CHIEFS (Convective Heating Improvement for Emergency Fire Shelters) is being developed by NASA’s Langley Research Center to potentially improve the performance of emergency fire shelters for wildland firefighters. A fire shelter is a last-resort safety measure that may protect firefighters entrapped by wildfire that has compromised their escape route. The current shelter design, resembling a small foldable tent, is primarily designed to protect the user from exposure from radiant heat. It provides limited protection when exposed to direct flame contact and convective heat. The Washington Office Fire and Aviation Management (WO-FAM) initiated a product review for the fire shelters to be completed by 2018. NASA is working closely with the USDA Forest Service to understand the emergency fire shelter requirements and testing procedures. The CHIEFS system is optimized for manufacturability and packing, is capable of withstanding temperatures up to 3000 °F, and includes flame and hot gas barrier layers.
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