New research by Cassandra Kwon, a research assistant professor at NC State’s Textile Protection and Comfort Center, and former Ph.D. student Meredith McQuerry, who is currently an associate professor at Florida State University, suggests that many women firefighters may struggle with poorly fitting gear that is designed with the male form in mind.
The two researchers have spent the past several months collecting data about how conventional firefighter suits fit women, and how to better tailor firefighting gear for women. Recently, they have traveled to the Women in Fire conference, showcasing their project to fire departments, manufacturers and women firefighters themselves.
“It’s sort of an unspoken kind of fact that firefighting gear, it’s not really made for the female form,” Kwon said. “It’s always been designed for the male form.”