Collin Arocho
4 February 2020

The digital technology experts at Imec have unveiled a prototype of a next generation firefighter suit. The protective suit is integrated with temperature sensors and electronics that can warn firefighters if the ambient heat is too high. Developed within the framework of the Flemish I-CART project, aimed at reducing the number of burn injuries for firefighters, collaborators included Ghent University, the Paris fire brigade BSPP, electronics maufacturer Connect Group and the textile experts at Sioen.

Imec Fire Brigade2
Credit: Imec

The protective suit utilizes temperature sensors, an energy-efficient microprocessor and other associated electronics. When the temperature becomes too high, the firefighter receives an audible warning signal so that he can make better decisions in a good amount of time. The suit complies with the European EN469 standard and was successfully tested by BSPP. Additionally, a “Flashover” test at 1200°C on a thermo man shows that the electronics do not pose an additional risk to the wearer.

“Firefighters are often exposed to extremely high temperatures during interventions,” explains Frederick Bossuyt from CMST, an Imec research group at UGent, and research leader of the I-CART project. “But their heat-resistant clothing often makes it difficult for them to assess when they are at risk of being burned, resulting in second and third-degree burns. The new suit, with built-in temperature sensors, can warn them in time.”