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Fire Prevention & Safety Research & Development Grants - 2013 Grant Awards

This page contains information about Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Research and Development (R&D) Grant number EMW-2013-FP-01070.The content is useful for those in the fire service seeking information about to how to improve the safety and health of firefighters.

Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Data
Project Title:Advanced Fire Blocking Materials for Enhanced Performance in Wildland Fire Shelters
Organization:North Carolina State University
Principle Investigator:Roger Barker, PhD
Grant Number:EMW-2013-FP-01070
Award Total:$1,422,024.00
Period of Performance:08/01/2014 – 07/31/2017
Grant Status:Active



Recent firefighter deaths in Yarnell Hill, Arizona (2013), exposed significant limitations in the current fire shelter. NFPA 1977 standard on wildland firefighting PPE does not currently have performance requirements or testing protocols for shelters, so this research will provide the technical basis for setting these requirements in the future and provide new materials technology for further evaluation by the Forest Service.


This research project will explore performance advantages to be gained by using advanced heat resistant fabric technologies in the construction of wildland fire shelters. Novel materials concepts for shelters that have the potential to significantly improve on existing fabric technology (fiberglass and silica fabrics with aluminized outer surfaces) in fire blocking, weight, durability, and performance will be studied. A priority objective will be to demonstrate high performing heat resistant materials that do not generate toxic gases in the thermal exposures encountered in wildland fire environments.


Bench-level and large-scale thermal testing will be performed on commercially available and novel material concepts using advanced laboratory testing technologies like North Carolina State University's RadMan™ and PyroMan™ manikins. Prototype shelters will also be tested in controlled forest fire experiments, providing realistic performance data to validate lab scale testing.

Anticipated Outcomes

This research will contribute to improve wildland firefighter safety by developing high performance fabric systems for fire shelter construction. This outcome will provide fire shelter manufacturers with more advanced materials options and an enhanced technical basis for evaluating shelter materials alternatives. The testing database will contribute to future revisions of NFPA 1977 and provide systems-level testing options to the Forest Service to assess future shelter design changes.

Last Updated: 
10/14/2014 - 15:36