material with high heat loss properties that work to reduce core body temperatures during wildfire scenarios.
William Deso, APPS project manager, said wildland firefighters provided input for the WLFF APPS garment system that is designed to provide protection against burn injuries as well as user comfort.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection asked DHS to develop new personal protective equipment when CAL FIRE found that wildland firefighters experience heat stress at a higher rate than burn injury patients.
DHS published a report on WLFF APPS in 2014 that detailed wildland fighters’ experiences as they tested 1,000 garment ensembles during two wildfire seasons.
WLFF APPS prototypes have achieved National Fire Protection Association 1977 standards that outline requirements for wildland firefighting garments such as heat loss, thermal stability, heat and thermal shrinkage parameters, DHS said.