Helmets - 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

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INTERSCHUTZ Postponed Again to June 2022 Due to Pandemic
INTERSCHUTZ Postponed Again to June 2022 Due to Pandemic

The dates for INTERSCHUTZ have been changed, with the event now taking place from June 20 to June 25, 2022. The decision to reschedule the world's renowned trade fair for the fire, rescue, civil protection and safety/security verticals was taken by Deutsche Messe, after a process of thorough deliberation and intensive discussion with key market players. INTERSCHUTZ In a context that has affected numerous other trade fairs and events taking place all over the world, the move was driven by the latest developments in the global status of the COVID 19 pandemic. Flagship trade fairs like INTERSCHUTZ have a long-range planning horizon and require a lead time of several months" "Flagship trade fairs like INTERSCHUTZ have a long-range planning horizon and require a lead time of several months. In addition, the industries that participate at INTERSCHUTZ, either as exhibitors or visitors, are among the people most heavily involved in dealing with the current pandemic across the globe," stated Dr. Andreas Gruchow, Member of the Deutsche Messe Managing Board. International trade event He adds, "INTERSCHUTZ takes place every five years. The community of people involved in fire and rescue services as well as civil protection has been eagerly awaiting the next edition of the event. Against this background, the decision to reschedule was a difficult one. But a series of intensive discussions with our partners and exhibitors as well as representatives of key visitor target groups made clear to us that this move was unavoidable.” Gruchow continues stating, “A staging of the event in the summer of 2022 has been welcomed by all stakeholders. This is the only way we can offer everyone the necessary planning security for their trade fair appearance. A flagship fair like this one thrives on a large number of international visitors and, in particular, face-to-face encounters. Based on the current international travel restrictions, our clients would not be able to adequately prepare for such a major, globally significant trade fair." Hybrid event The pandemic has made us all aware of the importance of the fire department, rescue services and civil protection" "The auspices for INTERSCHUTZ have been excellent for a long time," said Martin Folkerts, Global Director of INTERSCHUTZ at Deutsche Messe, adding "We had already signed up a record number of exhibitors for the originally planned edition of the event in June 2020. We are confident our exhibitors will now join us in organizing INTERSCHUTZ 2022, which will be staged for the first time as a hybrid event.” Martin further stated, “The pandemic has made us all aware of the importance of the fire department, rescue services and civil protection. In addition, we expect significant increases in investment in these sectors all over the world, which will present the ideal conditions for our marketplace. More than any other event, INTERSCHUTZ thrives on personal contact and direct networking. It is the platform for the worldwide community." Firefighting technology manufacturers welcome postponement "The manufacturers of firefighting technology within the VDMA expressly welcome the postponement of INTERSCHUTZ to 2022. For us, INTERSCHUTZ is the most important international trade fair for the industry. And our expectation is that it will seamlessly follow on from the great success of 2015. We are certain that the conditions will be in place in 2022,” said Dr. Bernd Scherer, Executive management member of the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) and Managing Director VDMA Fire Fighting Equipment, commenting on the new date of INTERSCHUTZ in June 2022. Scherer adds, “Our highly innovative industry will have numerous exciting new products in its program by then. And the German and international visitors will make INTERSCHUTZ 2022 the big live event of the year as we know it," INTERSCHUTZ postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic Exhibitors also appreciate the direct contact with those who ultimately use their products and services" Dirk Aschenbrenner, President of the German Fire Protection Association (VFDB), also welcomes the decision to postpone INTERSCHUTZ until 2022. He said, "Our emergency services are and will continue to be extremely busy in the coming months. As we know, INTERSCHUTZ is always a welcome opportunity for thousands of them to obtain information, exchange experiences and network. None of this would be possible at present in this tense situation.” Dirk adds, “However, without the many visitors, including those from the non-material world, INTERSCHUTZ would not be what it has always been. Exhibitors also appreciate the direct contact with those who ultimately use their products and services. The industry needs this exchange between suppliers and users." Ensuring safety and security of People Dieter Siegel, the Chief Executive Officer of Rosenbauer International AG, also welcomed the new date set for INTERSCHUTZ to take place in the summer of 2022. Dieter stated, "Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis still has a firm grip on all of us and does not yet allow us to hold trade fairs and major events safely at the present time. However, the safety and health of people is of course our top priority as a system provider in firefighting and disaster protection.” Dieter adds, “We are, therefore, in favor of postponing INTERSCHUTZ until 2022, because we all want nothing more than an INTERSCHUTZ as we know it, an unforgettable trade show experience and a meeting place for fire departments from all over the world, without compromising on the safety of our customers, visitors and guests." The next INTERSCHUTZ international trade event is scheduled to take place from June 20 to June 25, 2022, at the Hannover Exhibition Grounds, in Messegelände, Hannover, Germany.

