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More than an outfit. More thought than one leg at a time. Putting on the uniform is not just an ordinary daily task, but a habitual part of preparing for the unexpected. Yes, a firefighter’s uniform is more than an outfit. Think about who is wearing it and the risks they are exposed to on a daily basis. The firefighter comes from a long line of heroes, a brotherhood and sisterhood, with traditions to uphold and a reputation to maintain. Their uniform is no different. Its historical navy-blue threads. Classic, professional appearance. Tactical features. Technology-driven fabric. Over time, the uniform’s engineering has needed to adapt with new designs and react to worsened exposures and more dangerous rescue missions. The 21st Century firefighter’s uniform is unique and specific to the job with current trends fixating on the best user experience while future plans focus on preventative and safety measures due to increased societal and architectural risks. Comfortable firefighter uniform So, what does the 21st Century firefighter want? Comfort. Beyond Personal Protective Equipment, it is an overwhelming plea for a more comfortable uniform to wear. This includes garments that are easy “wash and wear” materials that do not require additional ironing. Firefighters do not want to lose the professional appearance or tactical functionality of the uniform The trend calls for lightweight, breathable, cool-weather wear that is less restrictive and offers more give and more stretch so firefighters can perform their job responsibilities more efficiently. However, they do not want to lose the professional appearance or tactical functionality of the uniform. “We need something that looks presentable every time,” said Chief Robert Burdette of Grand Blanc Fire Department, Michigan. Additionally, more firefighters are also starting to wear polo shirts or mesh T-shirts under their Turnout gear, for a lighter weight, more breathable option from the traditional uniform shirt. The trend calls for lightweight, breathable, cool-weather wear that is less restrictive Risk of cancer Unfortunately, comfort is not the only concern firefighters have when it comes to uniforms, or their safety in general. As risky and demanding of a profession the fire service can be, the fires have proven not to be the most hazardous or life threatening. According to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, “Cancer is the most dangerous threat to firefighter health and safety today.” A study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) concluded that firefighters have a 9% increased chance of being diagnosed with cancer and a 14% increased chance to die from cancer compared to the general United States population. Chief Dennis Jenkerson of the St. Louis Fire Department in Missouri is one of many chiefs actively fighting these statistics. Responsible for 32 firehouses, Jenkerson has witnessed the reality of this threat with the loss of four of his own and understands the validity of the situation. For the last 18 months, the St. Louis Fire Department has made headway implementing a drastic culture change by evaluating everything from equipment, apparel, lifestyle and more. Cancer affecting firefighters “It is so prevalent that everything we do anymore has to do with some emphasis on protecting firefighters from getting cancer,” said Chief Mike Ramm of Sylvania Township Fire Department, Ohio. “Cancer is the most dangerous threat to firefighter health and safety today” According to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, the cancers that have mostly affected firefighters are respiratory (lung, mesothelioma), gastrointestinal (oral cavity, esophageal, large intestine) and kidney. “Testicular cancer is through the roof,” added Jenkerson, who has pushed his firefighters to get tested for cancers earlier than normally necessary. He also explained that the imagery of a firefighter drinking from a fire hydrant can no longer happen. He emphasized the importance of cleaning up instantly after every fire. Think of the simple act of removing grimy gloves after a call – at least one hand has been exposed to the cancerous contaminants if it was accidentally used to take off the other glove. If that unwashed, contaminated hand touches food that goes into the mouth of the firefighter, he/she is essentially eating what may cause esophageal, oral cavity or gastric cancers. Cancer is the most dangerous threat to firefighter health and safety today According to the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) via the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, cancer caused 61% of the career firefighter line-of-duty deaths from January 1, 2002 to March 31, 2017. Additionally, 70% of the line-of-duty deaths for career firefighters were because of cancer in 2016. Unfortunately, this hazard