Posted by mlutjen | General
Tuesday, May 24th, 2016 11:05 am


Often, there is confusion or misunderstanding regarding the different attributes and performance of PBI vs PBO products.  The following, as well as the attached PDF, is a brief  comparison of the two products.

-Courtesy of PBI Products
PBI and PBO are acronyms for the fiber chemistry each represents. PBI is the trade name for polybenzimidazole, a fiber made by PBI Performance Products, Inc. in Charlotte, NC. PBO, with the trade name of Zylon®, is a Polybenzobisoxazole fiber made by Toyobo in Osaka, Japan. PBI and PBO are used in some of the same applications due to their ability to resist degradation from high heat and flame. One such application is the outer shell fabric of firefighter turnout gear. Listed below are the most common outer shell performance characteristics and how PBI and PBO perform.

Flame and thermal protection are the blocks from which any outer shell is built. An important factor in the ability of a fiber to protect against high heat and flame is its stability when subjected to these exposures.

Thermal Protection – Fibers that are highly conductive will increase the rate at which heat is transferred into the composite and through to the wearer. The chart on the right illustrates the thermal conductivity values for various fibers, including stainless steel as a point of reference. Note that Zylon® transfers heat through the fiber more rapidly than stainless steel – a problem firefighters feel while fighting a fire versus engaging in non-firefighting activities.

Flame Protection – The ability of a fiber to protect against flame impingement is its resistance to melting, shrinking, and charring. The decomposition temperature is the temperature at which the fiber begins to break down. Fibers with higher decomposition temperatures create fabrics with better break open resistance to heat and flame. These higher decomposition temperatures help PBI and Zylon® provide superior break-open protection.

To view the entire sheet, CLICK HERE.

Posted by mlutjen | General
Friday, May 13th, 2016 9:05 am


On May 4th and 5th, 2016, The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) hosted the 28th annual National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium and Dinner in Washington D.C. Approximately 1500 leading fire service members and chiefs from across the US attended the symposium to meet with congressional leaders to address key issues in the fire service, including funding, occupational health and safety, and legislative issues. Members of FEMSA and FEMA were also on hand for the discussion.

Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vasick was the keynote speaker for the symposium. Vasick was presented with a custom, white American Heritage™ leather fire helmet courtesy of LION and Paul Conway Shields. Thanks to the LION Helmet Manufacturing Facility for providing the helmet and shield on a quick turnaround for the presentation.

LION’s John Granby, Mark Smith, Dennis Magill, Wayne Dora and Gary Garner were on hand with former Philadelphia Fire Chief, Henry Costo Wednesday night as LION, along with DuPont and Arson Investigators, hosted a fire service barbecue with over 250 attendees.

Additionally, on Thursday, Smith and Costo met with Ohio legislators and Granby met with Senior Appropriators and staff members for the House Committee for Domestic preparedness, and closed the events Friday by attending the Steering Committee Meeting.

For more information about CFSI, visit their website, www.cfsi.org.

For more information about LION’s role in these event’s contact John Granby at jgranby@lionprotects.com.

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Posted by mlutjen | General
Wednesday, May 4th, 2016 2:05 pm

2016 FDIC Highlights

We are very pleased with the success of LION’s 2016 FDIC show.  Here’s a brief breakdown of some of the highlights!

LION Booth

FDIC 2016 saw several new facets to the LION booth!  We had a new booth location, new products and a new way to present them.  The booth traffic was nonstop, and we were excited to have the opportunity to present our new product launches.  We were also thrilled to be adjacent to our partner, BullEx.  Thanks to all who attended.  Here’s a brief recap of what LION displayed in our booth.

