Firefighting Personal Protective Equipment: A Comparative Study of Perceptions and Experiences of Firefighters from Two Portuguese Fire Brigades

Anna S.P. Moraes, Miguel A.F. Carvalho, Rachel S. Boldt, Fernando B.N. Ferreira, Susan P. Ashdown, Linsey Griffin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Firefighting is considered one of the most dangerous occupations as firefighters are frequently exposed to extreme and constantly changing conditions. Personal protective equipment aims to minimize the exposure of firefighters to hazards encountered in their daily duties. A risk assessment shall be conducted prior to starting the selection process of firefighting personal protective equipment. Particular hazards that may be encountered and the appropriate levels of personal protection necessary for safe, effective, and efficient operations should be evaluated. Among the diverse criteria to be considered for a risk assessment of firefighting personal protective equipment are the duties and operations performed, the frequency of use as well as the level of satisfaction of users with the equipment. To assess and present design solutions for the personal protective equipment used by Portuguese firefighters, a study designated as Size FF Portugal - Anthropometric Study of Portuguese Firefighters is being developed by 2C2T - Centre for Textile Science and Technology, in the Department of Textile Engineering at the University of Minho. Data collection methods include the acquisition of anthropometric data as well as the administration of a questionnaire and an interview which aim to collect sociodemographic information and obtain firefighters’ perceptions and experiences in wearing their personal protective equipment. This chapter presents the results of the questionnaire and interview administered in 2 fire brigades located in the North region of Portugal: a mixed fire brigade and a professional fire brigade. Thirty-six male firefighters and 13 female firefighters from the mixed brigade and 32 male firefighters from the professional brigade participated in the study. Results show that the participants of the professional fire brigade expressed better perceptions concerning the level of protection of all evaluated items of their personal protective equipment. Injuries caused by the turnout coat, turnout pants, and gloves were reported by participants of the mixed brigade. On the contrary, none of the participants of the professional brigade reported having experienced any injury related to their equipment. Significant differences regarding the length of service of the equipment worn by participants were also observed when comparing both brigades. A discussion concerning the results is presented and final considerations regarding the study limitations are specified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRisk Management
Subtitle of host publicationAn Overview
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages38
ISBN (Electronic)9781685072421
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc.


Dive into the research topics of 'Firefighting Personal Protective Equipment: A Comparative Study of Perceptions and Experiences of Firefighters from Two Portuguese Fire Brigades'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this