Gloves - Expert Commentary

Firefighter Uniform Adapts To Cancer Risk, Active Shooter Threat
Firefighter Uniform Adapts To Cancer Risk, Active Shooter Threat

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 

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Designs For Marine Firefighting
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Designs For Marine Firefighting

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

Latest VIKING Life - Saving Equipment A / S news

VIKING Spearheads Testing Of Life-Saving Marine Firefighting Foam
VIKING Spearheads Testing Of Life-Saving Marine Firefighting Foam

VIKING Life-Saving Equipment is driving more investment into its marine fire service business. The inauguration of VIKING’s Foam Lab Odense, which specializes in the testing of a vessel’s reserves of firefighting foam, intensifies the company’s focus on marine fire service, a segment earmarked for significant growth in the coming years. Marine Firefighting Equipment “Our ambition is to cover all aspects of marine firefighting equipment, and our new state-of-the-art laboratory puts us on the global map in this segment, too.“ “Our class approvals comply with IMO regulations for testing all foam types, and we expect to receive DANAK accreditation in the course of 2021 as the ultimate stamp of approval for our work,” says Anders Nørgaard Lauridsen, head of VIKING’s activities in and around the Baltic region. Foam Test If a vessel’s foam is over three years old, it is mandatory for the vessel to undergo an annual foam test at a reputable laboratory. VIKING can offer a simple, user-friendly package solution, whereby shipowners purchase a test kit comprising a container for collecting a foam sample, instructions on how to take the sample on board, and a prepaid shipping label. Certification When the foam is received at the lab, it is subjected to a barrage of tests including, degree of expansion, drainage time, pH value, density, and contamination, to ensure, among other things, that the foam will effectively extinguish a fire. A service checklist and data are saved electronically via an iPad, and a certificate is issued to verify the completion of the test. This ensures traceability and enables monitoring of the condition of the foam. Experienced Specialist Foam samples are heat-treated for 24 hours before mixing them with saline solution There are two specialists at the foam lab, both able to perform a variety of tests, including low and high expansion tests, chemical resistance tests, small scale fire tests, and conductivity tests. When foam samples are received, they are heat-treated for 24 hours before being mixed with saline solution and subjected to a meticulous testing program, defined according to current IMO standards. “VIKING’s Marine Fire Service strategy is initially to handle more than 1,000 foam samples a year, which we’ll receive directly from global shipowners and our servicing stations,” says Anders Nørgaard Lauridsen. Heading Foam Lab Ove Andersen joined VIKING in mid-May to head Foam Lab Odense. He is a qualified marine engineer and has extensive experience, gained from 15 years as an operations manager in the district heating sector and subsequently from his three years at the DFL fire testing laboratory in Svendborg, Denmark. He is fully familiar with international test standards and quality management systems, including IMO1312, IMO670, other regulations for foam testing, and requirements for test equipment. Good Quality Foam “The thought of building something from scratch at VIKING appealed to me.” There are relatively few, yet important, standards for this segment, and from my background in the fire sector, I can say that it’s vital for vessels to have good quality foam on board – particularly foam that’s expandable and has adequate drainage time.” “The same applies here as to other VIKING products, human lives are at stake,” says Ove Andersen. Strong Position VIKING has hired Lone Friis, who holds a bachelor’s degree in laboratory, food and process technology, to assist at the foam lab. The new team of two has recently taken delivery of a sophisticated testing device, which optically reads drainage time and ensures a consistent test process. “We’re a global player with the support of a strong network, and our foam lab will strengthen our maritime customers’ perception of us as a competent partner and full-service supplier to the marine fire service segment, too,” says Anders Nørgaard Lauridsen. Agreement Concepts Marine fire service is often sourced as part of VIKING’s multi-annual service contract for maritime operators, the VIKING Shipowner Agreement (SOA), and is also offered to the oil and gas industry as part of our Offshore Service Agreement (OSA). Foam analysis is a natural, integral part of both of these agreement concepts.

VIKING Signs Global Firefighting Foam Agreement With Dr. Sthamer
VIKING Signs Global Firefighting Foam Agreement With Dr. Sthamer

