Iowa researchers tackle firefighter gear - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa researchers tackle firefighter gear

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AMES (AP)--Iowa state researchers who designed speed suits for Olympic swimmers are turning their attention to firefighters.

The researchers are putting firefighters on treadmills and 100-degree sweat boxes, then measuring their energy use with 3-D imaging.

Researcher Rick Sharp says the current suits and 50 pounds of gear wastes firefighters' energy unnecessarily. Sharp says new suits would reduce mistakes and allow firefighters to stay longer to fight fires.

Some of the early changes are simple, such as changes in position to pockets and vents, and alterations to the way the suit fits.

The team hopes to design a better-fitting coat and pants, and expect the process to take about five years.

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