  • MedPro™ EMS Garment - We previewed our new high-performance EMS garment in the booth.  MedPro is NFPA 1999 certified and available in navy or High-Vis yellow (yellow certified to meet ANSI 107 requirements).
  • LION Primus™ Structural Fire Glove – The preview of LION’s NEW 3D glove was met with an outstanding response.  This glove glove will be available in the Summer and our customers and dealers seemed very excited about it.
  • V-Force® Ultra Low-Rise Pant – LION’s feature turnout offering will now have an additional pant option.  The Ultra-low-rise pant will be yet another innovation from LION focused on customer comfort and mobility, and with such positive feedback from booth visitors at FDIC, we expect to commercialize these pants by mid-summer, pending certification..
  • 6oz PBI Max – This lighter weight version of the best outer shell fabric in the industry features the signature filament twill technology for a lightweight and flexible feel combined with exceptional strength and durability.
  • Augmented Reality – Innovation is not only limited to the development of LION products, but how we present them to the public.  We were excited to present our products with this emerging technology.
  • VersaPro™ - LION’s innovative utility garment available in two styles was on display.  VersaPro has had a successful launch in the PPE marketplace and we are confident that FDIC 2016 helped carry that momentum forward.
  • LION TotalCare® - Cancer in the fire service continues to be a critical topic of concern and LION’s TotalCare team was on hand to tell our customers why cleaner gear is safer gear.
  • LION Helmets -Customers were able to see firsthand the newest upgrades to LION’s helmet line, and even had a chance to enter to win a LION American Heritage leather helmet.
  • LION Footwear -The complete line of LION footwear was on display, allowing customers a glimpse at the key comfort and durability features.
  • LION CBRN -We were proud to showcase our multiple offerings of Chem-Bio garments including the ERS and MT94
  • LION StationWear™-Department identity is paramount.  And LION’s StationWear display showed our commitment to providing excellent uniform solutions to our customers.

Thanks to all who visited the LION booth!

the HEAT

Another successful year of the HEAT proved once again that the best way toshowcase V-Force with IsoDri is to put someone in V-Force with IsoDri. A format change didn’t slow the action, as groups of ten experienced firsthand the latest container props from BullEx. Occasional rain could not put a damper on the HEAT as participants blazed through the training course in head-to-toe LION PPE offerings.

A big thank you goes out to all the participants and spectators, and partners, particularly Majestic Fire Apparel for donating hoods for the participants to wear during their runs.

Thanks to all booth visitors, participants, and volunteers this year.  We look forward to seeing you again at FDIC in 2017!

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Posted by mlutjen | General
Tuesday, March 8th, 2016 9:03 am

LION Supports 25th Annual Seattle Stair Climb

Each year participants from all over the world participate in the Firefighter Stair Climb to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This year more than 1900 firefighters climbed the 1356 steps of the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle in full NFPA 1971 certified PPE, including SCBA. Some fearless individuals race for time, while others are on a mission to simply complete the 69 flight, 788 foot ascension to the observation deck that overlooks the city.  This year’s top
time was Ten Minutes and 50 Seconds.

LION is a proud sponsor of the stair climb, and this year, in addition to donating to the cause, our own Will Antunes participated as a gear inspector, charged with ensuring participants’ PPE was approved for the event. Thanks to Will for playing this role on behalf of LION, and congratulations and thanks to all the participants and donors!

For more on this exciting event, please visit their website HERE​ and check out a local news team’s take HERE​.

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Posted by mlutjen | General
Monday, February 15th, 2016 10:02 am

Caring for Your Moisture Barrier with Help from Manufacturer Warranties

by Bob Towe, W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc.

Since the adoption of NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, fire departments across the country have begun to incorporate the necessary cleaning and inspection of turnout gear into their standard operating procedures. This requires cleaning and inspection for each of the three components of your turnout gear — the outer shell, moisture barrier, and thermal liner. As a firefighter, you can clean and visually inspect the outer shell and thermal liner after each call. Specially trained professionals also perform advanced cleaning and inspection of these components at specified times during the gear’s life cycle.

