First responders experience many stresses, strains and challenges when performing front line duties whilst wearing PPE.
PPE is an essential component of front line clothing and is designed to save lives and reduce injuries. Extensive research has been conducted looking at the outer protective layers but little research has been undertaken to determine the effectiveness of next-to-skin clothing as part of a layered system.
The 2012 Ontario Firefighter PPE Survey recommended; “An emergency responder’s next-to-skin, base layer clothing must optimize the necessary thermal protection during live fires but also enhance thermoregulation during recovery and non-fire related calls to reduce cumulative physiological strain, while maintaining perceptual clothing comfort.”
Research – next generation base layers for firefighters
In 2013 Guelph-Humber University in Canada researched four different baselayers during live-fire evolutions to identify the next generation of baselayer systems for fire-fighters. Four different garments systems were tested and compared with live physiological monitoring and perceptual/sensorial measurement.
The research findings ranked Armadillo Merino® as the number one choice of next-to-skin clothing with 67% selecting Armadillo as their first choice and 100%
as their first or second choice.
Why Armadillo Merino?
Armadillo Merino design and manufacture the most advanced next-to-skin clothing system in the world. Armadillo Merino baselayer garments greatly enhance the safety, performance, health and comfort of wearers operating in extreme conditions.
Armadillo Merino fabrics don’t melt or drip and provide a natural flame resistance up to 600C. Armadillo fabrics have many inherent fabric properties including no electrostatic build-up, high UVA & UVB protection with a remarkable ability to thermo-regulate under both hot and cold conditions. Sweat is actively managed in vapour and liquids state keeping users comfortable while limiting any odour
build-up and maintaining a more stable core body temperature.
Armadillo Merino was chosen to supply a head-to-toe clothing system for the Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) in the UK. BFRS were looking for base layer garments which had fewer limitations
and challenges than cotton or synthetic materials and wanted a T-shirt style top that could be worn at all times when on duty, without the need to issue alternatives.
The work of the BFRS technical rescue staff required base layer clothing that could be adapted
to meet the physiological demands of challenging environments and differing weather conditions. The team is part of the
national urban search and rescue capability, meaning they can be deployed to incidents anywhere in the UK for extended periods of time.
The trials found the Armadillo Merino garments offered a higher level of flame resistance than existing next-to-skin clothing. Mark Jones, former Chief Fire Officer at BMKFRS said: “The outcome of these trials was crucial in the purchase decision. After a series of extensive and punishing wearer trials, the Armadillo Merino garments outperformed the cotton and synthetic alternatives, providing a good solution on the grounds of effectiveness and wearer comfort.
“Whilst there are less expensive garments available and money is always tight in this service, we felt that we needed a greater focus on improving base layer clothing in addition to outerwear PPE. This represents a significant investment to improve the health, safety and welfare of our specialist staff that fits well with our ethos of seeking high quality to achieve the best value over time.”
For more information, go to www.armadillomerino.com