New designs in structural firefighting turnout gear, fire resistant fabrics, new and improved self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) designs, and incorporation of thermal imaging systems into SCBA are some of the many product introductions made for firefighters’ personal protective equipment (PPE) at FDIC International 2016.
Globe Manufacturing Company debuted its ATHLETIX™ turnout gear that uses new material technology to enable an athletic design with stretch fabrics that allow a closer, body-contoured fit. Rob Freese, Globe’s senior vice president of marketing, says ,”These new materials and the athletic design provide a firefighter with an unprecedented range of motion, less bulk, more flexibility, and lighter weight.” Freese says the outer shell is made out of Kombat™ Stretch PBI®/Kevlar®, the thermal barrier is Nomex® Nano, the moisture barrier is Crosstech® Black, and the reflective trim is 3M Scotchlite Comfort Trim.
Features of the ATHLETIX jacket include a more streamlined design with vertical seaming to reduce oversized areas, stretch panels in the thermal barrier to give maximum range of motion and minimum restriction, a softer and less bulky collar that interfaces better with a hood and helmet to reduce head restriction, incorporation of a Yocco drag rescue device, elasticized side panels, and articulated elbows.
The ATHLETIX pants feature a lower rise and less bulky design with a banded inseam for a closer fit to the body, stretch panels in the thermal barrier that work with the stretch outer shell, elasticized sides and a one-hand adjustable belt closure, articulated knees, angled side pockets with grip tabs, and a liner access opening.
Ben Mauti, fire service segment manager for MSA, says MSA’s innovation concepts to its G1 SCBA include a fall alarm, a breathing rate monitor, firefighter ranging, and an integrated thermal imaging camera (TIC). “The TIC is on the top of the G1 control module and displays on the existing control screen,” Mauti points out. “It adds only four ounces and one inch to the module, displays in five color palettes, and is glove friendly.”
The firefighting ranging innovation shows any other firefighters in proximity, as well as their distance, direction, and elevation, Mauti says. The breathing rate monitor can be seen on the control screen display, and when breathing hits a preset rate, vibrates and illuminates a light in the heads-up display (HUD), he adds, while the fall alarm innovation uses the G1’s built-in accelerometer to detect a firefighter’s fall, when it would issue a chirp alarm and send a telemetry signal for assistance.
Honeywell Safety Products introduced a new Titan SCBA with completely new electronics, as well as redesigned shoulder straps and waist belt for a more ergonomic fit, according to Charlie Thompson, Honeywell’s SCBA sales manager. “We recut the shoulder straps so they fit a firefighter’s frame better, and the waist belt pivots in all directions to keep the SCBA’s weight on a firefighter’s hips, which cuts fatigue by 30 percent,” Thompson says.
Honeywell also introduced its new Nighthawk 5555 boot, which senior technical product manager Mark Winters says is an athletic boot that gives great mobility, and is made with an all-leather upper with a shafted design to keep it upright, a Crosstech Footwear fabric/Cambrelle lining, a Vibram Fire & Ice outsole, and an Ortholite Premium X40 insert.”
Scott Safety consultant Don Moore says Scott Safety introduced Scott Sight, a hands-free thermal imaging camera in its AV3000 HT facepiece that adds six ounces to the facepiece, displays in the mask’s HUD, “and gives added situational awareness for firefighters where they can adjust the display to configure to their line of sight.”
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Alysha Gray, fire PPE product manager for Lion, says new products introduced by Lion include the Lion Primus glove, a 3D leather firefighting glove made with a Kovenex thermal barrier lining and a Crosstech moisture barrier, with flexible padding across the back of the hand for added protection. Lion also debuted its MedPro EMS coat and pant, made from a Westex DH fire resistant and breathable outer shell with a Hydropel finish for water repellency, and a Crosstech moisture barrier.
Fire-Dex launched its new H41 Interceptor hood designed to keep potentially carcinogenic particulates and other harmful contaminants off of firefighters’ jaws, faces and necks. The hood is made from DuPont Nomex Nano-Flex material, a non-woven web technology made of submicron continuous fibers, which is sewn between two layers of PBI/Lenzing 6 ounce material.
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist 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.