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Boorady's Research Included in 'Improving Protective Gear' Project

Boorady's Research Included in 'Improving Protective Gear' Project

Posted: February 22, 2018

For years, Lynn Boorady, professor and chair of Buffalo State’s Fashion and Textile Technology (FTT) Department, has studied ways to improve protective gear, including firefighter uniforms.

Her latest research was included in a Multistate Research Fund project, “Improving Protective Gear.”

Boorady's portion focused on ensuring that equipment offers maximum protection and adequate fit for female and smaller male firefighters. The resulting impact statement is the result of five years of research among 12 partner universities and includes protective gear for several hazardous occupations.

“I’m focusing right now on female firefighters since they have to do the same work in uniforms that have been traditionally designed for men,” said Boorady.

Funded by the Multistate Research Fund, the NC170 Research Committee brings together scientists and private university, federal, international, and industry partners to tackle high-priority regional or national issues in agriculture. Buffalo State is the only non-land grant university that participated in this study, due to Boorady’s 12-year research on protective gear that began while she served on the University of Missouri faculty.

“Our university partners work collaboratively through phone calls and Skype and meet once a year,” said Boorady. “By coordinating research efforts, we have a broader participant pool and can work together to develop questionnaires and get information from different data sets.”

To aid in her research, Boorady has attended firefighter conferences and contacted several fire departments, offering to help improve their uniforms. She’s also invited male and female firefighters to campus so she can get precise measurements with the FTT department’s cutting-edge NX-16 3-D body scanner.

“The challenge is that female firefighters don’t want to be singled out and treated differently,” she said. “We have to be sensitive to that when recruiting subjects for the research.”

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