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

Latest Rosenbauer International AG news

Rosenbauer Cage Operating Panel Simulator Rounds Off The "Virtual Classroom" For Turntable Ladder Training
Rosenbauer Cage Operating Panel Simulator Rounds Off The "Virtual Classroom" For Turntable Ladder Training

Everything as in the original: the two joysticks to the left and right, the LCD screen in the center, surrounded by the function keys, blocking interruption switch, emergency stop switch, everything is in the right place. The new cage operating panel simulator can be operated like a real panel of a Rosenbauer turntable ladder, and offers all the advantages of a virtual training device. The joysticks provide the haptics and the VR glasses the visual impressions (view of the directional and screen displays of the console, view of the test object and the operating height). Operating the turntable ladder can now be completely practiced in the virtual rescue cage with the real control panel, as has been the case with the generic joysticks in the Rosenbauer Aerial Ladder Tactic Simulator (ALTS). Various Training Scenarios Safe, reproducible, and without the need to use the real equipment, which would make it unavailable for real world operations. The perfect addition to the training program of any fire department. A wide variety of buildings and facades combined with a range of operational scenarios are available for training with the new cage operating panel simulator. Injured individuals can be rescued from windows or entire groups of people from balconies, who draw the operator's attention by waving or shouting. The different scenarios are individually stored by the trainer and dynamically integrated into the rescue process The virtual rescue can take place under difficult conditions, such as lighter or thicker smoke as well as different weather conditions. The difficulty of the exercise scenario can also be increased at any time, in real time. The different scenarios are individually stored by the trainer and dynamically integrated into the rescue process. standard turntable ladder The operating principle of the basket control simulator is exactly the same as that of the Rosenbauer L32A-XS standard turntable ladder. Depending on the deflection of the joysticks, either the ladder set (retracting/extending, turning, tilting/raising) or the cage boom (tilting/raising) can be moved. All functions and safety features stored in the original control are also available and can be called up on the virtual cage operating panel. For example, terrain compensation can be activated or deactivated at the push of a button, or the rungs aligned, and automated driving commands such as traversing a recorded path (target memory system) or lowering the basket in front of the cab (basket entry function) can be called up, floodlights can be switched on and off, etc. Turntable Ladder Simulator The data glasses also show the same view as the main screen and provide the trainee with all the important information about the current status of the ladder set and the load on the basket: selected load limit, possible further loading and horizontal reach, elevation angle of the ladder, possible further extension length, and the currently activated functions. The new cage control simulator is the ideal addition to the Aerial Ladder Tactic Simulator The new cage control simulator is the ideal addition to the Aerial Ladder Tactic Simulator, which can be used to train for not only rescues from height and extinguishing operations, but also for setting up and jacking the Rosenbauer turntable ladder. Setting up is primarily about determining the correct distance and positioning to the training object. Vehicles, trees, embankments, and other obstacles on the ground must be taken into account, as well as the amount of free space above the aerial rescue device. Training in the VR Cage Among other things, high-voltage equipment that can severely limit the field of operation and may jeopardize the success of the deployment are also included. All these obstacles are programed into the Rosenbauer turntable ladder simulator, with which they can be safely practiced. Different jacking processes can also be trained on, for example in narrow streets where the jacking system can only be extended on one side, or on uneven or inclined surfaces. All you need for training on the Rosenbauer turntable simulators is a medium-sized training room (5x5 m VR cage) and a power supply. The two systems are compactly incorporated in aluminum crates, and can be set up and ready for operation with just a few simple steps. They essentially consist of two high-performance laptops, VR glasses and virtual joysticks (ALTS), or the original console (cage operating simulator). They are available both for purchase and for rent and, of course, they are also used for turntable ladder training at the Rosenbauer Center of Excellence for aerial rescue devices in Karlsruhe, which can be booked at any time.

Rosenbauer Announces Florian Henkel 01 GW-U-01 Environmental Protection Equipment Truck
Rosenbauer Announces Florian Henkel 01 GW-U-01 Environmental Protection Equipment Truck

