When intervening in a host of situations, whether it is small house fires, flood and water rescues, car accidents, paramedical tasks or tackling large industrial fires, fire fighters need turnout gear that both protects from heat and flame and is comfortable to wear. On top of this, it’s crucial that the garments provide protection and comfort when fighting fires, but also on a day-to-day basis. But what exactly do fire fighters look for in their turnout gear?
In late 2011 West Midlands Fire & Rescue Service (WMFRS) worked with DuPont, Hainsworth and Bristol Uniforms to develop its new firefighting turnout gear made from Hainsworth TITAN fabric that incorporates DuPont Nomex and DuPont Kevlar fibres. Two years later, the firefighters are still reaping the benefits of this expert fabric.
George Farenden, consultant for DuPont, asked WMFRS what qualities they look for in turnout gear and the fabric it’s made from, as part of his ongoing research to ensure firefighter PPE is always evolving and improving to best suit modern firefighting needs.
George explained, “We went to the people who train fire fighters to fight fires, those who teach fire fighters flashover awareness, prevention, suppression and much, much more. Hot fire trainers by their very profession push the envelope of safety; these are the firefighters who understand fires, the extremes and limits that firefighters can operate in.”
Carl Bachelor has been a professional firefighter at WMFRS for more than 25 years and trains up to 1,500 firefighters per year at the West Midlands Fire Service Academy.
Carl explained, “We have a whole Procurement Team and a Technical Service Team that work together to research and source all our turn-out gear. This process involves lengthy testing and wear trials that involve several firefighters in hot fire scenarios at the Academy. ”
Carl continued, “After working with DuPont, Hainsworth and Bristol Uniforms we strongly believe that we now have the best turnout gear we have ever had. I have worn many different sets of turnout gear and I have seen many different types pass through our Fire House but I haven’t seen anything as good as, or better, than ours yet.”
George added, Firefighters all over the world use Nomex® turnout gear in some of the harshest environments thermal protective clothing has to withstand. Fire fighters from Birmingham, Alabama to Birmingham, England face the same problems, and require heat stress protection, performance durability, extra seconds of safety and a lower wear life cost.”
For further information, go to www.nomex.co.uk/solutions