The Fire Protection Research Foundation, the research affiliate of NFPA, has received two FEMA Assistance to Firefighter Grants (AFGs) to study the effectiveness of fire investigator personal protective equipment (PPE) and to develop a strategic roadmap for the fire service while transitioning from fluorinated foam usage to fluorine free foam technology.
The first study will look at the effectiveness of fire investigator PPE, post-fire skin-cleansing wipes, and the on-scene decontamination methods being used by investigators to reduce exposure to toxic fireground contaminants. A standard for fire investigator PPE or specifications to help select the appropriate protective ensembles are lacking today. Working with North Carolina State University (NCSU), The Research Foundation will provide a thorough evaluation of performance across a wide range of currently fielded PPE; produce methods for evaluating particulate protection and post-fire wipe efficacy; and develop recommendations for the relevant standards committees. The project is just getting underway and will run for three years.
The second project will look to enhance firefighter health and safety by developing best practice recommendations for firefighting foam operations and handling while transitioning to fluorine free foam technology. Fire departments are seeking replacements for Aqueous Film Forming Foams (AFFFs) and other agents containing fluorsurfactants but lack acceptable drop-in replacements for AFFFs that are effective. This is a complex problem that requires insights on fire extinguishing performance, health risks, environmental contamination, and other concerns. The one-year project calls for a comprehensive review of published works, ongoing research studies and industry practices; a stakeholder workshop to evaluate the collected baseline information and identify knowledge gaps; and a report that summarizes the overall research findings.
When available, proceedings and reports will be posted on www.nfpa.org/foundation. Information on previous research efforts, as well as 50-plus other projects currently underway, can also be found on the Research Foundation landing page.