The Continuing Debate on Turnout Gear Service Life

The Continuing Debate on Turnout Gear Service Life

Over the past several years, we have written various columns associated with the care and maintenance of firefighter protective clothing and equipment. One of the perennial issues on this topic has been gear service life. In many cases, this particular topic has been a subject of polarization among the fire service, particularly when it comes to firefighter helmets. In this month’s column, we attempt to shed more light on this topic to allow fire departments and individual firefighters to make better informed choices with respect to their gear service life. All clothing and equipment have a finite service life. For the most part, turnout gear is designed to be quite durable, made with rugged materials that are intended to repeatedly provide protection under a wide range of varying exposure conditions. By definition, service life is the length of time that clothing and equipment can remain in service while still providing a minimum level of protection. Nevertheless, even brand new gear that is subject to a serious fire event can require immediate retirement. Similarly, gear that is abused or improperly cared for can also lead to a shortened service life. The interpretation of service life will further depend on an individual organization’s understanding of what factors constitute continued safe usability of clothing and equipment, which can also be influenced by available resources. Yet, since 2008, NFPA 1851: Selection, Care and Maintenance of Structural Firefighting Protective Clothing has imposed a 10-year service life limit based on the element manufacturing date for any structural firefighting ensemble element, including garments, helmets, gloves, footwear and hoods. The reality of turnout gear service life Every...
Download your 2018 AFG PPE Project Guide

Download your 2018 AFG PPE Project Guide

Turnout gear is used on every alarm and is the core of every fire department. Your department simply cannot exist without it. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant program provides the best means to cover these expenses. However, because of their popularity, turnout gear requests are among the most competitive activities of this grant program. To assist you in this endeavour, FireRescue1 and FireGrantsHelp have built this free PPE project guide to provide you with information and suggestions to formulate your application for turnout gear and give you the most accurate and up-to-date information on this grants program. This guide, sponsored by Globe Turnout Gear, includes: Your agency’s guide to planning your AFG application Tips on integrating data into your AFG application Resources to writing a successful grant narrative A checklist to make sure you have everything you need for a successful AFG application Online Form – Globe – AFG Guide 2018 Powered by...
Departments in OR and VT Receive Turnouts through the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway

Departments in OR and VT Receive Turnouts through the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway

Thanks to Globe by MSA and DuPont Protection Solutions (DuPont), two more fire departments are each receiving four new sets of state-of-the-art turnout gear. Since 2012, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has annually partnered with Globe and DuPont to provide volunteer fire departments in need with new, state-of-the-art turnout gear to better protect our nation’s responders. The latest recipients are the Gardiner (OR) Rural Fire Department and the Salisbury (VT) Volunteer Fire Department. Gardiner (OR) Rural Fire Department Gardiner is a small community of 425 residents on the coast of Oregon. The department’s 10 firefighters make do with turnout gear that is nearly 20 years old and doesn’t comply with industry standards. The town papermill had supplied Gardiner’s firefighters with some gear, but the closing of the mill has left the department to rely solely on tax dollars. The department often hosts fundraising breakfasts and dinners to raise money but is unable to purchase new gear on its current budget. “We are volunteers, we are here to serve and protect our residents and surrounding area, and we are dedicated to what we do,” said Chief John Swann. “Receiving the Globe gear will really help build morale amongst my crew and improve safety. Thank you very much for thinking of our [volunteer] departments.” Salisbury (VT) Volunteer Fire Department Located in the foothills of the Green Mountains in Vermont, the Salisbury Volunteer Fire Department protects 1,500 residents over 30 square miles. Only half of the department’s 20 firefighters have turnout gear at all. Those who do are wearing gear that is over 10 years old, making them unsafe according to...
3 Scientific Tests Prove Globe Boots with Arctic Grip Pro Soles Improve Your Safety

3 Scientific Tests Prove Globe Boots with Arctic Grip Pro Soles Improve Your Safety

  Are you prepared for cold weather calls? What you put on your feet really makes a difference where your safety is concerned. While no footwear can eliminate all slips and falls, Arctic Grip Pro soles on Globe’s athletic construction boots take firefighter footwear to the highest level of performance and safety available. Arctic Grip Pro is state-of-the-art sole technology specifically engineered by Vibram to perform on wet ice. A combination of the highest performing rubber outsole compound and an advanced filler system, Arctic Grip Pro soles provide unparalleled traction on wet ice. In collaboration with Vibram, we undertook three scientific tests to prove that our Globe boots with the new soles can help to reduce slips and falls in cold and wet conditions. Incline Ramp Test: Wet Independent testing was conducted by scientists and engineers of the iDAPT Research team at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (TRI) of Toronto. TRI has a unique set of testing facilities whereby they can mechanically pitch, up to 20 degrees, an entire room that has been conditioned to form ice. In this environment, the test protocol requires the tester to repeatedly ascend and descend the icy surface to the maximum angle achievable. TRI tested Globe footwear outfitted with Vibram Arctic Grip Pro and other styles and brands of cold weather footwear. Conclusion: The data reflected an eight times increase in the combined incline and decline angle achieved with footwear outfitted with Arctic Grip Pro. Load Cell Test Vibram conducted a load cell test, which was developed to test Arctic Grip Pro in real life situations. Ice is formed on a surface where a...
Globe Discusses PPE on iWomen Talk Radio Show

