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...
3 Ways Boots Made in the USA Benefit You

3 Ways Boots Made in the USA Benefit You

At Globe, we believe that “Made in the USA” means something. When you buy our athletic construction fire boots made in Maine, you’re helping to protect and preserve American jobs – not just for the workers in our boot factory, but beyond. We’ve made significant investments in the capacity to manufacture American-made footwear through lean manufacturing and producing components that were previously only available from offshore suppliers. Those investments are in new technologies, equipment, research and development, processes, and people. We are committed to source all boot components in the USA, a challenge in an industry that has essentially moved to Asia. If we cannot find a domestic source for a part, we learn how to make it ourselves. Globe worked with the University of Maine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center over two years, with a pair of seed grants from the Maine Technology Institute (MTI), to develop a process, then a machine, to make toe caps for our boots. That work was brought back to the USA from China. In a second MTI-funded project, in partnership with another Maine manufacturer and the University of Maine, we determined how to build a flexible fabric-based puncture-resistant barrier for all of our boots, replacing two components that were made in Asia. From there, we moved the sources of outer soles and footbeds from China to the USA. These changes have provided Globe with a flexible supply chain that can respond quickly to changes in market demand and design. They also have the benefit of keeping dollars circulating in the American economy. But what does all of this mean to you, the firefighter? There...
SMARTER Project Update: Data Collection and Analysis

SMARTER Project Update: Data Collection and Analysis

By Craig A. Haigh, MS, EFO, NRP; Fire Chief, Hanover Park Fire Department; Research Partner, SMARTER Project The deployment of physiologic data as part of the SMARTER project is well underway.  Data collection is progressing and the team is beginning the arduous task of analyzing the vast amount of information collected on each firefighter. The SMARTER (Science, Medicine, Research, Technology for Emergency Responders) research project is focused on advancing technology to improve health and safety in the fire service. SMARTER aims to employ scientific advances, medical knowledge, research findings, and technological solutions to reduce firefighter injuries and fatalities. The research is supported by the Assistance to Firefighters Grant funding and 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. Data Collection and Analysis All Hanover Park firefighters are wearing Globe’s WASP™ wearable technology throughout their work shift to monitor and track physiologic data such as heart rate, estimated core body temperature, respiration rate, ECG, and movement. This data is then downloaded and transmitted electronically to Skidmore College – First Responder Health and Safety Laboratory where the analysis process begins. Individual files from firefighters are compared against emergency response reports, trainings, daily physical fitness activities and other events to determine how the firefighters physiologically responded to the various incidents and events. The process to manage individual physiologic data files and link the data to the physical...
Upcoming Webcast | Fire Suppression and Firefighter Physiology and Exposure Risks

Upcoming Webcast | Fire Suppression and Firefighter Physiology and Exposure Risks

Please join us for a free webinar on Monday, June 12: Fire Suppression and Firefighter Physiology Exposure Risks. Conducted by Gavin Horn, PhD, and Denise Smith, PhD, FACSM, this webinar will provide an update regarding research on firefighter physiology and exposure risk studies undertaken by the Illinois Fire Service Institute along with UL FSRI, NIOSH, and Globe, including fire suppression activities’ effects on cardiovascular health and chemical exposure. It will be moderated by Bobby Halton, Editor-in-Chief of Fire Engineering magazine. The webcast will be at 1:00 PM EDT. Registration is required. Sponsored by Globe. Gavin Horn, PhD, has served as the director for the IFSI Research program at the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), a department within the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2004. In that same year, he received a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. IFSI Research studies focus on firefighter health and safety, first responder technology development, and material testing. Gavin also serves as a volunteer firefighter/engineer with the Savoy (IL) Fire Department. Denise Smith, PhD, FACSM, is a professor of health and exercise sciences at Skidmore College, where she directs the First Responder Health and Safety Laboratory, and a research scientist at the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute. She has coauthored an exercise physiology textbook and an advanced cardiovascular exercise physiology textbook and has contributed to a textbook on live fire training. She has conducted far-reaching research on the cardiovascular strain associated with firefighting and has lectured extensively on health and safety issues in the fire service. She is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine...
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...
[Video] Globe Wearable Technology in SMARTER Research with Hanover Park Fire Department

[Video] Globe Wearable Technology in SMARTER Research with Hanover Park Fire Department

The ultimate goal of the SMARTER study (Science, Medicine, Research, Technology for Emergency Responders) going on now through most of 2018 is to reduce firefighter injuries and fatalities through the appropriate implementation of technology. Firefighters at the Hanover Park Fire Department in Illinois are wearing shirts designed by Globe that incorporate a physiologic status monitoring system developed by Zephyr. The firefighters wear the Globe shirts throughout their 24-hour shifts and physiologic data such as heart rate, estimated core body temperature, respiration rate, ECG, movement, and more are recorded via electronic modules that are snapped into the shirts. The data shows the impact of live field operations on their bodies. 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...