Step in the right direction: Decontamination of PPE must include boots

Step in the right direction: Decontamination of PPE must include boots

Shoes can be gross. We wear them everywhere. They collect everything – dirt, bacteria, germs, chemicals and mold spores, just to name a few – as we wear them throughout the day. And, then, most of us walk straight into our homes without removing them, only to transfer all that contamination to our carpets and rugs. GROSS DECONTAMINATION OF FIREFIGHTER BOOTS Imagine what your firefighting and station boots track into the station: road debris, petroleum residue, contaminated mud and dirt, blood and body fluids. While many fire stations have non-carpeted surfaces for easy cleaning, most dormitory areas are still carpeted. So, what’s in your carpet? Hopefully, your fire department prohibits bunker pants and boots in the living quarters of your station. But, do you still walk into the kitchen at 2:00 a.m. after returning from a call wearing your bunker pants and boots? Be honest. We’re paying more attention to conducting gross decontamination of our firefighting protective ensemble components before leaving the fire scene, and that’s a good thing. But what about your firefighting boots? Are they getting a good scrubbing, and not just a rinse from the water flowing down from above? WHAT DO THE GUIDELINES SAY ABOUT CLEANING FIREFIGHTER BOOTS? NFPA 1851: Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting doesn’t provide specific guidelines for cleaning firefighter boots to the degree that the standard addresses cleaning for turnout coats and pants. According to Pat Freeman, technical services manager at Globe Manufacturing, for normal cleaning, such as surface debris from a structural fire, Globe advises their customers to use a soft sponge or rag with...
Evaluating turnout gear cleaning options

Evaluating turnout gear cleaning options

At the upcoming Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC), the fire service can expect a variety of new product and service claims as it does each year. Continuing emphasis on contamination control will drive vendors to promote specific equipment, supplies and processes, all with the guarantee for reducing firefighter exposure to potential carcinogens and other hazardous substances. The large majority of these items or approaches will be well-meaning, but as is often noted, a certain amount of zeal will be present to entice departments and individual firefighters to consider new ways that they can reduce their risks. We expect a large number of claims at this year’s FDIC to revolve around contamination control and exposure reduction in the form of cleaning products and services. A great deal of research has recently emerged in this area. Findings from this research have been coupled with several different new approaches for cleaning turnout clothing and related items both on the fireground and at station. Because of the heightened focus on firefighter cancer and similar debilitating diseases from exposure to hazardous substances, we urge caution and due diligence in reviewing and considering the different options available for turnout cleaning. CLEANING FIREFIGHTER GEAR With the trend towards more frequent cleaning of turnout clothing, many departments are investigating or adding new in-house capabilities that allow their organizations to conduct regular cleaning. This is a significant investment, because the implementation of these capabilities is relatively resource-intensive, requiring appropriate washing machines, the space for siting these machines and sometimes assigned personnel who can properly undertake the requisite cleaning processes. From an equipment standpoint, the key item is the washer/extractor. While some organizations may...
Deadline 6/1: Don’t Miss Your Chance to Win Globe Gear

Deadline 6/1: Don’t Miss Your Chance to Win Globe Gear

The application deadline for the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway is June 1, 2018. Globe, DuPont Protection Solutions (DuPont), and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) have teamed up for the seventh year to provide state-of-the-art turnout gear to volunteer fire departments in need. 13 departments will each receive four sets of new gear, for a total of 52 sets. To be eligible to apply for the Globe Gear Giveaway, departments must meet the following criteria: be all-volunteer or mostly-volunteer (over 50 percent) serve a population of 25,000 or less be located in the U.S. or Canada and legally organized under state/province law demonstrate a need for the gear department or person applying must be a member of the NVFC. Proper turnout gear is vital to the safety of firefighters; however, budget restrictions often leave many volunteer departments struggling to outfit their crew with personal protective clothing that meets recommended national safety standards. Since 2012, Globe and DuPont have provided 402 sets to a total of 82 departments in need. Learn more and apply for Globe gear at www.nvfc.org/globe-gear-giveaway. Winners will be announced monthly between July and...
Takeaways from the AFG Turndown Letters | Free Grant Assistance Available

