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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 

Airport Firefighting & Emergency Rescue – A Day In The Life Of A Firefighter
Airport Firefighting & Emergency Rescue – A Day In The Life Of A Firefighter

  Airport firefighters operate very differently to their municipal fire and rescue colleagues For the thousands of firefighters covering over 80 major commercial airports throughout Europe, life is very different from that experienced by their municipal fire and rescue service colleagues. The differences range from the type of regime they experience to the types of emergency they are called upon to deal with on a daily basis. Richard Cranham, Business Development Manager at Bristol Uniforms Ltd, explains more. Airports with scheduled passenger services range from the largest international airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick, Paris, Amsterdam Schiphol and Frankfurt, to some of the smallest, which include those serving smaller communities in Scandinavia and the Highlands & Islands Airports group in Scotland with 10 locations spread across some of the most inaccessible parts of the country. BAA (formerly The British Airports Authority) is the largest airport operator in the UK with 7 locations and employing over 450 firefighters at their sites at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. An airport firefighter's typical day Unlike their municipal counterparts, airport firefighters are required to cover all types of emergencies within the airport boundaries with many of the incidents unrelated to aircraft accidents or fires. Major aircraft accidents are very rare thanks to strict safety regulations and major improvements in aircraft design and build.   Airport firefighters must cover all emergencies within airport boundaries - including incidents unrelated to aircraft accidents or fires In many locations the fire services work closely with the ambulance and other emergency services dealing with all types of accidents including traffic incidents, vehicle fires, and fire alarms across the sites as well as being placed on standby whenever a pilot alerts traffic control to any type of malfunction which could present a safety hazard on landing. The most frequent incidents affecting jet aircraft involve overheating of undercarriages, wheels, tyres and brakes as well as engine problems, which although uncommon, nevertheless require putting into action major emergency standby routines. Station Officer at Bristol International Airport, Rich Lynn, who has 48 firefighters on station explained that his team is required to cover all emergencies on site including those involving buildings, vehicles and aircraft-related incidents. "We provide emergency cover for all 11 buildings on the airport site as well as dealing with aircraft-related emergencies. Although we have very few aircraft fires the main potential areas for fire are overheating sub-assemblies, wheels and brakes and any ruptures in hydraulic lines which work at high pressure and could easily cause a fire in contact with hot metal. Carbon fibre braking systems and fans on wheels on modern aircraft have greatly reduced the fire hazard." A plane coming in to land at Schiphol airport, Amsterdam   Chief Fire Officer at Schiphol Airport, Michel Wendel, explained that his firefighters are called upon to deal not only with aviation related incidents, but many others in and around the Schiphol area which are more closely related to normal fire duty callouts. On average there are in the region of 50 aviation related incidents annually with several hundred other callouts for various fire and other related hazards during the year around the large Schiphol site. Although the airport only has one terminal building, this is split into three large departure halls serving the 6 runways which range in length from over 2km to 3.8km. The most recent runway to be built was completed in 2003 and there are already plans to add a seventh in the near future. Schiphol is the world's lowest major airport being 3 metres below sea level. Schiphol has a good air traffic accident record. The last major fire was in October 2005 and was non-aviation related. A fire broke out at the airport's detention centre, killing 11 people and injuring 15. The complex was holding 350 people at the time of the incident. The last aviation accident occurred over 12 years ago when a Saab 340 operated by KLM Cityhopper returned to Schiphol because the crew mistakenly believed that the engine suffered from low oil pressure because of a faulty warning light. On final approach, at a height of 90 feet, the plane stalled and hit the ground. Of the twenty-four people on board, three were killed including the captain. Nine others were seriously injured.   Fires caused by burning aviation fuel require special skills - training is a regular part of the airport firefighter's working life Airport firefighter training Even though the call to action to fight fires may come infrequently, the special characteristics of hot fires caused by burning aviation fuel need special skills. Training is a regular and frequent part of the firefighter's working life. At Schiphol, training is carried out on a daily basis. There are 125 full time firefighters on station who all work shifts of 3 teams over 24 hours. The size of the airport complex is such that the firefighters operate out of 3 fire stations - Rijk, Sloten and Vijfhuizen - which are located around the site.   A Manchester airport firefighter training in the cab of a plane   Michel Wendel gave details saying, "Firefighter training is carried out at the main station, Sloten, on a daily basis. Firefighters are on rotational duty at Sloten and their training is undertaken when they are on main station duty. Normally training sessions last about 4 hours. A range of training is carried out including simulated fire fighting on a Boeing 747 test rig with a computer-controlled gas fire." Gerard Montgomery, Senior Airport Fire Officer at Gatwick, has 80 firefighters on location including himself and a deputy. His team is responsible for dealing with all site emergencies and shares daytime callouts with the ambulance service. With responding to all fire alarms and traffic accidents at Gatwick his crew handle around 2,500 callouts annually. On training Gerard explained, "We carry out training on a weekly basis on an LPG Boeing 747 aircraft simulator. This would involve a number of fire scenarios and also provides training for breathing apparatus, hose management and ladder work. We are also acquiring a fire behaviour simulator which will provide carbonaceous fire scenarios. The new unit was installed in the summer of 2006." Firefighter clothing: emphasis on lighter weight, wearer comfort Most, if not all, airports use a selection procedure for purchasing firefighter Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which routinely involves trialling samples of kit from several manufacturers. The alternatives are inspected and supplied to firefighters to carry out wearer trials. Selection is based on a number of criteria including wearer comfort, durability, price, sizing and availability of stock. A number of airport fire teams are being, or have been, re-equipped over the past 2-3 years giving them the opportunity to take advantage of the new lighter weight firefighter clothing being introduced to the market which provide greater wearer comfort and reduce heat stress associated with prolonged periods of wear. There is also growing interest in adopting managed care services as a means of providing regular inspection, washing and repair. Richard Cranham - Business Development Manager, Bristol Uniforms Ltd

