Boots, Fire Department, Helmets Hoods

PPE Introductions Reflect Continual Innovation

Issue 7 and Volume 17.

Alan M. Petrillo

Personal protective equipment (PPE) innovations constantly evolve, and various PPE manufacturers recently unveiled their latest lines of turnout coats and pants, boots, helmets, gloves, and ancillary equipment.

Head Protection

Honeywell Safety Products introduced its EV1 helmet, which Tony Wyman, Honeywell vice president of marketing, says “is the only structural firefighting traditional-style helmet with built-in eye protection that weighs less than 15 ounces.” He adds, “The internal EZ Touch Face and Eye Protection with Safety Lock has a one-touch deployment feature.”

The EV1 helmet features a low-profile design; is adjustable to any face shape; and has a UV-resistant matte shell finish, polyurethane impact liner, six-point suspension system with adjustable hook and loop headband system, glove leather brow pad, removable ear covers, and gold-alloy-plated traditional eagle front holder. Wyman expects the EV1 helmet to be available to fire departments this fall.

(1) Honeywell Safety Products recently introduced two new boots, the Pro Series 5007 leather structural firefighting boot (shown) and the Ranger Air Model 1000 lightweight rubber firefighting boot.
(1) Honeywell Safety Products recently introduced
two new boots, the Pro Series 5007 leather structural firefighting boot (shown) and the Ranger Air Model 1000 lightweight rubber firefighting boot.
(Photo courtesy of Honeywell Safety Products.)

Foot Protection

Honeywell also recently introduced the next generation of its flagship leather structural firefighting boot line-the Pro 5007. The new model is a 14-inch-high pull-on with an all-leather vamp and Advance Kevlar®/Nomex® rip stop fabric shaft to protect against punctures and give thermal stability to the leg and foot.

The Pro 5007 has Honeywell’s Vibram® Fire and Ice lug sole; an FR rubber PowerToe and PowerHeel; a heel grip wall and thermoplastic heel counter; and an oblique steel toe, steel bottom plate, and ladder shank.

In addition, Honeywell also introduced its new Ranger Air Model 1000, a premium, lightweight rubber firefighting boot. Wyman says the Air Model 1000 is “the only rubber boot on the market using athletic spacer mesh material that’s combined with natural rubber and butyl rubber for complete chemical protection to certified standards.” The boot has a steel toe, steel bottom plate, and steel shank to protect against impact and puncture and is offered in both insulated and noninsulated models. Wyman points out its weight is six pounds, three ounces for a pair in size nine.

(2) Haix's line of boots includes the new Airpower R5, a six-inch slip-on- and-off station boot.
(2) Haix’s line of boots includes the new Airpower R5, a six-inch slip-on-
and-off station boot.
(Photo courtesy of Haix.)

Haix has also unveiled a full line of firefighting boots-the Fire Hero Extreme (11-inch-high waterproof leather pull-on), Fire Hunter Extreme (14-inch-high waterproof leather pull-on), Fire Flash Extreme (10-inch-high leather lace-up), Special Fighter Extreme (eight-inch-high leather USAR and EMS), Fire Hunter (11-inch-high waterproof leather), and Fire Hiker (nine-inch high water-resistant leather wildland).

Haix’s Airpower R5 is a six-inch-high slip-on-and-off station boot. Sandy Longarzo, Haix USA marketing manager, says the Airpower R5 is made of waterproof sun-reflective leather, built on an Airpower R sole with a custom arch support system. “All of our firefighting boots feature the sun-reflective leather and secure liners that won’t pull out or wrinkle up,” she says.

Black Diamond offers two leather and two rubber firefighting boots for structural and wildland firefighting. The leather structural boots are 14 inches high with the company’s FireTuff flame-retardant and waterproof leather upper, its Strobel lining construction with a Crosstech® membrane and Kevlar, a three-density removable polyurethane orthotic footbed, three-point heel lock, steel toe, and stainless steel puncture resistant plate.

Black Diamond’s leather lace-up wildland boot is 10 inches high with a Black Panther upper set on a Goodyear® welt with its removable Aerowick cushion support footbed.

The two Black Diamond rubber firefighting boots include 16-inch-high models with Kevlar/Nomex lining, Black Diamond OrthoLite footbed, and a 31-inch-high version hip boot.

(3) Lion introduced a new line of Janesville V-Force bunker coats and pants cut for ease of mobility and greater comfort.
(3) Lion introduced a new line of Janesville V-Force
bunker coats and pants cut for ease of mobility and
greater comfort.
(Photo courtesy of Lion.)

Turnout Gear

Lion has debuted a new line of Janesville V-Force turnout coats and pants that apply technology from military combat gear and professional sports to give its bunker gear a balance of comfort, mobility, and protection.