Takeaways from the AFG Turndown Letters | Free Grant Assistance Available

By Jerry Brant, Senior Grant Consultant and Grant Writer, FireGrantsHelp Here’s what we know and can tell you about the AFG turndown letters. 1. THE AFG TURNDOWN LETTERS WERE GENERATED BY ACTIVITY Each letter should have a heading that notes a specific activity (e.g., Equipment). This means that the item or items you applied for under this specific activity did not make it to peer review. If you applied for several categories of Equipment (e.g., TIC, hose and radios), then all those items were turned down. 2. ONE TURNDOWN LETTER DOES NOT MEAN ALL YOUR ACTIVITIES WERE REJECTED If you applied for more than one activity, receiving a rejection notice does not mean that all of your activities were turned down. If you applied for another activity and you did not get another turndown letter, than you can reasonably believe that the other activity made it to peer review. So, if you applied for SCBA and Equipment: radios, and you received a turndown for Equipment only, the radios were turned down at this point and the SCBA application went to peer review. The good news? FEMA anticipates that 2017 AFG awards should start being awarded this month. Awards will continue on a rolling basis until they are completed, which should be before mid-September. If you need grant help for Turnout Gear or Personal Protective Equipment, Globe has partnered with FireGrantsHelp to provide your department free grant research and assistance. Submit a request here today to get started. A version of this article originally appeared on...
Globe Invited to Present at iWomen Conference

Globe Invited to Present at iWomen Conference

Globe has been invited to present at the International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Service (iWomen) Conference being held May 24-26, 2018 in Fairfax County, Virginia. The iWomen Conference is hosted by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department and includes a workshop titled “Where Research and Firefighting Experience Come Together to Develop the Future of Personal Protective Equipment.” Between the years of 2010 and 2014, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimated that female firefighters experienced an average of 1,260 injuries on the fireground each year (NFPA, 2017). The concern is that some of these injuries can be attributed to poorly fitting and functioning turnout gear. Through this session, firefighters will gain more awareness of current turnout gear performance challenges and participate in a process to improve the safety and design of future turnout gear for women. Pat Freeman, Globe Technical Services Manager, will present Globe’s research and design development of NFPA-certified turnout gear for female firefighters. Although NFPA 1971, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, requires a female pattern in stated sizes, and manufacturers have been meeting these minimum requirements for years, many female firefighters are still getting gear that doesn’t fit well. Pat will discuss the many dimensions of fit, including the Globe exclusive dimension of shape. The key to proper fit is gear that comes in different shapes, not just sizes. For more information about the iWomen Conference, visit...
Are You a Tactical Athlete?

Are You a Tactical Athlete?

By Todd J. LeDuc, MS, CFO, FIFirE, Assistant Chief with Broward County (FL) Fire Rescue You may have heard the term “tactical athlete” a lot recently. The term itself is not confined to the fire service and firefighters but other high-risk professions such as the military. The United States Marine Corp (U.S.M.C.) defines a “tactical athlete” as an individual who trains for combat readiness using a comprehensive athletic approach. Tactical athletes use all facets of strength, power, speed, and agility to improve their combat fitness level to their highest potential. The Marine Corps recognize that using speed and agility training will improve maneuverability of an individual in a combat situation such as maneuvering under fire. Additionally, focusing on power lifting exercises in a training regime improves total body power and increasing success in combat engagement. The U.S.M.C. has also added “High Intensity Tactical Training (HITT)” to enhance operational fitness levels and optimize combat readiness and resiliency for the essential tasks that Marines are expected or likely to need to be able to perform in combat. Firefighting is a rigorous profession and the essential job functions that firefighters are called upon to conduct impacts nearly everybody system. Our actions on the fireground physiologically stress many responses that respond differently than from a homeostatic state. Below are some of the systems affected: Cardiovascular Hematological Thermoregulatory Respiratory Metabolic Immune/endocrine Nervous Muscular Firefighters essential job functions are measured in “MET” values or “Metabolic Equivalent of a Task.” This is the rate of oxygen consumption during a task as compared to resting, and can be used to compare levels of exertion across various types...
How to Clean, Maintain & Store PPE

How to Clean, Maintain & Store PPE

By Patricia Freeman, Technical Services Manager, Globe Manufacturing Company Proper cleaning, maintenance, and storage of protective clothing are essential to improving firefighter health and safety. The following requirements are per NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, 2014 Edition. It should be noted that this standard is a comprehensive user document, and all fire personnel should read it to get a fuller picture of PPE cleaning, maintenance, and storage. The proper way to perform advanced cleaning (machine washing) Front loading washing machines (aka extractors) are preferable. Do not overload the machine. Pre-treat heavily soiled or spotted areas. Do not use chlorine bleach, chlorinated solvents, active-ingredient cleaning agents, or solvents without element manufacturer’s approval. Separate outer shells from liners, remove drag rescue devices and suspenders, and wash independently. Turn the liner system inside out. All closures (zippers, hook and D-rings, plush and loop) must be fastened prior to laundering. Water temperature should not exceed 105 degrees F. Use mild detergent (pH factor of 6.0 to 10.5), as indicated on safety data sheet or product container. Adjust the washing machine so that the g-force does not exceed 100 g (follow machine manufacturer instructions for proper setting or program selection). Inspect after cleaning and rewash if necessary. If the machine is also used to launder items other than protective ensemble elements, the machine must be rinsed out by running the machine without a laundry load through a complete cycle with detergent and filled to the maximum level with water at a temperature of 120°F to 125°F. Dry in an area...
Globe Invited to Attend Firefighter Physiological Monitoring Technology Summit