Rosenbauer Launches RDS Connected Fleet, The New Vehicle Management System For Pre- And Post-Operational Briefings
Rosenbauer Launches RDS Connected Fleet, The New Vehicle Management System For Pre- And Post-Operational Briefings

What is the status of the operational fleet? Which vehicles are ready for operation? What condition are they in? Where are the vehicles now? What and how much operating and extinguishing agents (water, foam, etc.) do they have on board? RDS Connected Fleet RDS Connected Fleet provides this and all other information required to prepare for operations. Connected Fleet is the further development of the proven service for fire vehicle management system with new hardware, user interface and functions. It not only provides real-time information on the ‘state of health’ of an operational fleet, but also logs all vehicle-related data including error messages for post-operational briefings. Fire departments, therefore, have a complete overview of their vehicle fleet at all times and can manage it digitally with Connected Fleet in an easy, quick and efficient way. Full operational documentation of the fleet Connected Fleet produces complete operational documentation for each vehicle Connected Fleet produces complete operational documentation for each vehicle. As soon as it leaves the station and until it returns after an operation, the data is recorded and evaluated. In addition to driving parameters such as speeds, brake actuations, engine speeds, distances traveled and live positions, etc., this also includes information such as when the warning devices were switched on, when the vehicle arrived at the operational site, when it left the installation position or the defined area of operation (geo-fencing), when firefighting work began and how much water or foam and what pump pressure was used to extinguish the fire, to name a few. Automated service planning and management Connected Fleet monitors the technical condition and operational readiness of the vehicle at the same time. Any malfunctions, faults or defects that occur are recorded in real time, described in detail and pro-actively reported to the vehicle operator. Service planning and management is also largely automated with Connected Fleet providing information on upcoming service dates, for example, the next maintenance date for the built-in pump or portable pump, creating lists of defects and documenting maintenance work in the process. The various operating manuals will be stored in Connected Fleet. High-performance telematics modules New, high-performance telematics modules form the interface in the vehicle that docks onto the CAN-Bus. They serve as Connected Hubs for GPS and internet and open up the possibility of setting up a secure WLAN and improving remote services (e.g., remote diagnosis). The Connected Hubs are already integrated in new Rosenbauer vehicles, and there will be a retrofit package for older models. A separate module is available for third-party vehicles and vehicles without CAN-Bus, as well as for vehicles that are to be retrofitted with a GPS connection (e.g., to display the live position). Intuitive user interface and software Connected Fleet can now be used with all common web browsers and mobile operating systems The software and the user interface (UI) were also revised. Connected Fleet can now be used with all common web browsers (Chrome, Safari and Firefox) and mobile operating systems (iOS, Android). It is consistently intuitive to use. The operating routines have been simplified, the interactive design (User Experience/UX) optimized for smartphones and the symbol language of the new Rosenbauer control system RFC LCS adopted. This ensures a uniform operating environment from vehicle control to fleet management. The software can also be used without hardware, for example, to keep a logbook. Enhanced security in data traffic The latest encryption techniques ensure the greatest possible security in data traffic. In addition, the data is hosted on the cloud computing platform Microsoft Azure and, therefore, in Europe. This also ensures a higher speed. In addition, GPS and error messages are now sent with priority and are always available in real time. Numerous fire departments have participated in the development of Connected Fleet, tested the range of functions and, above all, contributed their feedback to the optimization of the user interface. Integrated digital solutions into the fleet First and foremost the Vienna professional fire service, which has been using the Rosenbauer vehicle management system for many years now to manage a fleet of some 80 vehicles. Live operation of Connected Fleet will start on December 15, 2020. All development partners will switch to the new system this year and all other existing customers from January 2021 onwards free of charge. Further digital solutions are in the works and will be available in the course of the coming year to continually simplify the daily work of fire departments.

