The fireground may be evolving, but so are departments and their firefighters. In recent years, more women are becoming active in the Fire Service, with approximately 6,200 women serving as full-time, career firefighters and an estimated 35,000-40,000 U.S. women in volunteer departments (Women in Fire). As the diversity of departments and its leadership continues to evolve, fire personal protective equipment (PPE) must be designed to fit every firefighter to ensure protection and unrestricted performance on the fireground.
It is important for PPE to address the anatomical differences among firefighters in terms of stature and shape. MSA has taken these considerations into account when designing and producing innovative Globe turnout gear, including:
Globe turnout gear styles mirror the typical proportions of the female body to allow greater comfort.
In general, women firefighters typically require less fabric around the shoulders and torso, resulting in a turnout jacket with a straighter silhouette. Simultaneously, female firefighters may have a 12” difference from waist to hip (compared to a 6” difference for male firefighters), requiring greater mobility in turnout pants. Globe Turnout Gear styles, like ATHLETIX™ and the Globe Pant System, take these typical form issues into account, including less bulk in the shoulders and additional fabric around the waist.
Globe turnout gear utilizes garment patterns specifically designed with the ergonomics of a female firefighter in mind.
From the highest point of the shoulder to the ankle, Globe turnout gear styles are properly fitted for female firefighters of all sizes. Globe turnout gear offers a range of women’s sizes across our jacket and pant styles. Women-specific sizing includes 26” and 29” lengths for turnout gear jackets and a range of waist, inseam, and hip sizes for pants. These available sizes are based on garment patterns for female firefighters rather than a resized men’s jacket or pant pattern.
Proper garment designs and sizing ensure female firefighters can perform at the fire scene without mobility restrictions or energy depletion.
When female firefighters wear turnout gear that is not fitted to their shape and size, they will be forced to overexert to complete the same tasks as other firefighters. Globe turnout gear is designed to reduce fatigue and increase mobility so firefighters are prepared for any task, such as climbing a ladder or donning a SCBA. The proportions and sizing available across popular Globe styles provide utmost functionality and comfort.
When evaluating the fit and function of turnout gear, fire departments need to take all firefighters’ needs into consideration. Firefighters come in all shapes and sizes; some women firefighters may ultimately opt for a men’s size in turnout gear if these turnout garments better align with their proportions.
The fire scene does not discriminate, and neither should turnout gear. MSA is proud to design and build Globe turnout gear for all firefighters.