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The Safety Brief In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews
and insights into how contractors and safety managers
can be even more effective in protecting their workers.
In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews and insights into how contractors and safety managers can be even more effective in protecting their workers.

Emergency Fire Shelters From NASA

Fire shelters for firefighters may soon withstand more heat, thanks to NASA. Testing is on now for fire shelters made with spaceship heat shield technology.

Hear how two NASA engineers approached the US Forest Service about their research on protecting stuff reentering the atmosphere!

Winds can shift. Forest fires and wildfires can turn on a firefighter. In this podcast, Dan Clark tells how personal fire shelters might be improved to help them, withstanding up to 3000°F.


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Dan Clark: Crews fighting forest fires need emergency fire shelters. But what they have are often woefully inadequate. Two NASA engineers saw the horrible news about 19 hotshots killed in a forest fire and now they’re doing something about it.

Hello, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, tackling health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites, compliments of Creative Safety Supply.

Spend less! Go to and use coupon code BIG10. It will save you 10%.

In 2013, two NASA researchers working on reentry heat shields for space vehicles were alarmed by the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona where 19 firefighters were killed. So alarmed, they contacted the US Forest Service to offer help.

NASA – Flexible Thermal Protection Technology

That was two summers ago. Fast forward to now. NASA and the Forest Service are testing emergency fire shelters based on flexible thermal protection used in heat shields. This technology protects hardware systems from temps up to 3000°F and sometimes higher. If their tests work out, lives can be saved.

Prototypes of the emergency fire shelter are very interesting:

• They fold up like a poncho and weigh about the same as a half gallon of milk.

• They’re made of flame resistant silver material that looks like aluminum foil.

• If fire approaches they can be quickly pulled out and used to cover someone.

• When expanded, the shelter functions a bit like an oversized hairnet. The user gets down on the ground and pulls the edges of the shelter over his or her entire body.

Emergency_Fire_Shelters_From_NASA-Creative_Safety_Supply-250x250• Some say that when in use, the shelters make people look like a Chipotle burrito.

With forest fires and wildfires increasing due to drought conditions, these new emergency fire shelters will be a welcome addition for every fire crew. Lets hope the testing goes well.

That’s all for this episode, Emergency Fire Shelters From NASA. Come back for more ways to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a service of Creative Safety Supply. Don’t forget, save 10% off your entire order at with coupon code BIG10.


Firefighters image Pixabay / StevePB; fire shelter images by NASA

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