Virtual Assistant Project


            Millions of firefighters are facing head and neck injuries due to the weight of fire-helmets. These helmets are the rescue helmets that are a part of their protective clothing. This research will focus on the main three issues:

1) Any upper limit of the weight that can be safely supported by the head with regards to both short- and long-term injury?

  1. Is there an optimal distribution of mass that would minimize the risk of head and neck injury?
  2. Are different design criteria, in terms of loads and load distributions, required for helmets intended for women?

Many studies have been conducted to understand the accurate weight of the head gears that are comfortable and safe for firefighters.


For the literature review of the topic the resources are searched through various sources like internet and library. The resource list contains Journal articles, Text books, technical reports, websites and patents.


Journal Articles

1-The study by Ainsworth, Batty & Burchielli revolves around the issues that women face in the firefighting occupation. In this article the problems can be understood, specifically the gap originated due to the gender differences. It discusses that how women deal with heavy helmets and its physical, as well as psychological strain (Ainsworth, Batty & Burchielli, 2014).




2-In the article of Barker, author identifies the area that requires enhancements in protective fire gears. Article emphasizes on the functioning, comfort and protection provided by the gear (Barker, 2013).

3-Again a milestone in the research of protective head gears while firefighting. This research is a trial case study that evaluated the structural specifications the made several recommendations to industry for making protective helmets comfortable and light in the accordance with OSHA regulations (Davis, 2001).

4-A study conducted on Sixty-one male fire workers presented comparative study of traditional versus enhanced protective clothing with lighter helmet. The study offers a detailed analysis of performance of firefighter. This article clarifies many relevant issues of the proposed research (Hur, 2013).

5-Based on a descriptive research a research proposal by Gray targets the size and shape problem of fire helmets. Statistical analysis based this study will help in the proposed research topic considerably (Gray, 2010).

6– The article investigates the personal as well as the physiological responses of the firefighters’ helmet from various countries according to the international standardisation. Experimental based this evaluation focuses on the weight and mass of the protective fire clothing and impact on performance after mass reduction. This research will directly boost our research work (Lee et al., 2014).

7– The article suggests required adjustments in fire helmets to make it more comfortable for the person wearing it. It covers the futuristic specifications like safety, design, shape, material, etc. Author also considers the perceptual and psychological characteristics and analyses the shape and structure of the helmet (Li, Li & Yang, 2011).

8– Due to technological advances more tools are being mounted on the helmets to improve the efficiency. This study reveals that this head-supported mass results in an altered head and neck


dynamics. This study targets these alterations and related risks (Manoogian, Kennedy, Wilson, Duma & Alem, 2006).

9-This study is conducted on Army personals focusing on the neck and head injuries due to heavily centered mass on upper body. This study again relates the risk area of the fire fighting employees facing due to helmet designs and weight (Merkle, Kleinberger & Uy, 2005).

10– Article authored by Newman describes the physics of motion and how the head injury can turn into brain trauma. From the basics of helmet to the dynamics of impact, it covers the helmet designs, material and future of head protection (Newman, 1993).

11– Study describes the test conducted to investigate the ventilation of fire helmets through analyzing its designing facts. According to this study, the design and suspension system can not impact the heat stress in fire helmets. This study can be valuable for the research in developing an improved helmet (Reischl, 1986).

12– This article addresses the issues of personal protective equipment in the line of defense especially in hazards workplaces. It deals with issues faced by high risk occupations such as firefighting and protective gearing involved for females in the front lines (Ontario Women’s Directorate, 2006).

13– This article gives a good insight of how women are protected against thermal hazards in terms of gear which is particularly designed for them as compared to men. A three dimensional body scanner was used in the research to measure the size and distribution of air gaps between a female mannequin and thermal protective coveralls. It talks about head protection and how it varies from men to women (Song & Mah, 2010).

