The impact of protective hoods and their water content on the prevention of head burns in New York city firefighters: Laboratory tests and field results

D. J. Prezant, R. L. Barker, J. O. Stull, S. J. King, R. A. Rotanz, K. S. Malley, M. Bender, C. Guerth, K. J. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) is the largest fire department in the United States. In 1996, FDNY added the thermal protective hood to its modern protective uniform. The purpose of this study is to determine 1) the effectiveness of hoods in reducing head burns and 2) whether hood water content (dry, damp, or saturated) affects the level of thermal protection. Laboratory tests (radiant heat performance, thermal protective performance, and fully dressed manikin) and FDNY field results were used. Laboratory tests evaluated 4 different conditions (no hood, dry, damp, and saturated hoods) exposed to 4 different heat fluxes (0.1, 0.25, 0.5, and 2.0 cal/cm2/sec) equivalent to approximate air temperatures of 200, 400, 600, and 2,250°F. Field results compared FDNY head burns during 3 winters wearing the hood to 3 winters without hood. Wearing a hood dramatically reduced head burns. This was true for all laboratory tests, at all heat flux exposures, and all hood water content conditions. At 0.1 cal/cm2/sec, dry hoods were superior to wet hoods. At all other heat flux exposures, thermal protection was either not significantly different between water content conditions or improved as water content increased. Confirming these laboratory tests, FDNY field results showed significant decreases in neck burns (by 54%), ear burns (by 60%), and head burn totals (by 46%). Based on combined laboratory and field results, we strongly recommend the use of modern thermal protective hoods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-178
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Nursing(all)
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Professions(all)

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