By Julie Watterson
Dr. Roger L. Barker, Burlington Distinguished Professor in the College of Textiles at NC State and director of the Textile Protection and Comfort Center (T-PACC), was awarded the 2017 Bruce W. Teele Excellence Award during the FIERO Fire PPE Symposium held in Raleigh in March. FIERO, the Fire Industry Education Resource Organization is a network linking fire services across the country with each other and with equipment manufacturers to improve the products used in the fire service.
As a recipient, Barker is recognized for his dedication and leadership of T-PACC, which is known for testing, research and evaluation of personal protective equipment (PPE). T-PACC is the only academic center in the nation that incorporates, in one location, the capabilities, to research, test and evaluate the comfort and protective performance of textile materials and garments from emergency responder PPE to workout gear.
Barker’s research includes observing how fabrics and clothing perform when exposed to high amounts of heat and flames. He studies thermal protective performance of textile fabrics and clothing; heat transfer mechanisms in intense heat exposures, fabric and clothing flammability; and materials response and testing methodologies.
“Dr. Barker has done more than anyone to apply science to the heat and flame protection provided to firefighters in their personal protective clothing. In addition, he has worked tirelessly to provide science-based research to reduce heat stress among firefighters while they are wearing their protective clothing,” said Robert Tutterow, president of FIERO. “Most recently, his team is working on ways for fabrics to help minimize the exposure to carcinogens that are so prevalent in today’s fires. His willingness to share his research, knowledge and outstanding staff have greatly improved the health and safety of firefighters around the world.”