14– This article talks about the lack of personal protective clothing and work clothing that is specifically designed for women. It investigates the use of PPE and work clothing among tradeswomen and to examine attributes significantly related to PPE/work clothing satisfaction using the Functional-Expressive-Aesthetic (FEA) consumer needs model. This research indicates it is logical to suggest wearing proper PPE and work clothing creates a more positive work experience for women within the building trades (Wagner, J. Kim & Gordon, 2013).

15– This article talks about the physiological and subjective responses of the European, Japanese (JPN) and US firefighters’ helmet, gloves and boots for international standardisation (Son & Yutaka, 2010).

16– This article focused on a comparison of commercial off the shelf helmet and boots that could be used in the ensemble. A requirements correlation matrix was generated and sent to industry detailing objective and threshold measurements for both the helmet and boot. The helmet and boots were measured and weighed to determine differences in shape and mass compared to the baseline used in the current JFIRE. One helmet and boot were recommended for incorporation into the modified JFIRE (Schroeder,2010).

17-The present study explicates the responses of firefighters wearing aluminized and non-aluminized protective equipments. This study was conducted for Japanese firefighter’s equipments. In this survey based study authors try to find out the material choice of wearers (Son, Lee & Tochihara, 2013).

18– This article presents a trial based study to evaluate the pressure on workers of both genders due to their heavy layered protective equipments. The results obtained in intense and steady states to observe the flexibility in reducing head gear weights will aid the concept of our research (Taylor, Lewis, Notley & Peoples, 2012).


19– In a male dominant work area, this analysis brilliantly covers the key concerns of female firefighters. A questionnaire based study reveals that how women firefighters face challenges when it comes to physical differences, especially related to ill fitted uniforms and helmets. The

feedback from participants will help to understand the needs of female firefighters (Bendick, Thomas & Moccio, 2007)

20– This book covers a broad spectrum of database on injuries occurred during firefighting incidents. This collection of data and graphs will help in understanding the reasons, causes, facts and probabilities of accidents that may take place during the fire operations (Karter & Molis, 2011).

21– In this book author describes the biomechanics of brain injury and how it starts with basic skull injury. This research may relate and explain the basic of head injury due to heavy head gears during a stressful condition of fire fighting (Viano, 2012).   .


22– This published patent by United States proposed a lightweight headgear made up of protective outer shell. This shell comprises of polybenzimidazole and aramid materials with a touch of super fine glass clothing (Lane & Hetzel, 1991).

Technical Report:

23– It is a very descriptive piece of relevant research. It elaborates each topic linked to the effectiveness and safety of fire hoods. An analysis of literature followed by survey-based research and a thorough evaluation makes this report significant (Johnstone, 1996).


24- This article from website helps to understand the standard for helmet designs, set by NFPA: National Fire protection Association, a government authority to verify all safety regulations for structural and proximity fire fighting. Through this web link the safety standard can be followed in designing improved fire helmets (

25– The following article provides the technical specifications of ‘USTM™ Traditional Series Structural Fire Helmet, manufactured by Bullard, the leading manufacturers of fire helmets. The

article describes the designing criteria of helmet under NFPA 1971 Standards (


The above resources are published and selected after a thorough analysis. These 20 resources will be highly beneficial to the proposed research topic as they cover the research aspects. The resources will be helpful in creating a final report that answers all the three questions that are main basis of the research.



















Ainsworth S, Batty A, Burchielli R. Women constructing masculinity in voluntary

firefighting. Gender, Work & Organization 2014; 21(1): 37-56.

Barker J, Boorady LM, Lee YA, Lin SH, Cho E, Ashdown SP. Exploration of Firefighter

Turnout Gear Part 1: Identifying Male Firefighter User Needs. Journal of Textile &

            Apparel Technology & Management (JTATM) 2013; 8(1).

Davis GA, et al. Effects of ventilated safety helmets in a hot environment. International

Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 2001; 27(5): 321-329.

Bendick Jr. M, Thomas SY, Moccio, F. Enhancing Women’s Inclusion in Firefighting. Bendick

and Egan Economic Consultants: Incorporated; 2007.

