Boston Fire Department’s Bunker Gear Particulate Testing

Boston Fire Department’s Bunker Gear Particulate Testing

By Edward McCarthy, Logistics Manager, Boston Fire Department The Boston Fire Department (BFD) has a long and proud history, one that we take great pride in. Boston has been at the forefront of the fire industry for well over 300 years. It was the first fire department in North America, tracing its lineage back to 1678. In 1851, the BFD was the first department in the world to protect the city through the use of a public telegraph fire alarm system, a system still in operation today. The BFD operated the first fire engine, a hand engine, put into service in 1678. It was one of the first to purchase a steam engine, one of the first with a fire boat, one of the first to use radio for communication. We pushed for, helped develop, and were the first department in the country to use modern breathing apparatus. While we are proud of our past, we must also be focused on the future, and we must always strive to continually improve. The Cancer Threat Recently the fire service, and Boston in particular, has been struggling with the reality of an ever-increasing number of firefighters being affected by cancer. While the reasons for this are hotly debated, the effect has been devastating. In Boston, 1 in 6 members will develop cancer and some will never recover. We have taken many steps to reduce exposure to toxic substances, increased physical fitness programs, shown members the benefits of healthy diets, and created a host of post incident decontamination processes. However, we felt that there was more that could be done. One area...
Firefighter face, eye protection advances stalled

Firefighter face, eye protection advances stalled

Attitudes, not technology, are what’s holding back significant improvements to firefighter safety One of the elements of a firefighter’s protective ensemble that often gets neglected is eye and face protection. Most often firefighters rely on their self-contained breathing apparatus facemask, but SCBA are not worn for every type of emergency response. Manufacturers must provide firefighter helmets with either a set of goggles or a faceshield, which is intended for supplemental eye and face protection. Yet, these items may not be the most effective for emergency response activities other than structural firefighting and also are easily damaged and become a source of contamination. Perhaps, it is time to rethink how eye and face protection is provided. It’s been a running debate in the fire service and one that NFPA recently looked at. Without any doubt, the full facepiece of an SCBA is a complete and reliable form of eye and face protection. When properly worn, it protects against physical, thermal, chemical and biological hazards. Current standards dictate a high degree of protective performance including extreme thermal exposures. The committee that writes standards for SCBA has endeavored to make the SCBA the most survivable part of the firefighter ensemble on the basis that protecting the firefighter’s air supply should be of paramount importance. This philosophy transcends into similarly providing high-quality eye and face protection. While there are certainly circumstances by which this protection can be compromised, the use of SCBA facepieces during structural fires and similar immediately dangerous to life and health environments is quite appropriate. FACEPIECE LIMITATIONS If there are any limitations for the SCBA facepiece in terms of eye...
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...
New download: “How Your Turnout Gear works”

New download: “How Your Turnout Gear works”

Knowing how and why turnout gear performs the way it does will not only help you select better gear, it may save your life. With PPE serving as our last line of defense against bodily injury or death, this guide addresses the critical question of how these components work and function. And the more firefighters understand how it works, the better equipped they are to make PPE use and care choices that may save their lives. This guide will give you essential tips and advice on: • How the different components of your turnout gear work. • How to choose the right set of PPE based on your department. • How your turnouts protect you from a flashovers and when it’s time to run. Fill out my online form. Fill out my Wufoo...
[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™...
How firefighter hoods will fight cancer

How firefighter hoods will fight cancer

While no silver bullet for cancer prevention, barrier hoods are a great step in that direction In February 2014 we wrote that protective hoods are the most vulnerable area of the firefighter’s ensemble. That’s because hoods lack any type of barrier characteristics to keep out the superfine particles that absorb a variety of hazardous chemicals including carcinogens. This shortcoming was coupled with NIOSH studies and other research showing carcinogen buildup on firefighters’ skin, particularly on the neck and face areas unprotected by the SCBA face piece. Further, that skin absorbs chemicals easily around a person’s jaw line led to the obvious conclusion that current-day hoods have little effectiveness in keeping out soot. Then in January 2015, we assisted the IAFF with a study to show how much particle penetration takes place throughout the entire structural firefighting ensemble. After that, there could be no doubt that the hood is one of the serious gaps in firefighter protection that needs to be solved. An overwhelming number of firefighter hoods consist of two layers of knit material fashioned into a sock-like hood that stretches over the firefighter’s head with an opening for the SCBA face piece and bib that is supposed to stay tucked inside under the top of the coat. The current requirements in NFPA 1971 considers hoods an interface devices for providing thermal protection in areas where other ensemble elements do not always provide complete coverage, such as the SCBA face piece, helmet ear covers and coat collar. Yet as the firefighter moves, the hood shifts and leaves the interface areas exposed to the hostile environment. Revising NFPA 1971 When...