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...
Helping to Protect Our Volunteer Firefighters

Helping to Protect Our Volunteer Firefighters

Since 2012, we’ve partnered with DuPont Protection Solutions and the National Volunteer Fire Council to provide 351 sets of new, state-of-the-art turnout gear to volunteer fire departments in need – a value of over $800,000. Through our Globe Gear Giveaway Program, an additional 13 departments will receive four sets of gear each in 2017. Awards in the 3rd quarter were made to the following departments: Gustavus Volunteer Fire Department (AK) ‒ The Gustavus Volunteer Fire Department is located in a rural community 50 miles west of Juneau and covers nearly 38 square miles plus mutual aid to Glacier Bay National Park. The department serves a population of over 500 in the winter and up to 2,000 in the busy summer months during the tourist season. With only 10 sets of gear available for their 27 volunteer firefighters, this donation will enable the department to train and respond safely and in accordance with state and national standards. Island Heights Volunteer Fire Company (NJ) ‒ The Island Heights Volunteer Fire Company is funded entirely by donations, fundraisers, and grants. Their members, comprised entirely of volunteers, devote countless hours to training, emergency response, fundraising, administrative duties, and maintaining equipment, apparatus, and the station. Firefighters are trained in all aspects of fire suppression, ventilation, search and rescue, forcible entry, ladders, salvage and overhaul, water and ice rescue, hazardous materials, and CPR. Many members also pursue additional training as fire officers, instructors, wildland firefighters, incident commanders, and more. While all 30 of their volunteers currently have turnout gear, 18 of those are more than 10 years old and no longer compliant with safety standards....
Globe is Now Part of MSA | Still Globe, Only Better

Globe is Now Part of MSA | Still Globe, Only Better

By Rob Freese, Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Globe Manufacturing Company, now part of MSA It’s been all over Wall Street and Main Street, within the fire service and outside, and all around the world that Globe’s fourth generation owners have sold the business to MSA Safety Incorporated. It’s true. Globe protective clothing manufacturing, boot manufacturing, and cleaning and repair businesses are now part of MSA. What brought us together? If you know me, you’ve probably heard me say in the past that Globe is more than a business. It is a calling. If so, maybe you were a little surprised to find out that this family business now has new owners – a publicly traded company, not a fifth generation of the Freese family. So let me tell you a little about how we came to join forces with the world’s leader in safety. Several years ago − when really solidifying plans for the future of our great organization − we found ourselves without fifth generation family members in the wings ready to lead the business into the future. So we engaged in a multi-year process to identify potential new ownership that would be good stewards of what my family has created over four generations and 130 years. I can tell you that it wasn’t about auctioning off the business to the highest bidder. It was, in fact, about finding a home that reflected our core values. A home that would ensure a bright future for the business, our employees, our communities, our dealers, and most importantly for the firefighters and first responders who rely on...
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...
Globe to Present at WEAR 2017 and Techtextil North America | Wearable Technology for First Responders

Globe to Present at WEAR 2017 and Techtextil North America | Wearable Technology for First Responders

The WEAR Conference is the preeminent wearable technology, smart textiles, material innovation, and consumer experience conference. At the upcoming event to be held June 12-14 in San Francisco, Mark Mordecai, our Director of Business Development, will present the Globe Wearable Advanced Sensor Platform – WASP™ – the world’s only commercial physiological monitoring and location tracking system dedicated to serving the critical needs of public safety personnel. As project lead since inception, he will discuss the challenges and successes surrounding this effort and speak to the gaps that remain in order for it to achieve its full potential for users and to become a viable business. The leading cause of line of duty deaths for firefighters is cardiac events. Challenging environmental factors and a host of personal factors combine in complex ways, particularly during and after fire suppression, to trigger physiological responses that all too often lead to death or disability. And the biggest fear of firefighters is not fighting the fire; it’s being unable to locate and rescue a downed team member. 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. WEAR 2017 will specifically focus on the future of smart fabrics and wearable technology, with tours, workshops, and presentations about wearable apps, sustainability innovation, collaboration within the industry, fashion and technology, and the future of healthcare and connected medical devices. It is expected to draw over 300 attendees from adidas, IBM, Google, Lululemon, Nike, Amazon, and more. Mark is also scheduled to present the Globe WASP™ system...
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...
Thanks to Firefighters Who Participated in ATHLETIX™ Virtual Reality Activity to Raise $25,000

Thanks to Firefighters Who Participated in ATHLETIX™ Virtual Reality Activity to Raise $25,000

We believe in giving back to the fire service and continued our partnership with the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund at FDIC International 2017, the nation’s largest firefighter training conference and exhibition held April 27-29 in Indianapolis. FDIC was our official launch of ATHLETIX™, the world’s first turnout gear with stretch. We invited attendees to experience the unprecedented range of motion that is possible with the new ATHLETIX™ gear in a virtual reality experience for firefighters in the booth. Firefighters then spun a wheel to determine a donation ‒ $10, $20, $50, or $100 ‒ to the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund in their name. Thanks to all the firefighters who participated, Globe donated $25,000 to the Fund. Terry Farrell was a father, a husband, a brother, and a dedicated firefighter who lost his life on September 11, 2001, during the World Trade Center attack. The Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund is made up of firefighters and family members who volunteer their time and energy to help fellow brothers, sisters, and departments in need. The fund operates annually on a budget of 1-3% and sustains itself through fundraising and the donations of individuals, fire departments, and corporate sponsors. National chapters are in Alabama, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Las Vegas, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and...
[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...