Emergency medical services (EMS) and medical response personnel have specialized needs for personal protective equipment (PPE), especially in the area of protection against liquids and bloodborne pathogens.
In consideration of the special hazards faced by EMS responders, PPE manufacturers have designed a variety of EMS and medical response PPE garments to fit responders’ needs.
Alysha Gray, product marketing director for fire PPE at Lion, says Lion makes two versions of EMS/medical turnout gear: MedPro™ high-performance EMS rescue wear and TR51™. She notes that the MedPro gear is compliant with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1999, Standard on Protective Clothing and Ensembles for Emergency Medical Operations, while TR51 is compliant with two NFPA standards: NFPA 1999 and NFPA 1951, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Technical Rescue Incidents.
1 Lion makes MedPro™ EMS rescue wear with a Milliken Westex® DH fire-resistant outer shell and HydroPel Premier finish and a Gore® CROSSTECH® EMS moisture barrier that protects against blood, bodily fluids, and water. (Photos 1-2 courtesy of Lion.)
2 Lion also makes TR51 dual-compliant gear that is available in three outer shell fabrics with Gore CROSSTECH SR moisture barrier.
“MedPro uses a high-performance Milliken Westex® DH fire-resistant outer shell with a HydroPel Premier finish for comfortable, durable protection against flash fires,” Gray points out, “and has a Gore® CROSSTECH® EMS moisture barrier that protects against blood, bodily fluids, and water while remaining breathable. The gear is custom fit in two-inch increments for the chest and waist, the coat has a bi-swing back and underarm bellows for greater mobility, and the pant has a banded crotch and leg zippers to make it easier to don and doff over boots.”
Lion also makes the TR51 dual-compliant gear, Gray says, that can be constructed with a Safety Components Sigma™, a DuPont™ Nomex®, or a TenCate Millenia™ Light outer shell. “TR51 uses a CROSSTECH SR moisture barrier, has a bi-swing back, bellows underarm to help prevent hem rise when you reach up, and a banded crotch seam so there are no intersecting seams. It also is custom-sized for a good fit and to help with ergonomics and is available with our optional PCA-reinforced knees with LITE-N-DRI padding.”
Todd Herring, director of marketing for Fire-Dex®, says his company makes two models of function-specific gear for EMS work: Para-Dex™ EMS Gear, which is compliant with NFPA 1999, and USAR Gear, compliant with NFPA 1999 and NFPA 1951. “Para-Dex EMS gear offers a comfortable fit with a waterproof, breathable, and bloodborne-pathogen-resistant construction to protect from line-of-duty hazards,” Herring points out. “The outer shell is six-ounce Nomex, available in yellow, navy, royal, or tan, and comes with Scotchlite™ reflective material. This gear is lined with CROSSTECH EMS fabric, which provides great breathability and heat stress relief while maintaining liquid penetration resistance from blood, bodily fluids, and water.”
3 Fire-Dex makes Para-Dex™ EMS gear, which is compliant with NFPA 1999 and NFPA 1951. (Photos 3-4 courtesy of Fire-Dex.)
4 Fire-Dex’s USAR gear uses TECGEN51 for the outer shell and CROSSTECH EMS fabric as a moisture barrier to protect against penetration by blood, bodily fluids, and water.
Herring says Fire-Dex’s USAR gear provides lightweight, breathable protection for technical rescue, EMS, and other nonfire incident calls where durability and bloodborne pathogen protection are needed. “Our USAR gear uses TECGEN51 for the outer shell, which allows great flexibility and breathability, and we also offer Nomex as an outer shell as well,” he says. “Both USAR and Para-Dex gear have the same Fire-Dex ergonomic features, as well as 15-inch zippered legs, full bellows pockets, reinforced cuffs and knees, and an easy-on elastic waist.”
Deana Stankowski, senior product marketing manager for Honeywell First Responder Products, says that Honeywell will be introducing a new multiresponse gear for EMS and USAR use by the end of the year. For EMS, the gear will include “double-layer and triple-layer garments that are designed to protect the user at incidents that involve EMS, rescue and recovery, and liquid splash,” Stankowski says. “Multiresponse gear will have more flexibility of movement, with pleats behind the knees for an easier bend and also in the arms and the back for greater range of arm movement. We expect to have one body design of coat and pant for all three types of garment.”
5 Honeywell First Responder Products makes MED-TECH EM2 medical response gear with a Nomex® outer shell and CROSSTECH EMS moisture barrier. (Photos 5-6 courtesy of Honeywell First Responder Products.)
6 Honeywell’s Morning Pride® dual-compliant gear has a Millenia Light (FR) outer shell and a CROSSTECH SR moisture barrier.
Currently, Honeywell makes the MED-TECH EM2 gear that is compliant with NFPA 1999. Its overall design is an athletic cut of greater comfort, mobility, and reduced weight, Stankowski observes. “The gear protects against viral penetration and has liquid-tight integrity and strong tear resistance,” she says. “The moisture barrier is CROSSTECH EMS, and typically the outer shell is Nomex.”
Stankowski notes that Honeywell also makes Morning Pride® dual-compliant gear (compliant with NFPA 1999 and 1951) that is used for responses to EMS, rescues, extrications, confined space, and hazardous materials spills calls. She says the outer shell is a “highly breathable fire-resistant Millenia Light (FR), while the moisture barrier is CROSSTECH SR. There’s a built-in protective hood, a fleece vest liner, take-up straps, elbow cuff and knee reinforcements, and a drag rescue device.” Stankowski adds that Honeywell also makes a triple-compliant gear that is compliant with NFPA 1999, NFPA 1951, and NFPA 1992, Standard on Liquid Splash-Protective Ensembles and Clothing for Hazardous Materials.
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and 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.