Moisture barriers are unique in that they are sandwiched between the outer shell and thermal liner, and therefore, can only be inspected by detaching the liner system from the outer shell. In addition to the type of damage that affects the outer shell and thermal liner (e.g., rips, cuts, abrasion, and chemical exposure), the continuous weight/pressure from tools stored in pockets or the placement of SCBA frame can also compromise the moisture barrier. Therefore, all cleaning, inspection, and repairs to the moisture barrier must be done by specially trained personnel or verified independent service providers (ISP’s). Cleaning should be conducted at least on an annual basis, and the first advanced inspection should be performed no more than three years after the date of manufacture.

Moisture barrier manufacturers have provided various product warranties in an effort to support fire departments as they began to comply with NFPA 1851. As a result of its products’ exceptional field performance, W. L. Gore & Associates recently expanded its warranty program covering its line of moisture barriers and liner systems. These new warranties provide coverage for seven years for CROSSTECH® 3-layer moisture barrier, five years for CROSSTECH® black moisture barrier and GORE® PARALLON® liner system’s body-side layer, and four years for GORE® RT7100 moisture barrier. Not only does this new warranty program apply to new purchases, but it is retroactive for existing moisture barriers in the market from their original date of manufacture. Visit www.CROSSTECH.com/warranty to learn more.

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Posted by mlutjen | General
Friday, January 15th, 2016 12:01 pm

Why Fires Today Give First Responders Less Time

-Courtesy NBC

Ask any firefighter, and they will tell you that house fires today and house fires 30 years ago are a completely different animal.  Newer, synthetic furniture fabrics and building materials, coupled with changes in modern construction techniques change not only the time it takes for a fire to grow, but also the intensity of the fire.  This has caused changes in the tactics with which firefighters battle a blaze.  It also means that depending on response time, a fire in a modern home may be at a much different point in its life cycle when they arrive, as opposed to older construction.  Flashovers occur approximately five times sooner than they used to.

Recently, NBC News featured a report on The Today Show which explains in greater detail what has changed in the past 30 years, and also provides an up-close look at how quickly today’s fires can go from containable to uncontrollable.

View the full story here.

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Posted by rprindle | Fire and Rescue, News
Thursday, May 28th, 2015 3:05 pm

NVFC Launches Volunteer Recruitment Portal for Fire Departments to Combat Declining Volunteerism

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has launched the department portal component of its new Make Me a Firefighter volunteer recruitment campaign. Departments can now sign up at http://portal.nvfc.org to join the campaign and showcase their volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer firefighters make up 69 percent of the nation’s fire service, yet the number of volunteers has declined by about 12 percent since 1984. At the same time, call volume has nearly tripled. In addition, the average age of the volunteer fire service is increasing as departments are finding it difficult to reach millennials – those within the 18-34 age range.

To help departments counter these trends and increase the number of volunteers, the NVFC was awarded a SAFER grant from FEMA to conduct a nationwide recruitment campaign. The first component of the Make Me a Firefighter campaign consists of a department portal where volunteer and combination fire departments can register for the campaign and post their volunteer opportunities. Starting August 1, the NVFC will launch a public web site allowing potential volunteers to search for opportunities and connect with their local department. Department resources including customizable recruitment materials, training, and tools to help department reach target audiences will also be available this summer.

Learn more about the Make Me a Firefighter campaign and the department portal by watching this video, and share it with others facing recruitment challenges: https://youtu.be/vhfk6lEyNKw

Register with the recruitment campaign and post your opportunities now at http://portal.nvfc.org.

Posted by rprindle | Care and Usage, Fire and Rescue, PPE
Monday, May 18th, 2015 5:05 pm

Mitigate Turnout Gear from UV Over Exposure

By: DuPont, vendor partner of LION

Firefighter turnout gear is designed to provide firefighters with protection from thermal, physical and liquid borne biological hazards while minimizing heat stress. The minimum performance requirements are outlined in NFPA 1971, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural and Proximity Firefighting. In addition, NFPA 1851 outlines the selection, care and maintenance of the ensemble and recommends that all elements should be retired after 10 years from the date of manufacture. Any extraordinary wear and tear, prolonged exposure to weathering and heat, or mechanically repetitive impact can compromise gear physical properties and potentially reduce protective performance.