Globe Discusses PPE on iWomen Talk Radio Show

  Globe was invited to participate in a talk radio show hosted by the International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services to discuss the importance of personal protective equipment. Pat Freeman, Globe Technical Services Manager, and Stephanie McQuade, Globe Marketing Services Manager, addressed the construction and materials for turnout gear, proper care and cleaning, and the importance of being fitted correctly for PPE. Other guests included Linsey Griffin, Assistant Professor Wearable Product Design, Human Dimensioning Lab at the College of Design, University of Minnesota and Susan Sokolowski, Director & Associate Professor, Sports Product Design, at University of Oregon Portland. They spoke about their women’s PPE research project with a group of 12 universities in the United States. Listen to the talk radio show on FireEngineering.com An interactive non-profit network, International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Service (iWomen) provides education, support and advocacy for fire service women. For more information, visit...
Three More Recipients Announced in the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway

Three More Recipients Announced in the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway

  Globe by MSA, in partnership with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and DuPont Protection Solutions (DuPont), is giving away 52 sets of new, state-of-the-art turnout gear to 13 volunteer fire departments in need through the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway program. Now in its seventh year, the program works to enhance the safety and capabilities of small-town fire departments across the U.S. and Canada. Recipients are being announced monthly throughout the year. The latest recipients are the Ben Lomond (CA) Fire Protection District, the New Victoria (NS, Canada) Fire Department, and the Huntington Volunteer Fire Company (Phillipsburg, NJ). Ben Lomond (CA) Fire Protection District The Ben Lomond Fire Protection District (BLFD)is an all-volunteer fire department with one paid chief. BLFD volunteers respond to an average of 500 calls per year involving structure fires, wildland fires, vehicle accidents, medical emergencies, public services, and more. All 35 responders are currently using turnout gear that is nearly 15 years old and not compliant with recommended safety standards. Due to obligations such as station repairs, apparatus replacement, and the need for new self-contained breathing apparatuses, securing new turnouts has been put on hold. “[This donation of] Globe gear would provide a fresh set of turnouts for our top responding volunteers,” said BLFD Engineer Dan Arndt. “This would not only help ensure our firefighters’ safety, it would also reward our responders for their commitment to the community.” New Victoria (NS, Canada) Fire Department The New Victoria Fire Department is located on the mouth of Sydney Harbour in the most northeastern part of Nova Scotia. The department responds to an average of 120 calls...
First Recipients Announced for the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway

First Recipients Announced for the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway

  Since 2012, Globe by MSA, DuPont Protection Solutions (DuPont), and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) have partnered to provide 403 sets of new, state-of-the-art turnout gear to fire departments in need – a value of over $920,000. An additional 13 departments will each receive four sets of gear in 2018. “MSA and Globe’s mission is to see to it that men and women live and work in safety and health, and that speaks to the heart of exactly why we’re proud to support the NVFC,” said Globe chief operating officer Tom Vetras. “Firefighters deserve nothing less than the very best personal protective equipment. Our Globe Gear Giveaway program – in partnership with DuPont – is just one of the ways we’re happy to support the many NVFC initiatives that help improve volunteer firefighters’ overall health, wellness, and safety.” “Having standards-compliant, well-fitting gear is a critical component to keeping firefighters safe, healthy, and ready to respond,” said NVFC Chair Kevin D. Quinn. “We appreciate the efforts and generosity of Globe, MSA, and DuPont to help departments keep our boots on the ground safe and protected through this invaluable program.” The first two recipients of the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway are the Hindman (KY) Volunteer Fire Department and Cedar Fort (UT) Volunteer Fire Department. Hindman (KY) Volunteer Fire Department The Hindman Volunteer Fire Department (HVFD) protects 2,000 residents in Hindman, KY, located in the eastern part of the state. The department is currently celebrating 50 years of dedicated service to its community. While funding for the department has decreased over the years due to a waning coal industry from...
Free Online Course | Firefighter Cancer: Prevention and Health

Free Online Course | Firefighter Cancer: Prevention and Health

Studies have shown that firefighters have an increased risk of certain cancers the longer they spend working in the fire service. In order to help mitigate this, firefighters and fire officers must take steps to protect themselves and others by wearing their personal protective equipment (PPE) in the proper way and at the right times. In this course, we will explore the common cancer-causing agents firefighters may face on the job as well as the importance of wearing proper PPE and using decontamination techniques to help reduce exposure to toxic substances and increase firefighter health and quality of life. This FireRescue1 Academy course is sponsored by Globe. FireRescue1 Academy is the industry’s most comprehensive yet user-friendly online video training system. Log in today and get started. Loading...
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...