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Vimpex Partners With LHD Group Offering Better Services And Protection To UK's Fire Fighting Industry
Vimpex Partners With LHD Group Offering Better Services And Protection To UK's Fire Fighting Industry

An exciting new strategic partnership between LHD Group and Vimpex is announced, bringing together one of Europe's leading PPE personal protective apparel manufacturers and one of UK's leading specialist supplier of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) & Rescue Equipment to form a new powerful alliance that will deliver the highest levels of quality, service and protection to the UK's fire fighting services. Head-To-Toe protective apparel solutions Vimpex Managing Director James Jones says, "LHD's enviable brand reputation for high quality PPE and product expertise across the UK, combined with Vimpex's established infrastructure capabilities, plus our expertise in sales, service and support, will bring new standards in product performance, delivery and support to the UK market." James continues, "This partnership agreement is a real step forward for Vimpex as it will complete our "head-to-toe" PPE solution for the UK's emergency service teams across the public and private sector." LHD Group Chief Operating Officer Daniel von Chamier says, "This strategic alliance between our two companies is a result of our enhanced commitment to the UK market, building on recent successes to further develop a robust UK infrastructure in support of our high quality, market-leading personal protective apparel to ensure the health, safety and performance of the UK's fire fighting communities." state-Of-The-Art materials Spearheading the product offering will be LHD's innovative Kinetic Structural Firefighting Suit and Particulate Blocking Flash Hood, evidencing a critical element of quality and performance differentiation to challenge competitive markets. Weight-saving design, functional tailoring and state-of-the-art materials, deliver a new level of protection and ergonomics in fire-fighting protective clothing.

Addressing The Latest In Fire Safety And Disaster Prevention In Taiwan And APAC At Fire & Safety, Secutech 2020
Addressing The Latest In Fire Safety And Disaster Prevention In Taiwan And APAC At Fire & Safety, Secutech 2020