Karen Lehtonen, Lion’s director of products, says the V-Force coat is now more comfortable because it is cut much differently, with seams at the back instead of at the shoulder and sides. “This significantly reduces hem rise when you’re extending your arms and prevents self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) straps from pushing seams into your body and causing discomfort,” Lehtonen notes. “Fitted side panels in the coat also provide a more tailored fit and better mobility.”

The V-Force is also the first turnout model to incorporate Lion’s Glide liners and PBI® Max outer shells. The Glide liner system features a face cloth with 60 percent Kevlar filament that has low friction properties, allowing for added freedom of movement and less working stress, Lehtonen says. PBI Max incorporates 30 percent 600-dernier Kevlar filaments, triple that of other PBI outer shells, for increased tear resistance and greater tear strength.

(4) Globe Manufacturing reshaped its G-Xtreme turnout gear with a regular fit for the pants (instead of a relaxed shape) and a straight shape for the coat, designed for firefighters with a broader build. The illustration shows the amount of material trimmed in the redesign.
(4) Globe Manufacturing reshaped its G-Xtreme
turnout gear with a regular fit for the pants
(instead of a relaxed shape) and a straight shape
for the coat, designed for firefighters with a
broader build. The illustration shows the amount
of material trimmed in the redesign.
(Photo courtesy of Globe Manufacturing.)

According to Abby Lehman, Fire-Dex’s marketing coordinator, the redesigned FX-R turnout gear has less fabric, weighs less, and allows for a better range of motion. Fire-Dex’s OmniDex Cut has moved the turnout coat’s shoulder seams inward to allow the wearer to move with less restriction, she says, and also has changed the placement of the sleeve attachment, eliminating the need for a back pleat, which reduces the amount of fabric and coat’s weight.

The new design still includes a seamless collar but now adds a pleat in the shell fabric for a more secure fit while providing a seamless moisture barrier, Lehman notes. “The FX-R collar is National Fire Protection Association- (NFPA) compliant without a throat strap,” she says, “allowing for better interface with the SCBA face mask.”

Finally, Globe Manufacturing Inc. added new dimensions in the shape of its G-Xtreme gear to meet not only NFPA 1983, Standard on Life Safety Rope and Equipment for Emergency Services (2007 ed.), but also the soon-to-be-published 2012 edition, says Mark Mordecai, Globe’s director of business development.

That new dimension is a new regular shape for firefighters who are trimmer and need a more close-fitting-shaped garment. The regular fit pants have added length in the knee and seat but less fullness in the seat and thigh when compared with the original G-Xtreme turnout gear’s relaxed shape. The original tapered shape of the coat fit a more athletic shape, accommodating firefighters with a larger chest and shoulders without adding bulk around the middle, Mordecai notes. The new straight shape coat is designed for firefighters with a broader build or those who plan to wear a seat harness or other equipment around their waist under the jacket.

(5) Lion has debuted the Commander glove that features a combination liner, back-of-the-hand enhanced protection, and a single-piece seamless back for better comfort and wear.
(5) Lion has debuted the Commander glove that
features a combination liner, back-of-the-hand
enhanced protection, and a single-piece seamless
back for better comfort and wear.
(Photo courtesy of Lion.)

“Firefighters come in a remarkable range of shapes and sizes, and when your gear really fits your body, it’s not just more comfortable but enables the firefighter to perform the job to the maximum ability,” Mordecai says. “Now we have both relaxed- and regular-fit turnout pants and tapered- and straight-fit turnout coats in a wide range of sizes and lengths.”

Hand Protection

In other types of PPE, Lion introduced the Commander glove line that has a combination liner with enhanced protection for the back of the hand. The Commander’s two middle fingers are sewn separately to the palm for a single-piece seamless back for increased comfort and better wear. Its shell is 100 percent side-split cowhide that breathes in wet conditions and stays soft and pliable when air dried. Crosstech Direct Grip inserts in the glove provide liquid penetration resistance, thermal protection, and fingertip control.

FireDex’s FDX G1 structural glove is made with a five-layer back, rollover seamless fingertips for tactility, precurved ergonomically designed fingers, full grain leather, and a Kovenex-R thermal liner.

(6) Fire-Dex debuted its G1 structural glove, constructed with rollover seamless fingertips, precurved fingers, and a five-layer back.
(6) Fire-Dex debuted its G1 structural glove,
constructed with rollover seamless fingertips,
precurved fingers, and a five-layer back.
(Photo courtesy of Fire-Dex.)

Lehman says the G1 glove “has not only remarkable dexterity but also a 60+ thermal protective performance (TPP) rating and conductive heat transfer protection.”

TPP is a key test that is used to determine the ability of firefighting clothing and equipment to limit the transfer of heat through the clothing.

ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based freelance writer and is a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.

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