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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
North America’s largest fire event, FDIC International, brings together more than 34,000 fire industry professionals this month (April 8-13) at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. First constructed in 1928, FDIC continues today in its original tradition of providing a forum for networking about the most vexing issues and sharing the most promising solutions to concerns that face the fire service. FDIC provides opportunities to learn new techniques, train alongside world-class leaders, and advance discussions among the most influential firefighters in the industry. FDIC allows practitioners and those who support the industry an opportunity to discuss frankly the latest developments in equipment and support and collaborate on how those new advancements can be best used. 27 Interactive H.O.T Sessions FDIC offers many opportunities for learning and training, starting with its 27 interactive Hands-on Training (H.O.T) sessions“FDIC is steadfastly dedicated to its fundamental principle of providing a non-ideological, non-affiliated and openly inclusive environment for sharing and collaborating among all members interested in the mission of the fire service,” says Chief Bobby Halton, Editorial Director, Clarion Fire Rescue Group, and Educational Director, FDIC International. “Whether their interests lie in operations, medical or fire, in administration, in the production and distribution of equipment, or the advancement of codes and standards, all opinions and worldviews are accepted and debated with the utmost respect and dignity.” FDIC offers many opportunities for learning and training, starting with its 27 interactive Hands-on Training (H.O.T) sessions, 78 pre-conference workshops and more than 200 conference sessions. FDIC’s immersive learning experience extends to the exhibit hall floor and outdoor demonstration area where attendees can see and try the latest products, equipment, services and technology from over 800 exhibiting companies. “FDIC is more important than ever to the fire service industry because it is now and will always be of the firefighters, for the firefighters, and about the firefighters,” says Halton. Events Co-Located With FDIC New this year, iWomen is co-locating their event at FDIC, which includes 14 timely classroom sessions spread over two days, as well as networking events geared at sharing challenges and insights in a supportive environment. Also, the Institution of Fire Engineers United States of America Branch is co-locating their AGM annual meeting and educational update at FDIC. And the National Fire Heritage Center has partnered with FDIC to promote the center, conduct its annual meeting and introduce the annual inductees into the Hall of Legends. FDIC is more important than ever to the fire service industry because it is now and will always be of the firefighters, for the firefighters, and about the firefighters FDIC’s new MATCH! Program is a customized meeting experience that connects attending decision makers, who have an immediacy to purchase, with exhibitors whose products or services match their sourcing needs and interests. These VIP attendees can make the most efficient use of their time by accessing innovative matchmaking technology and a personal program manager to assist them with meeting scheduling and recommendations. Exhibitors At The Event FDIC’s Mobile App is a visitor’s guide to searching the exhibitor list, navigating the exhibit hall and seeing a full schedule of sessions and events. FDIC’s new parking partner, Gate Ten Events and Parking, allows visitors to reserve their parking space ahead of time. Large exhibitors headlining the Exhibit Hall include Pierce; Rev Fire Group, E-ONE, KME, Ferrara and REV Ambulance; 3M Scott Fire and Safety; and HME Ahrens-Fox. Other large exhibitors include Honeywell First Responder Products, Drager, Globe by MSA, Rosenbauer and Spartan Motors. Here are some of the timely themes covered at this year’s conference: Current updates on the development and implementation of science-based strategy and tactics Information and practices on mental health and wellness Leading advances in firefighting technology and managing an integration of technology into the decision-making process during operations Review of recent sentinel events in the fire service from actual participants Analysis of accident investigation from members of NIOSH and the CDC Updates on current research into toxicity in the environment and equipment Current thoughts on decontamination procedures presented by researchers and practitioners The value of belongingness as a tool for health and wellness, suicide prevention, a detailed examination of the sociotechnical interface and firefighting’s role going forward The complex political and operational dilemmas faced in the wildland urban interface Recruitment and retention for the volunteer fire service Networking Opportunities Abound The event takes over the city, and there are chances to network with peers everywhere they turnAt FDIC, networking starts the moment attendees arrive in town. The event takes over the city, and there are chances to network with peers everywhere they turn. Formal networking events are also organized, including the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, Courage and Valor 5K Fun Run, Comedy vs. Cancer, IFD Open House and Pumper Pull, Stop Drop Rock ‘n’ Roll and more. “We want individuals to walk away feeling inspired by new ideas, tools or techniques they’ve learned in sessions or new products or services they’ve sourced on the show floor that ultimately keep them and their communities safe,” says Halton.
