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Comparative studies on standard and new test methods for evaluating the effects of structural firefighting gloves on hand dexterity

Barker, Roger L, Ross, Kevin A, Andrews, Jessica, Deaton, A Shawn
fire fighters, fire fighting, gloves, hands, laboratory experimentation
This research identifies laboratory test methods designed to advance assessment of the effects of structural firefighter gloves on a firefighter’s ability to perform tasks with their hands. Two new hand dexterity test methods are discussed: a modified tool test for measuring glove effects on gross or whole hand motor control, and a novel cylinder lift method for evaluating glove effects on fine or fingertip hand dexterity. Data generated by testing a representative group of structural firefighter and other responder gloves are used to show that these new test methods provide less variable data and a more useful and informative assessment of the effects of glove construction on hand dexterity than that provided by standard small pin pegboard tests. Based on these comparisons, a combination of the newly developed tool and cylinder lift test methods are recommended for evaluating the effects of structural firefighter gloves on hand dexterity in standards used as the basis of certifying the performance of structural firefighter clothing.