is not going away any time soon. The new building materials and new house furnishings have become the culprit for this major concern. These materials are man-made and are not of natural resources. When burned, they create deadly carcinogens that the firefighters are getting exposed to firsthand. Immediate decontamination process Jenkerson’s implementation of a culture change includes an immediate decontamination process following a fire, which involves getting hosed with water, cleansing wipes for all soft tissue areas of the body and an immediate shower back at the station. “Any place you can get a five degree rise in skin temperature, the absorption level goes up 10 times,” Jenkerson warned. His firefighters are instructed to remove their bunker gear, uniform, helmet and all other equipment right away that get immediately washed once they have returned to the station. Hems, collars, cuffs and cargo pockets are areas of the uniform where toxins get caught He also restricts all firefighters and EMTs from going on a second run until they have showered and have put on a new, clean set of clothes, all the way down to their underwear. “There are no two-runs. We have to get this stuff off [of them].” Uniform manufacturers are tasked with finding a solution to help facilitate Jenkerson’s and other Fire Chiefs’ visions by designing a uniform with as little gaps and fold-over materials as possible. “Everything needs to be sealed tight,” Jenkerson explained. Hems, collars, cuffs and cargo pockets are all areas of the uniform where toxins get caught. A lightweight shirt option that offers a crew collar with a two to three button placket and a lightweight, ventilated hidden cargo pant could be the future of fire uniforms. “There isn’t another profession that has the thousands of dangers that we have every day,” Ramm explained. Additional and ongoing efforts currently underway according to the NFPA Journal, include those by the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, the Congressional Firefighter Cancer Registry, the Fire Protection Research Foundation, the FPRF Campaign for Fire Service Contamination Control, and the International Association of Firefighters. Active shooter emergency response Firefighters and EMTs increasingly need to wear bullet proof vests with the surge in active shooter calls An additional and unfortunate trend that is also sweeping the nation is the need for firefighters and EMTs to wear bullet proof vests. Departments are trying their best to arm their men and women with this protection along with ballistic helmets in certain regions due to the surge in active shooter calls. “In areas that have a lot of gang-related activity, [bullet proof vests] would be beneficial,” said Jason Reyes of Allen Fire Department, Texas. “Sometimes you go on calls when the city doesn’t have enough police to respond to calls, which creates a situation that leaves firefighters unprotected and vulnerable.” Currently the market has ballistic vests available that can either be worn over or under a firefighter’s uniform and under their bunker gear. Uniform manufacturers also offer an external vest carrier option that is worn over a firefighter’s uniform to look like part of the uniform shirt to maintain a professional appearance. Distinguishing firefighters from law enforcement “Firefighters find themselves becoming targets more and more these days,” added Deputy Chief of Operations Dwayne Jamison of Bartow County Fire Department, Georgia. “Many departments, including my own, are looking to outfit their firefighters with bullet proof vests.” Although this trend has not affected every region, industry experts can see the need becoming more widespread if threats continue to increase the way they have been. Along the same lines, firefighters want to be identified as firefighters and not mistaken for law enforcement. “We don’t want to look like police,” Jenkerson said. “We want to be identified as firefighters. Even if it takes a different stripe.” When it comes to uniform trends for firefighters, it is clear there is more to focus on than the technical details. For many fire departments, future trends could serve as a tool to prevent deadly toxins from being absorbed and from lethal bullets puncturing unprotected firefighters and EMTs. The uniform is more than an outfit. With a larger purpose than to shield a body, the uniform goes beyond the navy-blue threads, professional appearance and tactical features to one day supporting what could be a lifesaving concept. Sources Firefighter Cancer Support Network, Preventing Cancer in the Fire Service National Fire Protection Association, Firefighters and Cancer NFPA Journal, Fast Track: Some of the national efforts underway to fight cancer in the fire service; Roman, Jesse; 2017