The Middle East’s US$1.9 billion fire safety systems and equipment market will see solid growth over the next six years, with new government regulations around life safety and fire protection along with large-scale infrastructure investment among the key market drivers. A November 2018 report by analysts 6Wresearch estimates the Middle East market for firefighting systems, fire detection & alarm systems, and emergency exit & lighting, will be worth US$3 billion by 2024, growing at a compound annual growth rate of nearly eight percent. The report stated the regional market witnessed a slight decline during 2014-2016, however from 2017 demand has picked up, aided by recovering oil prices and government economic diversification initiatives aimed at reviving the construction sector. Passive fire-rated products Fire & Rescue is the second largest of seven show sections at the annual three-day event Additionally, revised fire and life safety codes, such as those rolled out by the UAE Civil Defence in 2016, has helped growth in passive fire-rated products in new buildings and infrastructure, while adding further impetus to the retrofitting segment, where newer systems in line with current regulations are replacing older systems. 6Wresearch’s report was published ahead of the Intersec exhibition, the world’s leading trade fair for security, safety, and fire protection, taking place from 20-22 January 2019 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Fire & Rescue exhibitors Fire & Rescue is the second largest of seven show sections at the annual three-day event, where more than 1,300 exhibitors from 59 countries are set to take part in the show’s 21st edition early next year. More than 350 of those will be in the Fire & Rescue section, including the biggest names in the global fire and life safety business such as UAE-based powerhouses NAFFCO and Concorde Corodex Group, Honeywell from the USA, Japanese-headquartered Hochiki, Drager from Germany, and Turkish fire truck manufacturer, Volkan. Future fire safety trends All those involved in the construction process are placing greater importance of meeting, and exceeding, the standards set out" Eaton Corporation is another headline exhibitor in the Fire & Rescue section and is one of many companies at Intersec 2019 positive about the current and future fire safety trends in the regional market. Frank Ackland, Eaton’s Middle East Managing Director said the regulations set out by the UAE Civil Defence for example, offer a much higher standard of regulation than has ever been seen before: “Eaton provides emergency lighting and fire detection systems for buildings and we’ve noted an increase in the levels of regulation that are being adhered to – not only to the set standard but also above in many cases." "All those involved in the construction process are placing greater importance of meeting, and exceeding, the standards set out. That doesn’t mean there isn’t more work to be done, and this is where we see a significant investment in retrofitting also taking place in the UAE, in order to make older buildings safer and in line with current regulations.” Fire and emergency lighting Eaton will showcase a wide range of products from its fire and emergency lighting divisions at Intersec 2019, including its adaptive evacuation exit luminaires which provide commercial buildings with the potential to redirect occupants to safety by adjusting the directions displayed according to the threat. Our uninterrupted power systems (UPS), provide vital peace of mind to buildings such as hospitals and military bases" Ackland said all Eaton’s solutions are designed with safety at the core, adding, “This is not limited to our life safety division products, and we’ve have noticed there’s a much greater emphasis placed on how power solutions can keep a building safe and mitigate risks caused by power fault or failure." "Our uninterrupted power systems (UPS), for example, provide vital peace of mind to buildings, specifically those where critical power is a necessity such as in hospitals and military bases. They also to ensure the continual safety of data and information that can be lost to public cyberspace within a split second of a power failure.” Emergency mobile solutions Concorde Corodex Group is another regular Intersec exhibitor and will showcase in 2019 its UAE-made emergency mobile solutions, such as fire trucks, ambulances, special vehicles, and hydraulic platforms, along with its static fire equipment, including pumps, cabinet extinguishers and fixed suppression equipment. Starting out as a two-man show with big ideas and a lot of hard work in 1974, the company now has two factories in the UAE with 1,500 people and is widely regarded as one of the world’s most trusted exporters of life safety and fire protection solutions. Intersec Future Security Summit will be raising key issues on artificial intelligence, security integration, emergency preparedness and response, data protection, IoT and much more Life safety and fire protection Mohanned Awad, Concorde Corodex’s Regional Director for Business Development, said much of this is thanks to its UAE roots, “In the UAE, the natural status of our customers and partners is to be early adopters,” said Awad. “Our partners always request to think ahead of the curve; they don’t want to just solve the problem but to be able to prevent the problem and be two