Sunlight is considered to be the most important element in weathering. Energy that is emitted by the Sun at the UV and near-UV region is much higher than visible or infrared light. UV light interacts with virtually all organic polymers to cause irreversible photo-oxidative damage and chemical structure breakdown, resulting in visual color change, loss of strength, and reduction in durability. Because the most common elements of turnout gear include fibers, dyes, films and coatings that are made of organic polymers, they are all subject to UV degradation depending on the nature of their polymer, fabric weight and thickness, color, and exposure strength and duration. According to a study conducted by Lion, it is found that fabric that is more enriched with Kevlar® fiber maintained their strength better than fabrics with very little Kevlar®. To ensure the protective gear maintains its performance for its lifespan manufacturers often intentionally design and make fabrics that have strength at least 2X to 3X higher than the minimum requirements stated in NFPA 1971 standard to compensate for normal light exposure and common wear and tear.

To prevent gear from being over-exposed to UV light, gear must be stored away from direct and indirect sunlight and fluorescent light when not in use. Gear should also be cleaned properly after a fire or when they are visibly soiled. They should then be dried and placed in area with good air ventilation but with no direct and indirect sunlight exposure.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | General, Health, Leatherhead Instructors, Performance, Safety
Thursday, March 19th, 2015 1:03 pm

Leatherhead Thursday: Physical fitness in the fire service

By Shane Wells

of the Leatherhead Instructors

Many departments across the United States require that new recruits pass a physical fitness or abilities test of some kind prior to their appointment to the position. So why aren’t more departments requiring their firefighters to keep up some type of physical fitness performance level? One reason might be a rejection from the local union. They may fear losing their job if unable to meet the fitness requirements. Many cities have or are implementing work place wellness programs that are voluntary. These programs are sometimes encouraged by workers compensation for lower rates. My question is why aren’t more firefighters proactive in starting physical fitness programs in their own departments? Core training is gaining in popularity among firefighters.

The National Occupational Research Agenda has identified traumatic injury and intervention effectiveness as two of its priority research areas. Injuries are the leading cause of mortality and loss of potential years of life for working individuals. This study focused on a unique method of injury prediction and prevention in high risk workers using a functional movement screen and core strength intervention. Many workers must deal with physically demanding tasks that involve awkward positions and less than optimal ergonomics. Firefighting is a particular hazardous profession with exposure to a host of chemical, biological, and physical hazards including musculoskeletal trauma. Firefighters perform physically demanding tasks such as forcible entry and rescues that are injury prone because of maneuvers that compromise trunk stability and ergonomically hazardous conditions. Because of the nature of firefighting, these physical conditions are often difficult to control. There are over one million firefighters in the United States and the injury rates of firefighters are among the highest in all occupations. In 2006 U.S. firefighters sustained 88,500 injuries while on duty. Forty four percent of all U.S. firefighters have suffered from sprains and strains while on duty. It is important for firefighters to be fit because they work in physically unpredictable settings, and must maintain a high level of fitness for at least 20 years before they are eligible for retirement. Various strategies have been evaluated to decrease the occurrence and the severity of the firefighter’s injuries. These methods have focused on exercise, training, ergonomic coaching and flexibility improvements. A physical fitness intervention for firefighters was shown to effective in reducing injuries, but the scope of the study was limited to back disorders. A firefighter flexibility training program did not find improvement in injury incidence, though lost time, severity and costs improved. Workplace injuries are multi-factorial, especially in occupations where work events are unpredictable and task completion places rigorous demands on the body. Furthermore, many ergonomic interventions have limited applicability in certain firefighter tasks. For example, a firefighter who must crawl under wreckage and control his or her body to rapidly rescue a trapped individual has severe ergonomic challenges that are difficult to address with standard ergonomic suggestions such as “lift with your legs not with your back.” Although many firefighter exercise programs have focused on upper and lower body strength, they have paid less attention to core stability and strength and the other dimensions of movement that might decrease the chance of injury in the above scenario. Core stability is the ability of the lumbopelvic hip complex to prevent buckling and to return to equilibrium after perturbation. Although static elements (bone and soft tissue) contribute to some degree, core stability is predominately maintained by the dynamic function of muscular elements. There is clear relationship between trunk muscle activity and lower extremity movement. Current research suggests that decreased core strength may contribute to injuries of the back and extremities, that training may decrease musculoskeletal damage, and that core stability can be tested using functional movement methods. The study goes on to talk about how a group of 433 firefighters were ran through a battery of seven tests over a four week period in 2004. After that they were enrolled in a training program designed by multi-disciplinary team. Participants were all taught techniques to strengthen core muscles and to decrease mechanical load on the affected parts of their musculoskeletal system during these ergonomically challenging job tasks.

