Development of thermal protective clothing
After configuring the composite fabric, it is spread on a cutting table. Then, the various pieces of an article of clothing (eg, sleeves, collars, front panels, back panels) are patterned and cut from the spread fabric according to the required size of thermal protective clothing and the gender of firefighters. These parts are further assembled through sewing to create finished thermal protective clothing. The development of thermal protective clothing using the cut-and-sew technique is displayed in Fig. 4.29.
After manufacturing the thermal protective clothing, various trims and accessories (eg, front panel closing fasteners, flaps, reflective tape) are attached to the manufactured clothing, and the quality of the clothing is thoroughly inspected before it is sold in commercial markets. During this quality inspection process, a few aspects are especially taken into account as per NFPA 1971 standard; namely, (1) the minimum thermal protective performance of firefighters’ clothing should be 35 cal/cm2 under intensive radiant heat and/or flame exposures; (2) the clothing should not melt, drip, or burn for more than 2 s when damaged at <300°C, and shrink more than 10% in any direction; (3) the minimum conductive and compressive heat resistance (CCHR) rating (time in seconds to achieve a temperature rise of 24°C) of the shoulder and knee areas of the clothing should be 25 s; and (4) the total heat loss (a combined representation of firefighters’ metabolic heat and sweat-vapor dissipation) value of the clothing should be not <205 W/m2.
Fig. 4.29 Development of thermal protective clothing.