or three steps ahead of the problem." "We’re very fortunate to have such demanding requirements locally, because we’ve been able to take that know-how and expand it through other markets that we serve, such as Asia, MENA and the CIS. It’s forced us to think out of the box and put considerable investment in research and development capabilities and to bring on board many key people who have experience.” Concorde Corodex Group, and its brand Bristol, plan to showcase at Intersec 2019 something that’s never been seen before in the UAE Awad said Concorde Corodex Group, and its brand Bristol, plan to showcase at Intersec 2019 something that’s never been seen before in the UAE – if it arrives on time: “It’s a new technology that may have been seen in other places but not in the UAE, and will take up a big footprint outside the fairgrounds,” he said. “It will definitely be an eyebrow raiser.” Commercial and hospitality sectors Intersec 2019 is organised by Messe Frankfurt Middle East and returns with key government supporters such as Dubai Police, Dubai Civil Defence, Dubai Police Academy, Dubai Municipality, and the Security Industry Regulatory Agency (SIRA). Andreas Rex, Intersec’s show director, said the commercial and hospitality sectors are other key verticals driving demand for fire safety systems and equipment, adding, “The big growth, particularly in the UAE will come over the next two years as delivery of the Dubai Expo 2020 looms, while throughout the Gulf region, large scale infrastructure investment will steer the market toward solid growth." Intersec, situated at the heart of it all in Dubai, presents the ideal opportunity to access these markets" "Intersec, situated at the heart of it all in Dubai, presents the ideal opportunity to access these markets and beyond, where thousands of engineers, system integrators, contractors, industry professionals and decision makers will seek solutions for their various projects.” Fire Safety and Protection Conference Intersec’s other show sections comprise Commercial Security, Safety & Health, Homeland Security & Policing, Physical & Perimeter Security, Information Security, and Smart Home & Building Automation. The annual showpiece returns next year with a revamped conference line-up, including a three-day Intersec Future Security Summit raising key issues on artificial intelligence, security integration, emergency preparedness and response, data protection, IoT and much more. Fire Safety and Protection Conference will involve authorities, fire chiefs, engineers, fire fighters and emergency response professionals Returning is the SIRA (Security Industry Regulatory Agency) Forum, with the latest updates in security law and industry regulations in Dubai, while a one-day Fire Safety and Protection Conference will involve authorities, fire chiefs, engineers, fire fighters and emergency response professionals. Popular event features Returning popular features in 2019 include the Drone Zone, an Outdoor Demo Area, a Smart Home Pavilion and the Safety Design in Buildings Pavilion. More than 150 exhibitors will be participating for the first time, while Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, UK, and the USA comprise the 15 country pavilions. Intersec 2019 is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and supported by the Dubai Police, Dubai Police Academy, Dubai Civil Defence, SIRA, and the Dubai Municipality.
Standards are being set with fire and rescue services in the UK adopting escape hoods to protect trapped and injured people from toxic smoke during evacuation at fires. Latest figures show in the year 2017/2018 firefighters attended 717,890 incidents in the UK, with 213,464 being fires. Fire related fatalities totalled 401 and there were 5113 non-fatal fire related casualties requiring hospital treatment. The London Fire Brigade is the first in the UK to carry the PARAT 5550 to protect members of the public from toxic smoke at fires. The fire service will be rolling out approximately 600 fire escape hoods across 102 fire stations in London over the next few months. Fire Escape Hoods Assistant Commissioner Richard Mills from the London Fire Brigade said: “Smoke from fires is extremely toxic and can render people unconscious within a few breaths. These hoods filter out four of the most dangerous gases, including what we call the ‘toxic twins’ of carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide.” Fire escape hoods will provide firefighters with vital extra time to consider their priorities “Rather than having to carry out every rescue as fast as possible, fire escape hoods will provide firefighters with vital extra time to consider their priorities and plan the safest exit route. We’ve worked closely with the Fire Brigades Union to introduce these fire escape hoods as part of fire fighting kit.” Fire-Related Gases With standards being set in the London region, Dräger is committed to assisting fire brigades around the UK and Ireland with adoption of fire escape hoods. The PARAT 5550 from Dräger is a fire escape hood packaged in a flame-retardant holster that has been specially designed to be carried without restricting freedom of movement of the firefighter and ready to be used whenever it is needed. The fire escape hood offers people who are trapped in fires protection from toxic fire-related gases as well as particles and vapours for a minimum of 15 minutes.