The latest personal protection equipment (PPE) are being designed to meet new regulatory standards Marine firefighting encompasses activities to extinguish any type of fire in a marine environment. For many years, this meant dealing with fires on seagoing vessels, or more specifically, shipping. In this article, Richard Cranham, International Sales Manager at Bristol Uniforms, sheds light on the various fire hazards at sea and the latest protection outfits designed to meet new regulatory standards. Nature of marine fire hazards At one time, marine fire risks were primarily associated with shipping and the vessels or their cargoes. In the 21st century, however, the seas and oceans are increasingly becoming sites for static structures. Many of these are associated with oil, gas and other mineral exploration and harvesting. Clearly the range of fire hazards associated with these different activities varies widely. In some situations, firefighters will be able to work onboard, depending on the severity of the fire, but, following a blow out or explosion aboard an oil rig or gas production platform, fighting the ensuing fire may only be possible from firefighting vessels. Also, the characteristics of the fires facing firefighters will reflect the volatility and flammability of the materials involved in the conflagration. Some materials burn much hotter than others. Some will throw off burning shards or molten materials, some can be unpredictable either due to the composition of the flammable materials involved (in particular hydrocarbons and chemicals) or prevailing weather conditions. Wind speed and direction can be particularly variable out at sea and can cause rapid changes in the levels of hazard experienced by firefighters. Personal protection equipment (PPE) to suit the conditions As with land-based firefighting, the type of personal protection equipment required is increasingly being designed to protect against the specific nature of the fire hazards most commonly encountered. New marine firefighting standards introduced for use throughout Europe equate the hazards, if not the conditions, associated with typical shipping fires with those commonly experienced in structural fires. This has led to the new Marine Equipment Directive (MarED) standards, enshrined in EU Commission Directive 2010/68/EU, to adopt EN 469 (2005) as its benchmark for basic protective clothing for firefighting (A.1/3.3). This means that, throughout the EU, local fire & rescue authorities can deal with ship-board fires occurring in rivers, docks and coastal waters wearing their regular structural fire kit. As with all PPE, compatibility is important and appropriately matched helmets, boots and gloves should be supplied For parts of the world outside the EU, a new international standard has recently been developed. The new standard, BS ISO 22488:2011 [Ships and marine technology – shipboard firefighters’ outfits (protective clothing, gloves, boots and helmet)], has drawn substantially on the work undertaken for the recently issued European Standard. Close proximity firefighting involving gas and oil fires requires protection from the intense heat and flames produced in such ‘hot fires’ and call for quite different types of protective clothing. In some circumstances this type of firefighting will require PPE satisfying ISO 15538 (2001) - Protective clothing with a reflective outer surface (A.1/3.3). New PPE designs to meet new standards Yellow outerlayer on marine firefighting garments signify its use by emergency incident crews battling different types of fires at sea. Garments meeting EN 469 (2005), as used by European municipal firefighters, can also be deployed by them when dealing with shipping fires on river estuaries, in ports and docks and in coastal waters. For fighting fires involving shipping at sea, and for other marine fire emergencies, an alternative is the new design fleet suits which are being introduced to coincide with the implementation of the new EU Commission Directive. As with all PPE, compatibility is important and appropriately matched helmet, boots and gloves should be supplied. In Europe, these should be to MarED approved standards, and include firefighting helmet to EN 443, gloves to EN 659 and firefighter boots to EN 15090 whilst the new international standard, BS ISO 22488:2011, when introduced, may be adopted in other parts of the world. Richard CranhamInternational Sales ManagerBristol Uniforms
