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BSL-4 user survey results aiding the design of the next generation of positive pressure suits

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 — Poster Session III

10:00 a.m. – Noon

Natcher Conference Center




  • D Harbourt
  • K Meza
  • D Wilson


A 38-question survey was generated based on initial input from the maximum containment lab (MCL) safety and user community within the U.S. The survey consisted of multiple choice and short-answer questions based on experiences of the users and their suggestions for the next generation of suits. The survey was delivered electronically to the users to allow for fast analysis. The survey generated a response rate of 45%. Suit experiences among users were confined to the ILC Dover, Sperian (Delta) and HvO (German) BSL-4 suits. The Dover suit had a longer average lifetime with 55% of respondents indicated lifetimes over a year compared with 31% in the Sperian suits. While there were a number of different sources of leaks in both suits, nearly 50% of those reported were in either the feet or the zipper. While Sperian suits were lighter and quieter than the Dover suits, they were less durable. Both suits have their strengths and weaknesses but each is prone to manufacturer defects. Ideally, a new generation suit would combine the quiet environment and lightweight feel of the Spearian with the durability and flexibility of the Dover coupled with a quality control process to minimize defects.

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