Can SMARTER Technology Reduce Firefighter Injuries and Fatalities?

Can SMARTER Technology Reduce Firefighter Injuries and Fatalities?

By Denise Smith, PhD, FACSM; Professor, Skidmore College; Principal Investigator, SMARTER Project Most of us are aware that technology is becoming increasingly prevalent. Almost every firefighter has a smart phone with impressive computing powers and the ability to provide extensive amounts of data upon demand. But, how does advancing technology affect the fire service? More importantly, how could technology make the fire service safer? SMARTER Project A new research project, called SMARTER, is focused on advancing technology to improve health and safety in the fire service. The SMARTER project (Science, Medicine, Research, Technology for Emergency Responders) aims to employ scientific advances, medical knowledge, research findings, and technological solutions to reduce firefighter injuries and fatalities. This research is being led by Skidmore College with collaborative support from University of California at Los Angeles, University of Illinois Fire Service Institute, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Fire Protection Research Foundation, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Hanover Park (Illinois) Fire Department, Globe Manufacturing Company, Zephyr Medtronic, International Association of Firefighters, and others. This collaboration between scientists and technologists, fire service partners, and industry leaders kicked off in January in the Chicago area when researchers from Skidmore College, located in Saratoga Springs (NY), began an ongoing collaboration with the Hanover Park Fire Department. For the next 12 months Hanover Park personnel will wear specially designed monitoring equipment to collect physiologic data showing the impact of live field operations on their bodies. Addressing Firefighter Physiological Vulnerabilities Despite all the dangers on the fireground, it is the body’s own physiological response to firefighting that kills or injures most firefighters. A shocking number of firefighters are...
Globe Wins International Award for New ATHLETIX™ Turnout Gear

Globe Wins International Award for New ATHLETIX™ Turnout Gear

We are honored to announce that Globe was recently awarded the 2016 International Achievement Awards (IAA) Award of Excellence and Best in Category for Advanced Textiles. The award was presented by Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) at their IFAI Expo, the largest specialty fabrics trade show in the Americas, held in Charlotte, North Carolina, on October 20. We received the Award of Excellence and Best in Category for Advanced Textiles for our new ATHLETIX™ turnout gear, which is unlike any firefighter turnout gear today. The all-new athletic design with stretch fabrics allows a closer, body-contoured fit to provide unprecedented range of motion with less bulk, more flexibility, and lighter weight. Globe collaborated with three supplier partners on the development of the new materials that enable this all-new design: KOMBAT™ STRETCH PBI®/KEVLAR® fabric, manufactured by TenCate Protective Fabrics, allows closer, less bulky fit with unprecedented range of motion and more flexibility while providing premium thermal break open protection; NOMEX® NANO thermal barrier material, manufactured by DuPont Protection Solutions, is thinner, lighter, more flexible, more breathable, and quicker drying; and 3M™ SCOTCHLITE™ COMFORT TRIM reflective material, manufactured by 3M Company, is segmented and heat sealed to be lighter, more flexible, and breathable without sacrificing visibility. For more than six decades, IAA has recognized excellence in design and innovation, highlighting truly spectacular work in the specialty fabrics and technical textiles industry. IFAI received a total of 296 entries from 10 countries in 42 categories in this year’s competition. Winners were selected based on complexity, design, workmanship, uniqueness, and function. Judges included industry experts, editors, architects, educators, and design professionals. “At Globe, we...
3 Things that Make Globe Boots Safer and the Science that Proves Why

