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A critical review of female firefighter protective clothing and equipment workplace challenges

Meredith McQuerry (Retail Entrepreneurship, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
Cassandra Kwon (Textile Protection and Comfort Center (T-PACC), North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA)
Heather Johnson (Retail Entrepreneurship, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)

Research Journal of Textile and Apparel

ISSN: 1560-6074

Article publication date: 20 May 2019

Issue publication date: 11 June 2019

780

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the challenging barriers faced by female firefighters, which limit workplace entrance and performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Occupational barriers from both psychological and physiological viewpoints were explored based on previous literature and the reported experiences of female firefighters.

Findings

A comprehensive review of literature synthesizes previous studies pertaining to gender anthropometric differences, female firefighters’ experiences in the work environment and protective clothing issues. The physical capabilities of men and women in specific relation to performing firefighting activities are also examined. Issues of greatest concern are identified for personal protective clothing (PPC) and equipment, which have traditionally been designed for the male human form. This leads to a lack of protection, an increased risk of onsite injury, reduction in mobility and poorer comfort for female firefighters.

Originality/value

This review provides an original overview of the critical workplace challenges faced by female firefighters. The need for female-specific PPC and equipment is specifically addressed to retain the growing number of women entering the male-dominated firefighting profession.

Keywords

Citation

McQuerry, M., Kwon, C. and Johnson, H. (2019), "A critical review of female firefighter protective clothing and equipment workplace challenges", Research Journal of Textile and Apparel, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 94-110. https://doi.org/10.1108/RJTA-01-2019-0002

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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