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Study aims to deliver better fitting gear to female firefighters

Data collected will help manufacturers design firefighting gear specifically for females

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By FireRescue1 Staff

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County female firefighters are participating in a study that will result in better fitting gear.

Researchers from a dozen universities around the country are listening to female firefighters’ request for gear that fits better, according to

Meredith McQuerry, assistant professor at Florida State University, said the idea to design better female firefighting gear started about three years ago. She is working with Shannon Zieloank, an Orange County firefighter since 2012, to get better measurements for future gear design.

“Female firefighters have more of a voice now, and they’re saying: ‘We need better-fitting gear. We need boots in the appropriate sizes, and we need gloves in the appropriate sizes,’ and that’s what we’re hoping to eventually deliver,” McQuerry said. “We’re specifically collecting data on female firefighter hand, body and foot.”

As part of the study, Zieloank places small blue stickers on her hands, fingers and other parts of her body. The stickers will allow researchers to get a full-body scan that will measure and ultimately create a suit specifically designed for a female’s body type.

Researchers plan to scan and document 100-150 Orange County firefighter’s body types for the study in addition to all the data already collected nationwide.

Researchers hope to deliver the study results to manufacturers by the end of the year.