Globe Invited to Attend Firefighter Physiological Monitoring Technology Summit

Globe has been invited to attend the Firefighter Physiological Monitoring Technology Summit being held March 28-30, 2018 in Washington, DC. The Summit is presented by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and Skidmore College’s SMARTER (Science, Medicine, Research, Technology for Emergency Responders) program and will present groundbreaking information on the emerging field of firefighter wearable technology. Three specific areas will be addressed: The use of wearable ECG technology to detect early signs of cardiac events following firefighting or training exercises; The use of algorithms to estimate core temperature to reduce the risk of heat related injuries and fatalities; The use of low cost, portable technology to monitor air contamination levels on the fireground and in structures post fire. Important information for the fire service will be disseminated through the marketing channels of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Skidmore College SMARTER program. The ultimate goal of the SMARTER study going on now through most of 2018 is to reduce firefighter injuries and fatalities through the appropriate implementation of technology. Firefighters in the study 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...
New download: 10 Considerations Related to Cardiovascular and Chemical Exposure Risks

New download: 10 Considerations Related to Cardiovascular and Chemical Exposure Risks

Significant advances have been made in our understanding of the hazards associated with structural firefighting. A research team recently conducted a large-scale, comprehensive study to better understand how operating in an environment typical of today’s fireground impacts cardiovascular events and chemical exposures related to carcinogenic risk. The team consisted of the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), with support from Globe and academic researchers from Skidmore College and University of Illinois Chicago. During this study, the following were measured: The production of heat, gases, and particulates in the fire environment; Contamination of firefighters’ PPE and skin; Absorption of that contamination into the firefighters’ bodies; Heat stress and cardiovascular responses; How these variables were influenced by tactical decisions (interior only vs. transitional attack), operating location (inside ¬fire suppression/search vs. outside command/vent vs. overhaul); and Effectiveness of mitigation techniques (skin cleaning, gross decon, off-gassing). Based on findings from the study, the research team identified 10 key considerations related to cardiovascular and chemical exposure risks, broken into three categories: Tactical Considerations Related to Occupant Exposure 1. Getting water on the fire 2. The value of the hollow core door 3. VEIS from the inside? Exposure Considerations for Outside and Overhaul Operations 4. Heat stress during outside vent and overhaul 5. Hydrogen cyanide exposure to outside vent crews 6. High concentrations of PAHs and particulate exposure on the fireground Cleaning and Decontamination Considerations after the Fire 7. PPE and skin contamination 8. Gross decontamination 9. Hood laundering 10. PPE off-gassing For details about these 10 considerations, suggested...
Fundamental changes needed to address turnout gear contamination

Fundamental changes needed to address turnout gear contamination

In a recent meeting of the technical committee responsible for revision of NFPA 1851: Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, extensive discussion revolved around proposing modifications in how turnout clothing should be cleaned and, in particular, verified for removal efficiency of harmful contaminants. Changes have been recommended for moving forward with more frequent advanced cleaning of turnout clothing (At this stage, the changes have only been proposed. Ratification of the changes does not occur until the committee has formally voted on the overall standard.) Whereas the current edition of NFPA 1851 prescribes advanced cleaning to be performed at least annually, the new edition, if accepted, will require advanced cleaning at least twice a year. This means that those departments that follow NFPA 1851 will be conducting more frequent cleaning of their gear than in the past several years. AN EMPHASIS ON FREQUENT FIREFIGHTER GEAR CLEANING It must be pointed out that the NFPA 1851 standard has always indicated that firefighter clothing and equipment should be cleaned whenever it becomes soiled or contaminated. That requirement exists both in the current edition, as well as in the new edition. What is changing for the 2019 edition of NFPA 1851 is the fact that more frequent advanced cleaning is being prescribed for turnout clothing in general. Part of this change involves the promotion of language which indicates that exposure to the products of combustion represents contamination. Therefore, whether visibly soiled or not, the standard will be dictating advanced cleaning of clothing that is worn on the fireground. In addition to the increased frequency of...