Balancing Firefighter Protection Is Like a 3-Dimensional Chess Game

Balancing Firefighter Protection Is Like a 3-Dimensional Chess Game

By Rob Freese, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing, Globe Manufacturing Company, now part of MSA The alarming rate of cancer diagnoses among firefighters is very real and very serious. What we know is that firefighters have an increased risk for several types of cancer. Fires produce hundreds of toxic compounds; and some are carcinogenic. Everyone in the fire industry is at least talking about it. And some are quick to market with what they think the answer might be. We cannot lose sight of the fact, however, that cardiac events remain the leading cause of duty-related deaths. Firefighting leads to significant cardiovascular strain. Sudden cardiac events account for approximately 45% of all LODDs in the United States each year. The solutions to both of these problems are complex and involve trade-offs. It would be relatively easy to make turnout gear into hazmat gear to help protect against cancer-causing particulates and gasses, but that degree of encapsulation would lead to dramatic increases in heat stress. And that gear would make the work of firefighting almost impossible, which leads to the third dimension of protection. Fighting fires is demanding, physical work requiring maximum athletic performance. To perform like an athlete, turnout gear has to enhance performance and allow for a full range of motion. Like a 3-dimensional chess game, all of the above must be taken into consideration. Today’s threats are more complex and so helping to keep firefighters safe has become considerably more challenging. Science-Based Research A “silver bullet” to solve this 3-dimensional dilemma has been elusive because first we must attain a deeper level of understanding. Meaningful, realistic...
[Video] How Your Bunker Gear Works

[Video] How Your Bunker Gear Works

Tactics in the fire service have changed. It used to be that firefighters stopped the fire at the building. But now they’re going in deeper to stop the fire at the room of origin. PPE is a critical line of defense against the dangerous environment in which firefighters perform their duties. Firefighters need training not only on the performance of their gear and proper donning and doffing but also on the limitations of their gear. This video will provide important information on: How bunker gear is designed to work Why fit is important The reasons to conduct a risk assessment before selecting gear How to properly inspect bunker...
Infographic: 7 steps to clean firefighting turnout gear

Infographic: 7 steps to clean firefighting turnout gear

We once saw dirty firefighting coats and pants as badges of honor. Now the fire service is beginning to recognize that soiled or contaminated protective garments can expose firefighters to toxins and carcinogens, spread communicable disease, absorb radiant heat, conduct electricity and can be flammable. In short, clean PPE can help you live longer. NFPA 1851 says to evaluate gear after each use to determine the appropriate cleaning level. This includes instructions for routine cleanings at the scene and advanced cleaning at least once a year. To read the seven steps to clean firefighting turnout gear infographic, fill out the form below: Fill out my online form. Fill out my Wufoo...
[Video] How to Clean and Store Your PPE

[Video] How to Clean and Store Your PPE

The fire service has become extremely health conscious ‒ and rightly so. PPE is a critical line of defense against the dangerous environment in which firefighters perform their duties. Proper cleaning and storage of protective clothing are essential to improving firefighter health and safety. This video will provide important guidelines on: The cleaning requirements set forth in NFPA 1851 The proper way to machine wash turnout gear Tips on drying turnout gear How and where to store your...
Easy-to-Understand NFPA 1971 Garment Performance Testing Coming Your Way

Easy-to-Understand NFPA 1971 Garment Performance Testing Coming Your Way

By Pat Freeman, Globe Technical Services Manager The 2018 Edition of NFPA 1971, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, is anticipated to be published in the third quarter of 2017, barring any public objections to the standard. NFPA standards have always included an annex, which is intended to provide explanations, clarifications, and even non-mandatory suggestions. However, the 2018 revision of the standard has gone a step beyond and introduced Annex B, which is intended as a guide to better understand performance requirements. This annex is written in easy-to-understand laymen’s terms and provides not only the test method and section in which the test is located, but also describes how the test is conducted, as well as explaining exactly what is being tested and the reason behind the test (i.e. why is it tested). Additionally, every test includes an actual photograph or drawing illustrating how the test is run. Below is an example of Annex B (sans the photographs in the actual annex) to demonstrate the layout of the annex, showing just a small sampling of the required testing performed on garments. NFPA is a standards writing organization that uses an open, consensus-based process for the development and revision of all standards. An open consensus-based process means that individuals as well as organizations have provided input and feedback on the 2018 Edition of NFPA...
4 Garment Changes with NFPA 1971, 2018 Edition

4 Garment Changes with NFPA 1971, 2018 Edition

By Pat Freeman, Globe Technical Services Manager NFPA standards are revised every five years as a matter of course. There have been times when the process can take a little longer, resulting in a standard that is published in six years rather than the normal five, and occasionally the standard can be “short cycled.” A standard is short cycled only when there is a compelling reason to revise sooner than the normal five years, such as a breakthrough in technology or a previously unknown potential for harm. In the case of NFPA 1971, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, the current standard is the 2013 edition and, following the normal five year cycle, the next revision will be the 2018 version. As of today, the standard is on schedule and is anticipated to be published in the third quarter of 2017, barring any public objections to the standard. What follows are four changes impacting garments that will occur with the 2018 revision: Coats and pants certified to the 2018 edition of NFPA 1971 will be required to have some type of access opening for inspecting the interior of the liner/moisture barrier system, which up until now has just been an option offered by some manufacturers. Outer shell fabrics are being required to meet an increased water absorption resistance; the current requirement is for no more than 30% absorption, and the new standard will change the allowable absorption to only 15% maximum. Changes are also being made to several test methods, most notably the shower test, which includes a new shower spray configuration. Additionally,...