VIKING Lifesaving Equipment reaches a global partnership agreement with a renowned foam manufacturer, putting marine fire safety at the center of its one-stop-shop strategy for maritime and offshore safety. VIKING, the foremost marine safety specialist, acquired Drew Marine’s Fire Safety Rescue division in 2019 and absorbed the operation into its marine fire service (MFS) business, consolidated under a management and competency center based in Rotterdam. The new agreement covers distribution by VIKING of the marine-approved foam concentrates offered under the Dr. Sthamer brand. High Expansion Inside Air Foam Systems Established in Hamburg in 1886, the independent manufacturer supplies concentrate on meeting IMO1312 requirements for Deck Foam Systems and IMO670 for High Expansion Inside Air Foam Systems for Engine Rooms and Machinery spaces. Its products also include next-generation high stability 1% IAF Fluorine Free Foams. Agreement Renewal “This agreement renews and builds on the successes of an arrangement between Dr. Sthamer and Drew Marine FSR,” says VIKING’s Global MFS Service Director William Gielen. “Dr. Sthamer’s reputation for quality is unsurpassed in the marine industry, while its R&D lead and environmentally responsible foams keep it well ahead of the pack.” “VIKING has built its reputation on the quality of its life rafts, immersion suits, and other safety equipment, and customers have the same expectations for MFS.” “We are taking the Dr. Sthamer relationship to a new level, supported by a global service organization and sizeable foam inventories at strategic locations. We are also investing in our Odense foam analysis laboratory, so that existing customers have the VIKING assurance that their marine fire safety is safe with us.”   Foam Supplies & Warranty Initially focusing on foam supplies for existing vessels, including foam tank cleaning, disposal and refilling, inspection and sampling, VIKING’s upgraded commitment includes delivering Dr. Sthamer foam stocks from stocks held in Fujairah, Houston, Esbjerg, Rotterdam, and Singapore. Foams are being offered under a five-year warranty, subject to verification of agreed storage conditions. Technical Training & Sampling Service Dr. Sthamer provides technical training for VIKING MFS ambassadors, who offers full product and service support Dr. Sthamer is providing technical training for VIKING MFS ambassadors, who will offer full product and service support on the characteristics, performance, condition, and storage requirements for branded marine foams. In turn, VIKING is offering a pre-paid, express sampling service for foams. The agreement also foresees condition data being fed back to Dr. Sthamer to support R&D. Core Of Development Plans “We are truly excited to pick up our relationship with William and his highly motivated team under new management,” says Jan Knappert, International Sales Director, Dr. Sthamer. “The VIKING MFS business has a clarity of purpose, is investing in its people and in strategically-located inventories; Dr. Sthamer is always delighted when partners make our products core to their development plans.” Foam-Based Marine Firefighting Systems An estimated 50% of vessels in service have foam-based marine firefighting systems. Part of the plan envisages MFS services including foam supply being included for the first time as part of VIKING’s all-embracing Ship Owner Agreements, which see VIKING taking full responsibility for shipboard safety equipment supply and upkeep fleet-wide for a defined period – usually five years. Saving Time & Money “Helping owners make the right decision on foam selection and giving them the technical support to maintain products in service will ultimately protect lives at sea,” comments Belarmino Dubois, VIKING Global Service Manager for Drydocking and Foam. “Including these capabilities in a broader shipowner agreement covering life rafts, lifeboats, PPE, and more will save our clients time and money.”

VIKING Signs A Global Firefighting Foam Agreement With Dr Sthamer
VIKING Signs A Global Firefighting Foam Agreement With Dr Sthamer

VIKING, the marine safety specialist, acquired Drew Marine’s Fire Safety Rescue division in 2019 and absorbed the operation into its marine fire service (MFS) business, consolidated under a management and competency center based in Rotterdam. The new agreement covers distribution by VIKING of the marine-approved foam concentrates offered under the Dr. Sthamer brand. Established in Hamburg in 1886, the independent manufacturer supplies concentrates meeting IMO1312 requirements for Deck Foam Systems and IMO670 for high expansion inside air foam systems for engine rooms and machinery spaces. Its products also include next generation high stability 1% IAF fluorine free foams. Marine fire safety “This agreement renews and builds on the successes of an arrangement between Dr. Sthamer and Drew Marine FSR,” says VIKING’s Global MFS Service Director William Gielen. “Dr. Sthamer’s reputation for quality is unsurpassed in the marine industry, while its R&D lead and environmentally responsible foams keeps it well ahead of the pack.” VIKING has built its reputation on the quality of its life rafts, immersion suits and other safety equipment" “VIKING has built its reputation on the quality of its life rafts, immersion suits and other safety equipment, and customers have the same expectations for MFS. We are taking the Dr. Sthamer relationship to a new level, supported by a global service organization and sizeable foam inventories at strategic locations. We are also investing in our Odense foam analysis laboratory, so that existing customers have the VIKING assurance that their marine fire safety is safe with us.”   Providing technical training Initially focusing on foam supplies for existing vessels, including foam tank cleaning, disposal and refilling, inspection and sampling, VIKING’s upgraded commitment includes delivering Dr. Sthamer foam stocks from stocks held in Fujairah, Houston, Esbjerg, Rotterdam and Singapore. Foams are being offered under a five-year warranty, subject to verification of agreed storage conditions. Dr. Sthamer is providing technical training for VIKING MFS ‘ambassadors’, who will offer full product and service support on the characteristics, performance, condition and storage requirements for branded marine foams. In turn, VIKING is offering a pre-paid, express sampling service for foams. The agreement also foresees condition data being fed back to Dr. Sthamer to support R&D. Safety equipment supply An estimated 50% of vessels in service have foam-based marine firefighting systems “We are truly excited to pick up our relationship with William and his highly motivated team under new management,” says Jan Knappert, International Sales Director, Dr. Sthamer. “The VIKING MFS business has clarity of purpose, is investing in its people and in strategically-located inventories; Dr. Sthamer is always delighted when partners make our products core to their development plans.” An estimated 50% of vessels in service have foam-based marine firefighting systems. Part of the plan envisages MFS services including foam supply being included for the first time as part of VIKING’s all-embracing Ship Owner Agreements, which see VIKING taking full responsibility for shipboard safety equipment supply and upkeep fleet-wide for a defined period – usually five years. “Helping owners make the right decision on foam selection and giving them the technical support to maintain products in service will ultimately protect lives at sea,” comments Belarmino Dubois, VIKING Global Service Manager for Drydocking and Foam. “Including these capabilities in a broader shipowner agreement covering liferafts, lifeboats, PPE and more will save our clients time and money.”

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