It's the baby of the fleet of the Henkel Plant Fire Department: the new environmental protection equipment truck with radio call name Florian Henkel 01 GW-U-01. In terms of type, this is a rescue vehicle in accordance with DIN 14555-3: 2016-12, with extended crew capacity executed in Advanced Technology (AT), the Rosenbauer premium quality. The vehicle is realized on a 2-axle chassis from MAN with a 4,500 mm wheelbase and a permissible total weight of 18 tons. Space beneath the superstructure This configuration primarily offers a lot of space beneath the superstructure, which, as the photos show, has allowed utilization of space down to the last nook and cranny. Four spacious equipment compartments are loaded with extensive standard and special equipment on either side of the vehicle. Two roll-on-roll-off containers, which hold heavier equipment such as hazardous goods pumps, are situated at the rear. These can be lowered to ground level using a tail lift with a load capacity of 1,500 kg. Another electrical lowering device for hazardous goods hoses (8 x 5 m, DN50) in liquid-tight pipe housings is mounted on the roof. A third lowering device enables the removal of the SCBA equipment stored in equipment compartment 4. Special pumps on board In the fire station, the vehicle is hooked up to a Rettbox®-Air, which is released automatically when it is started up Hazardous goods pumps (diaphragm pumps) are free from the risk of contamination by the conveyed material and are, therefore, also suitable for suctioning or pumping with and around hazardous media such as sludges, alkalis, solvents or fuels. The pumps in the GW-U are powered by a rotary air compressor installed in the vehicle, which is designed for an operating capacity of 3,000 l/min at 8 bar. The compressed air is either delivered directly from the vehicle or via a quick-action reel with a length of 60 m and a special end coupling to which three compressed air consumers can be directly connected. Sufficient energy The Henkel Plant Fire Department in Düsseldorf operates a number of other vehicles from the Rosenbauer Group The compressor is driven by one of the vehicle's two power takeoffs. The second drives a built-in generator (Rosenbauer EPS XS) with an output of 8 kW, which supplies electrical tools, lighting devices and other electrical consumers required at the operation site. In the fire station, the vehicle is hooked up to a Rettbox®-Air, which is released automatically when it is started up. This ensures that the vehicle battery is charged before leaving the station, and that the vehicle's brake system has sufficient compressed air (10 bar feed pressure) whenever an alert is given. Henkel Plant Fire Department In addition to the new GW-U, the Henkel Plant Fire Department in Düsseldorf operates a number of other vehicles from the Rosenbauer Group, including two universal fire engines on 6x4 chassis, an HLF 20 and an aerial rescue platform with a 42 m rescue height, to name but the most important. But the plant fire brigade doesn't only serve Henkel AG & Co. KgaA (around 5,800 employees at the location). It is also responsible for numerous neighboring companies across the approximately 1.4 km2 factory site in the Düsseldorf district of Holthausen, which comprises almost 400 buildings and provides employment for around 10,000 people. Around 90 employees have been individually trained for fire service operations. Two shifts are on duty 24 hours a day, with 40 firefighters each, including seven fire safety inspectors and firefighting engineers. In addition, there is an electrical workshop with ten employees, who are involved in operations on a daily basis. If major events occur either on or off the company premises, the plant fire department works closely with the professional fire brigades of Düsseldorf and the surrounding area. Henkel in Düsseldorf It's impossible not to notice Henkel when in Düsseldorf: anyone approaching the district of Holthausen on the motorway from the south will see the logo shining from afar. The Düsseldorf site is not only the group's headquarters, but also a large production location of the globally active group. Detergents and cleaning agents, products for beauty care, and adhesives are manufactured at the plant, among other things. The best-known brands are Persil, Pril, Weißer Riese, Perwoll, Fewa and Dixan; Schwarzkopf, Syoss, Fa, Bac, Schauma, Taft, Gliss Kur and Diadermine; Loctite, Bonderite, Technomelt, Teroson, Pritt and Pattex. Henkel is one of the world's consumer goods industry manufacturers, with more than 52,000 employees in 78 countries around the world.

Berlin Fire Department To Develop Hybrid Electric Firefighting And Rescue Vehicle
Berlin Fire Department To Develop Hybrid Electric Firefighting And Rescue Vehicle

Berlin Fire Department's "eLHF" project, an abbreviation of "electric firefighting and rescue vehicle" in German, is a scheme backed by the Berlin Program for Sustainable Development (BENE). The main aim of this program, which is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, is to procure and pilot-test an innovative firefighting and rescue vehicle equipped with an electric drive to get it from A to B and run its extinguishing technology. Austrian specialist Rosenbauer, the world's manufacturer of systems for firefighting and disaster protection, is playing a vital role in the "eLHF" project. The Concept Fire Truck (CFT) study devised and produced by Rosenbauer already features technical solutions that may well resolve the issues firefighters will face in the future. Ergonomically and ecologically optimized vehicle According to Rosenbauer, the electric CFT is an ergonomically and ecologically optimized vehicle that adapts to a wide range of requirements and is intuitive to operate. Connectivity, globalization and knowledge cultures - key trends incorporated into the CFT technology - are said to reflect the importance of communication and digitalization in the society. The growing significance of networking between humans and machines is also expected to be crucial in ensuring firefighting missions are successful. "Our innovation partnership with Berlin Fire Department represents an important milestone as we work toward the series production of our Concept Fire Truck," says Dr. Dieter Siegel, CEO of Rosenbauer International.

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