For one year following the training, information on the type and number of injury cases, cost of treatment, and the lost day’s due to injury were gathered by the organization’s worker’s comp department. Comparing the number of injuries pre and post-intervention of these 433 firefighters, lost time injuries were reduced by 62%, whereas total injuries were reduced by 44% compared to a historical control group. In my area there are several Cross Fit gyms that have continued to gain in popularity. Cross Fit is a core building focused workout program.

Reference: Peate, W. F., Bates, G., Lunda, K., Francis, S., & Bellamy, K. (2007). Core strength: a new model for injury prediction and prevention. J Occup Med Toxicol, 2(3), 1-9.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, Health, Leatherhead Instructors, Performance, Safety, Training
Thursday, February 19th, 2015 3:02 pm

Leatherhead Thursday: The importance of precision

By James R. Dennison

of the Leatherhead Instructors

Saws, hand tools, ladders, hoses, nozzles, rescue equipment, and gas tools can be found on all fire trucks across America. There are many similarities between manufacturers of the equipment, but there are also many differences. The manufacturer of the equipment is unimportant, but the knowledge needed to use your departments’ equipment is absolutely monumental. The operations and abilities of the tools that we regularly use are second nature to us, but the stuff that seems to spend more time on the rig than in use may be far from familiar.

The proper start up procedures for your saws can make or break you in an emergency. Small engines can prove to be challenging in themselves due to their “cold blooded” nature, but knowing how to properly handle the equipment and how to overcome things such as a flooded engine or loose chain can keep you in the game.  Regular maintenance of the equipment is imperative to smooth operations, but can also provide an understanding of the more technical aspects of the saws.

Hose loads and lays are never the same between two fire departments, and often are different between the trucks in your bays. The loads, lengths, and nozzles are typically set up for the area in which you respond and departmental preference. Understanding the proper way to deploy each type of load on your trucks can save time, property, and lives. Knowing your loads and lengths will enable you to quickly add sections when needed to reach the fire, ensure efficiency of deployment, and allow you to be an asset instead of liability to your company. Knowing and understanding the type of nozzle, its flow, operation, and pressure is also necessary to be successful on the job.

Routine care of your hand tools, personal equipment, and PPE will greatly reduce failure on the emergency scene. Keeping your hand tools clean, properly assembled, and sharpened is your responsibility; don’t rely on the previous crew or user to maintain them. You better know where and how to use the tools in your pockets if you are going to carry them; it is ignorant to have a mass pile of items on you that you have no idea how to use or where it is. Do you like to wear the same underwear several days in a row? I hope not! Treat your turnout gear the same way. If you use it, clean it! Proper maintenance of turnout gear can prevent you from absorbing carcinogens on a regular basis and allow the gear to effectively work when needed.

Keep in mind that even the simple things can be reviewed and a lot can be gained. Take five minutes and look at your hydraulic rescue tools; which way do you move the control to make the tool operate? How far does the hydraulic reel reach? What type of oil does the hydraulic reservoir use? Are the tools clean? I bet you can refresh your mind and maybe gain something you didn’t know in that five minutes!

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