Lane AA, Hetzel JM. Shell Comprised Of Glass Fibers, Polybenzimidazole And Aramid

Material Impregnated With Polyester. United States patent US5018220. 1991 May 28.

Available from:

Hur P, et al. Effect of Protective Clothing and Fatigue on Functional Balance of

Firefighters. J Ergonomics S 2 (2013): 2.

Johnstone, JBG, et al. The effectiveness and safety of fire hoods. Institute of occupational

medicine. 1996. Report No. TM/96/04

Karter MJ, Molis JL. US firefighter injuries-2010. National Fire Protection Association, Fire

Analysis and Research Divison, 2011.


Gray KM. Evaluation Of Fire Helmets For Daytona Beach Fire Department. [Internet]

2010 Jun [cited 2015 Feb 2].

Available from:

Lee JY, Yamamoto Y, Oe R, Son SY, Wakabayashi H, Tochihara, Y. The European,              Japanese and US protective helmet, gloves and boots for firefighters: thermoregulatory

and psychological evaluations. Ergonomics 2014; 57(8): 1213-1221.

Li B, Li B, Yang HZ. Design and Study of the Initial Probe for Multi-Function Fire Helmet. Key

            Engineering Materials 2011; (458): 87-92.

Manoogian SJ, Kennedy EA, Wilson KA, Duma SM, Alem NM. Predicting neck injuries due to

head-supported mass. Aviation, space, and environmental medicine 2006; 77(5): 509-


Merkle AC, Kleinberger M, Uy, OM. The effects of head-supported mass on the risk of neck

injury in Army personnel. Johns Hopkins APL technical digest 2005; 26 (1): 75-83.

Newman JA. Biomechanics of human trauma: head protection. Accidental Injury. Springer New

York; 1993. 292-310 p. [Internet]. National Fire protection Association NFPA 1971: Standard On Protective

Ensembles For Structural Fire Fighting And Proximity Fire Fighting. [cited 2 Feb. 2015].

Available from:




Reischl, UWE. Fire fighter helmet ventilation analysis. The American Industrial Hygiene

Association Journal. 1986; 47(9): 546-551.

Son SY, Lee JY, Tochihara Y. “Occupational stress and strain in relation to personal protective

equipment of Japanese firefighters assessed by a questionnaire.” Industrial health. 2013;

51(2): 214-222.

Ontario Women’s Directorate. Personal Protective Equipment for Women .A Change Agent Project by the Ontario Women’s Directorate and the Industrial Accident Prevention Association, 2006.

Song, Guowen and Mah, Tannie. Investigation of the Contribution of Garment Design to Thermal Protection. Part 2: Instrumented Female Mannequin Flash-fire Evaluation System. Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, 2010.

Wagner, Heidi; J. Kim, Angella ; and Gordon, Linsey. Relationship between Personal Protective Equipment, Self-Efficacy, and Job Satisfaction of Women in the Building Trades. American Society of Civil Engineers, 2013.

Son, Hitoshi Wakabayashi; Yutaka, Tochihara. The European, Japanese and US protective helmet, gloves and boots for firefighters: thermoregulatory and psychological evaluations. Department of Clothing and Textiles, Research Institute of Human Ecology, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea, 2014.



Schroeder, Jennifer L. Analysis of Commercially Available Firefighting Helmet and Boot Options for the Joint Firefighter Integrated Response Ensemble (JFIRE). Applied Research Associates, 421 Oak Avenue, Panama City, FL 32401, 2010.

Taylor NA, Lewis MC, Notley SR, Peoples GE. A fractionation of the physiological burden of

the personal protective equipment worn by firefighters. European journal of applied

            Physiology. 2012; 112 (8): 2913-2921.

Viano DC. Biomechanics of brain injury. Brain Injury Medicine: Principles and Practice; 2012.

124 p. [Internet]. ‘USTM™ Traditional Series Structural Fire Helmet’.

[cited 2015 Feb. 2]. Available from: