NFPA 1971 Design and Performance Requirements for Garments

Garment Design Requirements

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Item NFPA 1971, 2018 Edition
Structural and Proximity Fire Fighting
Garment Composite Outer shell, thermal liner and moisture barrier; configured as single or multiple layers
Liner System Required to have thermal and moisture barrier and means to secure to shell; must have access opening
Liner Attachment Means of securing liner to shell; no more than 1'' between liner system and coat sleeves or pant legs and no expandable attachments
Liner Coverage Extend to neckline of coats, waistline of pants, within 1'' of coat cuffs and within 3'' of hems on coats and pants
Garments and Closure Systems Must provide continuous moisture and thermal protection; secured with position fasteners (hooks and dees or zippers); hook and loop is considered a non-positive closure and as such can only be used as supplemental to the positive closure
Collar Minimum 3'' in height, consisting of shell, thermal and moisture barrier or materials meeting those requirements; must have closure system; Proximity collar lining must not be reflective
Sleeves Liner 1'' from cuff; must have close-fitting wristlet
Hardware Free of rough spots, burrs, or sharp edges; inward-facing hooks with three attachment points; cannot penetrate through all three layers unless covered
Sewing Thread Inherently flame resistant
Cargo Pockets Means of drainage and flaps with closure
Metallic Closure Systems/Metal Components Shall not contact body unless covered by closure flap
Harnesses, Ladder Belts and Escape Belts When these penetrate shell are part of closure system, or are attached to garment, must meet NFPA 1983 and optional flame resistance requirements of that standard
  • Male and female patterns
  • Chest—Men: 34–60; Female: 28–50 in 2'' increments or to order
  • Sleeves—M: 32–38; F: 28–34 in 1'' increments or to order
  • Waist—M: 30–60; F: 28–50 in 2'' increments or to order
  • Lengths—M: 24–36; F: 24–34 in 2'' increments or to order
Trim Retroreflective and fluorescent trim in stated placements and must appear to be continuous; trim must be minimum 2'' wide; retroreflective surface at least 58'' wide with a minimum fluorescent surface of 50 mm2; gaps not to exceed 1'' allowed on coat inner sleeve and pant inseams or wherever there is a zipper; no vertical stripes on coat fronts; Proximity specifically prohibits trim
Drag Rescue Device Required in Coats Accessible from exterior of coat; able to be deployed with gloved hand while wearing SCBA; designed to prevent accidental deployment and such that incapacitated fire fighter is secured by the upper torso so DRD pulls on body and not only garment
Coats Required to Have Wristlet Permanently attached and designed so as not to allow any gap in thermal protection; wristlet fabric tested for flame, heat resistance, and for cleaning and thermal shrinkage; additionally, wristlets must have a TPP value of 20, and knit wristlets must have a burst strength of not less than 51 lbs.
Reinforcements Must meet all flame and heat requirements of standard; Proximity specifically prohibits non-reflective reinforcements, with the exception of 1'' cuffs at coat and pant hems

Garment Performance Requirements

Download as a pdf | See Design Requirements

Item NFPA 1971, 2018 Edition
Structural and Proximity Fire Fighting
THL (Total Heat Loss) 205 w/m2 for structural; no requirement for Proximity
TPP (Thermal Protective Performance) 35
Tear Resistance Shell — 100N (22 lbs.)
Thermal — 22N (5 lbs.)
Moisture barrier — 22N (5 lbs.)
Outer Shell Break Strength 140 lbs. for structural; no requirement for Proximity
Zippers Crosswise breaking strength of chain and of separating unit; holding strength of stop, retainers and separating units; operating force and slider lock strength requirements as per A-A-55634A, Commercial Item Description, Zippers (Fasteners, Slide, Interlocking)
Fastener Tape Breaking strength, shear strength, and peel strength requirements as per A-A 55126B, Commercial Item Description, Fastener Tapes, Hook and Loop, Synthetic
Cleaning Shrinkage Maximum 5%
Seam Breaking Strength

Major A = 667N (150 lbs.)
Major B = 334N (75 lbs.)
Minor = 180N (40 lbs.)
Knit wristlet seams = 181N (41 lbs.)

Heat and Thermal Shrinkage, excluding hook and pile fasteners when body contact not possible Tested at 500°F for five minutes with no melting, separation, or ignition; hardware to remain functional; maximum shrinkage 10% in any direction; moisture barrier seams shall not drip or ignite; outer shell shall not char; hardware to remain functional and not ignite
Thread Thread melting test at 500°F for five minutes
Flame Test on all Textiles, excepting elastic, hook and pile fasteners, zippers, and seam seal materials when body contact is possible and labels on garment interior 12 second direct flame exposure - item must self extinguish within 2 seconds; maximum char length of 1''; afterflame of no more than two seconds and no melting or dripping; harnesses, escape and ladder belts must meet requirement when they penetrate outer shell, are incorporated into closure system, or attached to garment
Metal Hardware 20 hr. test; no corrosion of base metal and must remain functional
Labels Legibility after 5 wash/dry cycles; must use brand names on labels (no generic fibers)
Radiant Protective Performance For Proximity, intersect time of ot less than 20 seconds
Outer Shell Water Absorption 15% or less (formerly 30% or less)
Water Penetration Resistance Barrier layer minimum resistance of 25 psi
Liquid Penetration Resistance Barrier and seams tested against 6 common liquids for 1 hr.: AAAF, battery acid, hydraulic fluid, fuel, swimming pool chlorine, antifreeze fluid
Viral Penetration Resistance Barrier and seams; 1 hr. against Phi-X-174 Bacteriophage
Whole Garment Liquid Penetration Test 3 complete garments for each closure; tested as received; 10 minute test; Proximity tests one garment for each closure if design is same as structural; 1 of 3 specimens allowed to exhibit maximum leakage of 3.1 in2 on absorptive garment (formerly 20 minute test, no leakage whatsoever)
Conductive, Compressive, Heat Resistance Shoulders tested at 2 psi; knees at 8 psi; 25 seconds until second-degree burn; reported as pass/fail
Water Penetration Resistance Barrier layer minimum resistance of 25 psi
Light Degradation Resistance Barrier layer only tested; no surface water after exposure
DRD Fabrics, Seams, Splices Minimum 1,573 lbs.
DRD Function Test Deployment, mannequin distance drag, SCBA not ride up on mannequin
Transmitted and Stored Thermal Energy Test Enhancements sewn to coat sleeves tested for stored energy; minimum time to second-degree burn 130 seconds; Proximity does not require stored energy testing
Garment Trim Coefficient of retro-reflectivity of minimum 100 cd/lux and fluorescent red, yellow-green, orange-red; Proximity specifically prohibits trim
Wet Flex No requirement in structural; Proximity shells must show no sign of cracking or delamination to fabric face
Adhesion After Wet Flex No requirement in structural; Proximity shells must show no sign of separation of coating, cannot have laminated from base fabric or show removal of surface coating
Flex at Low Temperatures No requirement in structural; Proximity shells must show no sign of breaking, shattering or cracking of coating, laminate or fabric
Resistance to High Temperature Blocking No requirement in structural; Proximity shells must show no sign of blocking


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