Turnout/Bunker Gear - 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 

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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Rosenbauer's EMEREC Operations Management Systems Works As A Handy Tool For The Neuruppin Fire Department
Rosenbauer's EMEREC Operations Management Systems Works As A Handy Tool For The Neuruppin Fire Department

Accidents with hazardous materials, missing persons in the sprawling countryside, or clearly laid out situation plans during major incidents: the Neuruppin fire department relies on Rosenbauer's EMEREC operations management system for these and many other situations.Six fire stations spread over an area of more than 300 km2 with residential areas, industrial zones, and extensive countryside: this is the operational area of the Neuruppin fire department, which is located about an hour's drive northwest of Berlin in the German state of Brandenburg. Most of the more than 200 firefighters perform their duties voluntarily; only the main fire station in the center of the city also employs some full-time personnel.In accordance with the large operating range with the most diverse possible operational scenarios, the vehicle fleet is versatile: advance and command vehicles, fire fighting vehicles with and without equipment for technical operations, and logistics vehicles are distributed among the fire stations, as are some special vehicles, for example, for oil spill response. Digital Support But the Neuruppin fire department is not only well-equipped in terms of vehicles: the EMEREC operations management system from Rosenbauer also plays an important role. It is used for the EMEREC Alarm Monitor (EAM for short) in the main fire station, where the arriving crews can see all the important information about the current operation at a glance. And the vehicles that most frequently go out on operations are also equipped with EMEREC: the command vehicle, the advance unit vehicle, and the auxiliary group firefighting vehicle.The type of operations are as varied as the different zones of the operational area itself: they range from traffic accidents on the motorway to kitchen and apartment fires in residential areas, search missions for missing persons in the wide-open countryside to challenging firefighting operations in commercial and industrial zones. Vehicle Rescue Cards EMEREC provides valuable support in virtually all operational situations EMEREC provides valuable support in virtually all operational situations. The Neuruppin fire department often uses vehicle rescue cards, which are available quickly and easily in digital form via EMEREC, in the event of traffic accidents, for example. In just a few seconds, you can access the design details of a wide variety of vehicle types during an operation. Where are the airbags fitted? How can I quickly disconnect the battery? Where can I use hydraulic rescue equipment? These and many other questions can be answered quickly and reliably thanks to this function of EMEREC.EMEREC also provided very valuable services during a critical operation involving a hazardous goods truck in an accident: thanks to the lightning-fast Hommel dangerous goods database query and access to the ERI cards (Emergency Response Intervention Cards), the operational leadership was able to make the right decisions to safely manage the operation. Detailed picture of the situation Rosenbauer's digital operations management system has already provided vital support in other challenging missions, such as the search for missing persons. Thanks to the plans stored in the application, the operational leader was able to rely on the support of EMEREC in terms of situation management and display of the current sitemap. In particular, the familiarization with different vehicles and a large number of crews deployed during operations across a large area provides assistance and facilitates orientation.Accordingly, the Neuruppin fire department concludes: "EMEREC is a tool that is very helpful, from the alarm to gathering information during operations through to preparing the operation report. We especially like the range of functions." That is why the use of Rosenbauer's operations management system is to be further expanded in the future: from now on, EMEREC will not only be used in the main fire station and in the vehicles mentioned, but also in the fire stations of the individual districts. The modification of the alarm interface for alerting the necessary resources in the local fire departments is already being implemented.

Rosenbauer Brandschutz Deutschland Relocates To New Address
Rosenbauer Brandschutz Deutschland Relocates To New Address

  In order to create more office space and to make warehousing and logistics more efficient, Rosenbauer Brandschutz Deutschland moved two streets down to Krugbäckerstrasse from its old location in Mogendorf at the end of 2020. With a floor space of almost 2,000m2, the new office space is not only significantly larger, but also brighter and more modern. The warehouse has also been incorporated into the new location. This means that construction sites can be supplied with material more efficiently in the future. new office building In addition, the material flow has been realigned, and the layout of the two halls redesigned. "We practically planned all of the logistics from scratch, and took the opportunity to carry out structural optimization and adjust the production processes where possible," says Andreas Steindl, Head of Central Technics.With the move to the new office building and the redesign of the logistics, another step into the future has been taken. Thanks to the huge commitment of the employees, all of this could be achieved in record time.Rosenbauer Brandschutz Deutschland GmbH can now be found at the following address:Krugbäckerstrasse 356424 MogendorfGermanyPhone: +49 2623-9642-0

Rosenbauer Österreich Opens New Customer Center In Asten
Rosenbauer Österreich Opens New Customer Center In Asten

  Rosenbauer is continuing to expand its operations in Upper Austria. The international fire equipment provider, which has its corporate headquarters in Leonding, Austria, is setting up a new point of contact for its customers in Asten. The Rosenbauer Österreich Customer Center will offer fire services for everything they need for operations. There, they will be able to have all their technology, vehicles, pumps, and equipment inspected and serviced, procure spare parts and buy a new kit. The location, which is already home to a logistics center, is the fourth in Austria after Leonding 1 and 2, the two production facilities for vehicles and extinguishing systems, and Linz-Pichling, where fire helmets are made. Its opening underlines the company's commitment to the region. More space for servicing Fire trucks will be maintained and repaired in a purpose-built workshop with twelve service bays. That is five more than Leonding, where servicing will cease once the Asten site is up and running and the space that this frees up will be used for production. The servicing infrastructure at the new location includes state-of-the-art test equipment for firefighting pumps and foam proportioning systems, a cable winch test rig, a washing station, and a preservation unit applying for underbody protection. Vehicle service bays are fitted with efficient exhaust extraction systems The vehicle service bays are fitted with efficient exhaust extraction systems, while the extinguishing agent test stations have a dedicated tank for collecting foam concentrate. The preservation unit features an automated air purification system with high-performance filters. An assembly area with metal machining equipment and a welding station is also being set up in the workshop so that minor modifications and refurbishment, modernization, and general overhaul work can be carried out on fire trucks. "We want to keep on growing in our Customer Service business unit and broaden our range," says Andreas Zeller, Chief Sales Officer at Rosenbauer. "We see a lot of potential in the refurbishment in particular and are setting our sights on more than just domestic fire services – more than that, we want Asten to be a base for an international operation." New one-stop-shop Alongside the servicing infrastructure, Rosenbauer will be offering fire services a full range of spare parts and equipment at its customer center in Asten. The new shop will have much more floor space than was previously available in Leonding and will offer all key products for fire services, particularly own-brand personal protective equipment and technical safety gear. This includes HEROS firefighting helmets, FIRE FLEX protective suit, Rosenbauer nozzles, and the NAUTILUS range of submersible pumps. Experienced expert consultants will be on hand to help fire services choose the right equipment, and the key products will also be available online in the near future. "We want to be easily accessible to fire services, and close links with our customers are very important to us," says Markus Wieshofer, Managing Director of Rosenbauer Österreich. "They can visit us at our new shop in Asten, order equipment conveniently online, or put in requests through our mobile equipment shop. Then, we'll take a bus full of products directly to the fire house and provide an on-site consulting service."The Rosenbauer Österreich Customer Center will be open to fire services starting in April. The shop is due to open on April 12, followed by the service department a month later on May 10. Thanks to its convenient location near the Asten exit, the new Rosenbauer customer center is easily accessible via the West Autobahn freeway.

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