Female Firefighters Team up with Researchers for a Lifesaving Fit

Researchers take a 3D scan of Orange County firefighter Shannon Zielonka as part of the study.

Personal protective gear, also known as bunker gear, is what firefighters wear when entering a fire scene or other potentially dangerous situation. While fit for an individual’s height and weight, it generally doesn’t into consideration gender, but a team of researchers from 12 major universities is hoping to change that.

The FF (Firefighter) Research Group has teamed up with firefighters throughout the nation, including members of the Orange County Fire Rescue Department, to collect data and information taken from 3D body scans of female firefighters. The goal is to create a database that equipment manufacturers can use to design gear specifically to meet the needs of female firefighters.

“Bunker gear isn’t just a uniform, it’s a firefighter’s lifeline,” said Meredith McQuerry, associate professor at Florida State University and member of the research team. “It’s critical that it fits safely and securely.”

Orange County Fire Rescue Department Firefighter Shannon Zielonka could not agree more. As one of only two female firefighters on the agency’s Squad units (units deployed for technical rescues or hazmat calls), her gear fit is essential.

“If it’s too big, it could interfere with my ability to climb through or over something, or it could come loose, creating exposure to a dangerous element,” she said. “When gear fits well, it gives you the extra confidence to arrive on the scene and get the job done.”
The data collected will ultimately benefit women in the fire service, reducing their risk of injury or even death. Orange County Fire Rescue Department has twice the number of women firefighters than the national average, and those numbers are expected to grow. Last year, the agency graduated one of its largest recruit classes of women.

“We’re happy to assist in this research,” said Orange County Fire Rescue Assistant Chief of Operations Lauraleigh Avery, who is also a 26-year veteran firefighter. “It will definitely have a positive impact on the next generation of women in the fire service.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest

The G7 Summit ends with minimum agreements after arduous negotiations

The 44th G7 Summit ended in the Canadian town of La Malbaie with an "agreement to disagree" between the United States and its partners...

Spanish pianist Mario Prisuelos will offer a concert in Bogotá

The Spanish pianist Mario Prisuelos and the Q-Arte Quartet will perform this June 16 at the Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo with 'Ricercata:...

The Dominican El Alfa: my success is for collaborations with Puerto Ricans

 Dominican urban artist El Alfa, who will perform for the first time in Puerto Rico on October 5, said today at Efe in San...

Trump appears for the first time with a mask on his visit to a military medical center

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has appeared this Saturday with a mask for the first time since the start of the...

Keenum keeps Vikings looking for rest in final first round

Quarterback Case Keenum sent in a touchdown pass, the Minnesota Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers 16-0 and recorded their first shutout win in...