3 Things that Make Globe Boots Safer and the Science that Proves Why

By Rob Freese, Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Globe When we got into the leather fire boot business 10 years ago, people told me it was a mature and saturated market. Little did they know where our imagination would take us. That’s because we listen to what you, the firefighter, tell us you need to perform your duties effectively and safely. And then, as part of our product development process, we rely on science to study exactly how the human body moves. Boot Construction For years, all firefighter boots were made of rubber. They were waterproof, but they were also hot, heavy, and clunky. In the 80s, advances in materials made the development of a new kind of fire boot possible – constructed with leather on the outside and a waterproof, breathable bootie on the inside. They were lighter, more comfortable, and a huge improvement. Some leather fire boots are made with Goodyear welt (stitched) construction. The end product is a boot that is flat as a pancake and stiff as a board. The stiffness is a consequence of the welt construction method in combination with the steel plate. Boots made with athletic footwear (cement) construction are flexible like your feet. Your feet are designed to flex 50 degrees. If your boot doesn’t flex 50 degrees, then your movement will be restricted. Other leather fire boots are made with a hybrid construction method. It starts with a cup outsole like athletic footwear construction but uses a creased steel plate along the bottom and then injects urethane foam. Again, these boots are stiff by the very nature...
[Video] WASP™ at Firefighter Combat Challenge

[Video] WASP™ at Firefighter Combat Challenge

Globe’s WASP™ (Wearable Advanced Sensor Platform) is put to the test at the Firefighter Combat Challenge. WASP™ addresses two critical problems identified on the InterAgency Board’s (IAB) R&D Priority List: Emergency Responder Body-Worn Integrated Electronics System Development and 3D Tracking of Personnel. Firefighters experience extreme physiological stress during the course of their duties. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, stress and overexertion account for 50% or more of firefighter line of duty deaths. Factors that affect firefighter physiological responses include exertion of work performed, elevated thermal environment, wearing heavily insulated protective clothing, carrying heavy equipment, as well as individual health status, fitness level, medication, and hydration level. Firefighters are also exposed to extreme hazards during the course of emergency response. WASP ™ provides a tool for incident commanders to track the location of team members to improve situational awareness and potentially shorten the time needed for a RIT team to rescue a downed firefighter. Learn more about WASP™...
Globe Presents at Smart Fabrics Summit

Globe Presents at Smart Fabrics Summit

By Mark Mordecai, Director of Business Development at Globe We were recently invited by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Industrial Fabrics Association International to speak at the first-ever Smart Fabrics Summit in Washington, DC. Advances in technology have enabled the development of “smart fabrics,” with the capability to interact with their user or environment, including by tracking and communicating data about their wearer or environment to other devices through embedded sensors and conductive yarns. This is exactly the premise behind our Wearable Advanced Sensor Platform (WASP™), the world’s only system for real-time monitoring of physiology and location designed for firefighters and first responders. That’s why we were asked to speak – and we were honored to do so. Along with our project team partner, Propel, we presented the multi-year process of bringing wearable technology for firefighter monitoring from idea through to commercial availability. The WASP™ system tracks heart rate, heart rate variability, estimated core body temperature, respiration rate, activity levels, posture, and other physiological factors, as well as 3D location inside a building. Specialty Fabric Review magazine, a publication of the Industrial Fabrics Association International, reported on the...
The Re-Imagination of Turnout Gear

The Re-Imagination of Turnout Gear

By Rob Freese, Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Globe If you were fortunate enough to attend FDIC this year, I think you’ll agree that our preview of Globe ATHLETIX™ – the future of turnout gear – created unbelievable excitement and buzz among firefighters. In fact, it was unlike any other exhibitor’s presence there. New material technology, also unveiled at the show, enables our all-new athletic design with stretch fabrics. That’s right – turnout gear that’s made with a stretch outer shell and stretch panels inside. The stretch allows a closer, more body-contoured fit of the gear, which provides firefighters with unprecedented range of motion when performing the physical demands of their job. The combination of new materials and new design results in turnout gear with less bulk, more flexibility, and that is lighter weight. To showcase the capabilities of ATHLETIX™ with the new materials, we donned Olympic athletes with the new gear, which they wore while performing their extreme trampoline shows multiple times a day at FDIC. The athletes experienced unrestricted range of motion. Crowds that gathered during show times in our booth, in the aisles around our booth, and in neighboring booths were astonished at what the athletes could do in turnout gear. We heard several times over the days, “Are they wearing real turnout gear?” Yes, indeed, no smoke and mirrors. I have a funny story about the Olympic athletes from Flippenout Productions, which I only heard at FDIC. The organization has performed countless shows at professional sporting, corporate, and community events all over the world. The emcee announced during their first show at...