Structural and wildland firefighting turnout suits are primarily developed for the male firefighter, despite the growing number of women firefighters in the fire protection community. Studies have shown that women firefighters wear the same turnout suits as their male counterparts and are at a higher risk of injury and fatality due to ill-fitting personal protective equipment (PPE). Research has also found that female firefighters are wearing turnout suits that are not sized for the female human form and therefore possess an unsatisfactory fit. Sizing data from other organizations have demonstrated the need for uniforms to be designed specifically for women and that simply sizing down the garment is not an appropriate solution.
To further address this issue, a research project led by Florida State University and North Carolina State University in collaboration with the Fire Protection Research Foundation, NFPA’s research affiliate, was initiated to research and investigate the root causes of design, comfort, and mobility issues of firefighter personal protective clothing for the female human form. For more information, a project summary is available here. This research, funded by DHS/FEMA Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) program, will provide the practical and marketing bases for the initial steps of developing a female turnout suit that meets NFPA standards. To meet the project objectives, it is imperative for the voice of the female first responders in the United States to be heard.
Thus, we would like to inform you of an opportunity to participate in a nationwide survey, led by Dr. Meredith McQuerry at Florida State University, to provide feedback on the current design and functionality of female firefighter personal protective clothing. For further information, and the link to the survey, please see the invitation below.
You are being invited to take part in a research study to collect feedback from female firefighters regarding the design, fit, and mobility of their personal protective clothing. You are being invited to take part in this research study because you are an active-duty female firefighter in the United States. If you volunteer to take part in this study, you will be one of hundreds to do so nationally.
This study is being conducted by Dr. Meredith McQuerry (Principal Investigator, PI) of the Retail Entrepreneurship department in the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship at Florida State University. The purpose of this study is to obtain data on the end user’s experience and impact from wearing their current turnout suit and/or wildland personal protective clothing, related to improper fit.Responses will be anonymously coded and synthesized to determine the overarching impacts and issues related to the current design and functionality of female firefighter personal protective clothing.
If you agree to be in this study, we ask that you complete an online survey gathering information on demographics and your personal protective clothing’s fit, mobility, and design. It is estimated that the survey will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.
If you are not currently an active-duty female firefighter in the United States, we ask that you do not complete this survey.
I thank you in advance for completing the survey.
Meredith McQuerry, PhD
Florida State University
236 Shaw Building
Tallahasse, FL 32306