Thermal Performance and Limitations of Bunker Gear

Issue 8 and Volume 151.

Thermal Performance and Limitations of Bunker Gear BY J. RANDALL LAWSON Structural firefighters` protective clothing is designed to protect its wearers from the thermal environments experienced during firefighting. This includes protection from thermal radiation, hot gas convection, and heat conducted from hot surfaces.1 Protective clothing may respond differently to each of these three modes of heat transfer (radiation, convection, and conduction). Firefighters may receive serious burn injuries from each of these modes of heat transfer or a combination of them even though they are wearing protective clothing and may be a significant distance from a fire. The reason for this is that protective clothing has definite physical limits to its ability to protect the wearer. All thermal protective clothing has these limits, which are measurable. A working firefighter may not recognize these critical limits until he is already experiencing a burn injury. BURN INJURIES It has been said that a…

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