Aim: Present issues associated with testing methods used to evaluate personal protective clothing.

Introduction: A range of innovative research initiatives were developed to test samples of materials used in the production of personal protective clothing. These were initiated by the project No. O ROB/0011/03/01/001 and funded by the by the National Research and Development Centre (NCBR). The project was realized by a consortium, which included; the Main School of The Fire Service (SGSP), Scientific and Research Centre for Fire Protection – National Research Institute (CNBOP-PIB), Warsaw University of Technology, Aspirant’s School of the National Fire Service in Cracow (SA PSP) and Thermolab s.c. CNBOP undertook work associated with testing of materials used in the production of specialist clothing worn by personnel engaged in the national firefighting and rescue system (KSRG). The most important criterion for firefighting protective clothing is its resistance to external factors such as heat radiation and ability to cope with the consequences of flames. Clothing with appropriate durability parameters, providing the best possible protection during fire incidents, has a significant impact on the health and life of firefighters.

Methodology: The article identified most significant national and international normative testing methods, dealing with the impact of heat radiation, fire and solids at high temperatures, which come into contact with protective clothing worn by firefighters. Moreover, the article identified an optimum concept for testing stands, implementation of previously mentioned elements and development of guidelines for the construction of testing stands in tandem with the acquisition of selected equipment and measuring apparatus.

Conclusions: The described testing stands combine the potential for evaluation of samples exposed to heat radiation, flames and contact with solids at high temperatures in an innovative way, contrasting with current approaches, with the potential ( after small modifications) for the conduct of normative tests. The outcome from these activities will make it possible to evaluate currently used material structures in the manufacture of personal protection clothing, worn by rescue personnel, in a much broader sense than previously. Above all, it is expected that proposed additional testing techniques will facilitate a better effectiveness assessment of personal protection.

Keywords: firefighting protective clothing, resistance to external heat radiation, research stands

Type of article: review article