Fire & Safety, concurrently held with Secutech Taiwan April 2020, will have international and local manufacturers showcasing products and solutions for best practices in fire safety for various verticals as well as effective disaster prevention and mitigation technologies. Countries from the APAC region is expected to see an increase in fire safety demands as increase in infrastructure developments requires both in pass and active fire safety equipment. Government regulation also plays a major role in the increase demands as strict laws and regulations will require many buildings to implement certain standards in fire safety technologies. Fire safety and disaster management technologies The smart factory sector will include instrument testing equipment, personal protective equipment and more The global value of disaster and emergency management is predicted to see an increase from USD 107 billion in 2019 to USD 148.5 billion by 2024 with a CAGR of 6.8 percent. The increase will be due to unpredictable natural disasters from climate change as well as potential man-made incidents that could fuel the events. APAC region will be amongst the fastest growing market with governments demand to implement top of the line technologies for disaster managements. When Fire & Safety begins in April, it will have no shortage of products for enhancing fire safety. The smart factory sector will include instrument testing equipment, personal protective equipment, safety and management of plant / park intelligent perimeter protection and plant disaster prevention (earthquake / fire explosion). Visitors will expect to see companies including 3M, Draeger, DuPont, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, LHD, Moxa, Rotarex and UTC. Flood protection equipment Medical institutions will also be a highlight for fire safety protection. Visitors will see a range of products such as waterway sprinkler, fire alarm system, evacuation equipment, ventilation and smoke exhaust, fireproofing material, smoke prevention elevator, building door and window installation sensing system, intelligent bedside care system and personnel safety positioning. Exhibitors will consist of Ching Gu Electronics, HEX Safety, Horing, Red Bridge, RIHSI, SAFE, Sheng Yang and Wizmart. Secutech International will have several sections within the fair for showcasing products and solutions for safe and smart cities Lastly, a number of disaster prevention and mitigation equipment will be on display, including earthquake early warning system, flood protection equipment, disaster relief drone, fire rescue vehicle and fire extinguishing equipment. Onsite there will also be an earthquake simulation zone where visitors can see live demonstration of technologies being utilized for earthquake situations. Showcasing Technologies for a Safe and Smart City Secutech International will have several sections within the fair for showcasing products and solutions for safe and smart cities. The show will consists of Smart Building, Smart Factory, Safe City, Mobility, Fire Safety & Disaster Prevention and Information Security sections. The business matching programs will return to offer a unique and effective one-on-one service to introduce exhibitors to VIP buyers. In 2019, Secutech successfully arranged 319 business matching sessions, connecting exhibitors with key distributors, systems integrators, property developers and contractors in the APAC region.

AFAC18 powered by INTERSCHUTZ addressed emergency management and public safety
AFAC18 powered by INTERSCHUTZ addressed emergency management and public safety

The lead theme of AFAC18, ‘Changing lives in a changing world’, proved to be well chosen, with nearly 3,000 visitors from 25 countries attending AFAC18 powered by INTERSCHUTZ in early September. A keen audience of professionals seized the opportunity to discuss the current challenges facing emergency management and public safety, as well as to discover the latest products in this area. Deutsche Messe, working in partnership with the AFAC, has brought its extensive expertise in tradeshow management to the event. The AFAC thus also serves as an international offshoot of the global trade fair, INTERSCHUTZ staged in Hannover, Germany. AFAC18 Powered by INTERSCHUTZ A total of 170 companies used the opportunity to showcase their products and services to interested professionals Australia's renowned exhibition and conference for emergency management and public safety returned to Western Australia's capital city, Perth, for the first time in six years. A total of 170 companies used the opportunity to showcase their products and services to interested professionals. Several of the 44 exhibiting companies from outside the host nation were from Germany or Austria. For the first time ever, there was a German Pavilion at the AFAC, sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and organised by the German Fire Prevention Association (vfdb). The companies that took part in the pavilion commented favorably on the joint display and reported numerous promising business talks. Participating companies were Alro Engineering, askö, the GFPA (German Fire Protection Association), Haix, Jakob Eschbach, protectismundi, Luitpold Schott, VTI Ventil Technik, the Wagner Group and Zapp Zimmermann. The German companies present with their own stands were Rosenbauer, Bauer Kompressoren, Dräger Safety, ESKA, the LHD Group and Mercedes Benz. Explosion-Proof Robots And Robot Technology AFAC18 powered by INTERSCHUTZ was positively received by the professional visitors The Perth event also featured a high-caliber conference program organized by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Research Forum. For the first time the AFAC Conference was staged together with the Australian Disaster Resilience Conference. In the parallel exhibition, participating companies not only showcased their latest solutions in emergency management, but also offered live demonstrations. Highlights included simulated accidents and emergency incidents as well as the use of robot technology – for example, explosion-proof robots for firefighting applications. AFAC18 powered by INTERSCHUTZ was positively received by the professional visitors. At the close of the event as many as 84 percent said they would recommend it to others. In fact, this response was even higher among conference participants, as 97 percent stated that they would recommend it to their colleagues. The exhibitors were also satisfied: 88 percent rated the whole event as ‘very good’. One factor that may have influenced the positive response of the exhibitors was the high proportion of decision-makers (70 percent among the visiting public). The next AFAC – AFAC19 powered by INTERSCHUTZ – will take place from 27 to 30 August 2019 in Melbourne.

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