Firefighter Hoods: Benefits of Particulate Blocking Technology

CarolinaFireJournal - Todd Herring
Todd Herring
10/07/2021 -

The area around your jaw, face and neck is the most vulnerable spot when exposed to fireground contaminants from soot and smoke. While standard knit hoods protect you from heat and flames, they do not provide the protection you need from hazardous particles. 


In recent years, improvements to firefighter hood designs have led to advanced particulate blocking protection. I encourage all fire departments to become educated on the importance of particulate blocking hood technology for the health and safety of their crew members.

4 Reasons Firefighters Need Particulate Blocking Hoods

  1. Keep Up to 99 Percent of Contaminants at Bay
    Particulate blocking hoods act as a filter to reduce your exposure to persistent fireground carcinogens and other toxins. With innovative particulate blocking technology, these hoods can block particulates at 0.2 microns in size or larger! Envision this, there are approximately 25,400 microns in one inch, and a human hair is about 75 to 100 microns wide, so a 0.2-micron particulate is about 500x smaller than a strand of hair.
  2. A Classic Knit 2-Layer Hood Only Blocks 27 Percent of Harmful Particulates
    Average hoods offer limited protection against toxic particles. The FAST Test Report demonstrated that particles at 2.5-micron size penetrated the standard knit hood and left a concentrated, heavy deposit on the participant’s neck, cheeks, ears and jaw.
  3. Firefighters Are More Likely to Be Diagnosed with Cancer Than the General Public
    According to research from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH), as a firefighter, you have a nine percent higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer compared to the general U.S. population.
  4. You Control Your Level of PPE Protection
    Do not let your hood be the weakest link in your gear. With firefighting, many unpredictable elements come with responding to a call. So, take the time to research and find the right solution that will keep your crew safest on the fireground for years to come.

Today, firefighting PPE manufacturers continue to look at fire gear as a way to reduce your chances of succumbing to heat stress and exposure to carcinogens.

Todd Herring began his journey at Fire-Dex in September of 2015 as part of the acquisition of TECGEN. With over 20 years of experience in the protective textile industry, Herring was soon promoted to Director of Marketing and Product Development in August 2016. Gaining the title of Vice President of Product Innovation and Strategy in 2021, he currently leads the newly created Product Innovation and Strategy team. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Textile Engineering from NC State University.
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