Its speed, unparalleled firefighting performance, off-road capability, and crew safety: the PANTHER's capabilities make it the perfect airfield firefighting vehicle. But it is precise because of these capabilities that PCK-Raffinerie GmbH uses the PANTHER for another, no less demanding purpose.Almost all the fuel requirements in the Berlin and Brandenburg region are met by the PCK refinery in Schwedt an der Oder. About 1,200 employees work here, and 2,000 more in other companies located on the refinery's huge site. Over ten million tons of crude oil are processed at the refinery. It is supplied by several oil pipelines, including one of the largest pipelines in the world. And this is exactly where the new PANTHER 6x6 STINGER 54 comes into play. Contain fires quickly A possible fire at the refinery or even on the pipeline is a scenario in which the new PANTHER plays a major role. In the event of a fire, the vehicle can use its speed and high extinguishing performance to contain the fire and buy time until reinforcements arrive. And that's exactly what this PANTHER 6x6 is equipped for.Rosenbauer N80 built-in pump with a capacity of up to 8,000 liters/minute at 10 bar achieves the maximum extinguishing effect The 750 hp powerful engine provides the appropriate propulsion to get to the scene rapidly. Thanks to the rear-axle steering, the PANTHER 6x6 for the PCK refinery is also extremely maneuverable and has no problems even negotiating tight curves at the plant site. The 10,500-liter extinguishing water tank and the 1,300-liter foam agent tank guarantee the supply of extinguishing agents for the initial attack. Thanks to the Rosenbauer N80 built-in pump with a capacity of up to 8,000 liters/minute at 10 bar, the extinguishing agent can also be applied in correspondingly large quantities and quickly to achieve the maximum extinguishing effect. Foam extinguishing system and thermal imaging camera The heart of the extinguishing system on this PANTHER 6x6 is the CONTI CAFS foam extinguishing system in combination with the Rosenbauer STINGER 54 extinguishing arm, which not only has an RM 65 launcher attached, but also a thermal imaging camera. The extinguishing foam is perfect for firefighting because, on the one hand, it clings to the source of the fire - such as the pipeline - and, on the other hand, it unleashes its great cooling effect. The source of the fire can be localized with the thermal imaging camera and extinguished with pinpoint accuracy from above with the STINGER extinguishing arm. The PANTHER 6x6's other equipment is also well worth seeing: for example, an RM 15 front-mounted searchlight or the EMEREC digital deployment management system from Rosenbauer.The PANTHER 6x6 for the PCK refinery is currently one of very few airport fire fighting vehicles in Europe that are not in service at an airport. However, the unique capabilities of the PANTHER could mean that, in the future, the "big cat" from Rosenbauer is seen more often outside its original hunting grounds.
In Germany, VdS CEA 4001 specifies which type of water supply is permissible for firefighting systems. Basically, the amount of water to be stored depends on the risk, the application rate and covered area, and the operating time of the extinguishing system. It must be ensured that the selected water supply is not rendered inoperative or impaired by frost, drought, flooding, or other circumstances. Furthermore, the water must be clean enough to prevent blockages in the piping and nozzles. Water Supply Options There are four options for water supply, and depending on the total area to be protected and the hazard category, one or more of them must be chosen: Public water supply system Water tank Natural and artificial water sources Compressed air water tank Public water supply system In direct connection, no extinguishing agent additives may be added to the extinguishing system Extinguishing systems may only be supplied directly from the public drinking water network if this is the only source of water. If other water sources are available, the extinguishing system should be connected indirectly. In the case of direct connection to the drinking water network, no extinguishing agent additives such as foam compound may be added to the extinguishing system. The connection requires approval by the water supply company and, if necessary, by the competent authority. In addition, the supply for other consumers must not be impaired by the water extraction for the extinguishing system. Other important regulations in this area are DIN 1988-600, DIN 14462, and DIN EN 1717. Incorrect connection of firefighting systems to the public drinking water network can have negative effects on drinking water quality, which poses a risk to public health. The fire fighting water must therefore always be safely separated from the drinking water supply system at the fire fighting water transfer point. A free outlet into a storage tank or a separation station are the means of choice here. The DVGW (German Association for Gas and Water) has dealt intensively with this topic and has drawn up specifications for hygienic safety. Water tank One, or a combination of the following devices, can be used for water storage: Container Intermediate container Elevated tank Reservoir The directive specifies precise requirements regarding the tank design, materials, and strength, and how these must be executed in order to avoid water