Rosenbauer Launches A New Forest Firefighting Vehicle
Rosenbauer Launches A New Forest Firefighting Vehicle

Rosenbauer presents a new forest firefighting vehicle. It meets both category 3 of EN 1846-2 for all-terrain firefighting vehicles and specific requirements for the protection of the vehicle crew, as defined for example in the French standard NFS 61-517 or NFS 61-518. This includes a thermal self-protection system and a driver's cab equipped with a rollover cell. With its compact dimensions, low center of gravity, and single tires, the all-wheel-drive vehicle is ideally suited for use in rough terrain. The special firefighting equipment on board makes the extinguishing agents extremely cost-effective and efficient. Plus, the crew can fight the fire using a turret mounted on the bumper and controlled from the cab without having to exit the vehicle. Robust, Lightweight, Superstructure The new forest firefighting vehicle is built on a 2-axle chassis from Renault with a total permissible weight of 14 tons. The all-wheel-drive can be switched and the 6-cylinder diesel engine (Euro-6) has an output of 206 kW (280 hp). With a length of 6,900 mm and a wheelbase of 3,350 mm, the vehicle is extremely compact and maneuverable. The large under axle clearance and a tipping angle of 25° increase off-road capability. Flexible And High-Strength Body The firefighting body consists of two parts, a tank module made of polypropylene and a pump room module behind it made of a self-supporting aluminum sheet/profile construction. The flexible and also high-strength body provides optimum load distribution and lateral stability for operation under off-road conditions – the consistent use of lightweight materials ensures a high loading capacity. Water Tank And Additional Equipment Equipment can be housed in three spacious compartments with dust-tight roller shutter closures The vehicle water tank has a capacity of 3,500 l (500 l of which is for the self-protection systems); the separate foam tank holds 100 l. The additional equipment required for forest firefighting operations (fire swatters, firefighting backpacks, backpack sprayers, and more) is housed in three spacious equipment compartments with dust-tight roller shutter closures. Two are located on the sides of the vehicle; another is installed across the entire width in the rear. The built-in pump, foam proportioning system, and rapid intervention hose reel are also accessible through this compartment. Firefighting Equipment For Forest Firefighting The firefighting equipment of the new forest firefighting vehicle consists of the combined NH25 normal/high-pressure pump and the direct injection foam proportioning system RFC Admix Variomatic. The pump has a capacity of up to 2,500 l/min at 10 bar (FPN 10-2000) and up to 400 l/min at 40 bar (FPH 40-250). In high-pressure operation, the supply of extinguishing water on board can be used very sparingly because the fine atomization causes more water to evaporate than under normal pressure, thus achieving a high extinguishing effect. In addition, the kinetic energy of the firefighting water allows it to be driven deep into the forest floor, which means that even hot spots can be extinguished efficiently. RFC Admix Variomatic The RFC Admix Variomatic also produces wetting agents, light, medium, and heavy foam, and the proportioning ratio is infinitely variable between 0.1% and 6%. With the smallest proportioning quantity, the surface tension of the firefighting water is reduced to such an extent that it can penetrate deep into the flammable material and an excellent extinguishing effect can be achieved with minimal water consumption. Firefighting Foam The foam compound is injected directly into the pressure outlets and thus the water pump remains free The suffocating effect of firefighting foam is used at higher proportioning ratios. The foam compound is injected directly into the pressure outlets and thus the water pump remains free of foam compound and does not have to be flushed after each use. In addition, water and other mains water or foam can be discharged simultaneously at one outlet or several injection points can be operated with different proportioning ratios. Crew Safety A system of spray nozzles protects both the crew cab and the substructure of the vehicle. The water for this comes from a secured tank segment and is pumped by a separate, electrically driven pump. If the vehicle is trapped by fire during a forest fire, this system allows the crew to drive over a burning fire border and reach safety. Driver Warning System The Rosenbauer DWD Driver Warning System enhances off-road driving safety. This measures the vehicle inclination as well as the axial lateral and longitudinal forces and alerts the driver with visual and auditory signals if the vehicle is at risk of tipping over. A rollover cell made of high-strength steel is also integrated into the cab structure to protect the crew in all situations. High-Performance LEDs The vehicle is also equipped with a light package consisting of high-performance LEDs and a front cable winch with a tractive force of 5,400 kg. An optional fresh air system which creates an overpressure in the cabin to prevent the penetration of fire gases can also be installed. We also have our own protective devices for the battery and electrical equipment. Manufacturing Details The vehicle is being built at Rosenbauer's Linares Forest Fire Competence Center in Spain. It is built to meet, in particular, the technical and tactical requirements of French, Spanish, and Portuguese fire departments. It combines everything that is necessary for efficient and safe forest firefighting.

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