contamination and deposits. The minimum water volume is specified for each system. This can either be supplied from a storage tank with the total water supply required, or from an intermediate tank where the total water supply is provided from the water supply in the intermediate tank together with the automatic back feed. When back feeding from the public water network, the above-mentioned requirements must also be met. Natural and artificial water sources Natural and artificial sources such as rivers, canals, and lakes are considered to be inexhaustible Natural and artificial sources such as rivers, canals, and lakes are considered to be inexhaustible if they can always provide sufficient water capacity due to their volume, climate, etc. It must be possible to extract the required water supply at any time. Whether a water source meets the requirements for the extinguishing system to be installed as well as how the supply from such sources works in detail is very comprehensively regulated in CEA 4001. Compressed air water tank A compressed air water tank is a tank that holds water under pressure with air. The air pressure and air volume must be sufficient to deliver all the water at the required water pressure and flow rates. The Choice Of Water Supply The total area to be protected and the risk dictate how the water supply is to be selected. It also depends on whether the water supply is from a single source, a single source plus increased reliability (for example, use of two or more pumps), or two sources (two simple, independent water supplies). In individual cases, the ideal solution is worked out together with experts, taking into account the local conditions and protection goals.
EconAqua™ water mist extinguishing systems combine the best of two worlds: the advantages of a sprinkler system with the benefits of high-pressure water mist technology. The system, which is based on low-pressure water mist technology, offers efficient building protection for certain risks in accordance with VdS CEA 4001 and VdS 3188. Highly Efficient And Easy To Retrofit The structure and function of EconAqua™ systems correspond to those of a classic sprinkler system. However, up to 85 % of water can be saved compared to sprinkler systems. Until now, this has only been possible with high-pressure water mist systems, which usually work with operating pressures of between 100 and 140 bar (1,450 – 2,030 psi). Quick response fine spray sprinklers are installed in the areas to be protected. In the event of a fire, only the sprinklers that are in the immediate vicinity of the seat of the fire open. The pressure drop in the pipe activates the water supply and the water is finely sprayed via the open EconAqua™ sprinklers. The system can be designed as a dry or wet system. This means it can also be used in frost-prone or high-temperature areas. The Advantages Speak For Themselves In comparison to classic sprinkler systems, up to 85% less water can be used. This significantly reduces water damages after activation. The water supply, power units, and pipe diameters can generally be dimensioned much more compactly, which leads to space and cost savings and simplifies retrofitting. In addition, the protected area of EconAqua™ sprinklers is significantly larger than that of classic sprinkler systems, at up to 16 m². Compared to high-pressure fine spray extinguishing systems, EconAqua™ systems offer higher operational safety, as the fine spray sprinklers in the low-pressure range have significantly larger outlet diameters than in the high-pressure range. This virtually excludes the risk of clogging due to contamination. It also reduces maintenance efforts. Minimum Investment EconAquaTM systems do not require expensive power units needed in high-pressure fine spray extinguishing systems Investment costs can also be decreased. EconAquaTM systems do not require expensive power units, which are needed in high-pressure fine spray extinguishing systems to provide the water at high pressure and to compensate for the small outlet diameters. The material requirements for pipes, connectors, and special components are also lower and thus more cost-effective because they do not have to be made of stainless steel. There are no special requirements for water quality, which means that fire-fighters can feed the system with water from their truck. Areas Of Application Public, office, and administrative buildings Libraries and Archives Railway stations Banks IT rooms Hotels and restaurants Churches Hospitals and nursing homes Car parks/underground garages Schools and universities Prisons Educational institutions Hostels and apartment buildings Rosenbauer is a VdS certified installer of EconAqua™ systems. By installing this system, clients can meet regulatory requirements and obtain premium discounts for fire insurance.
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