Blog Posts

What’s inside your turnout gear?

Did you know you could produce up to four pounds of sweat during an hour of normal firefighting operations? That can be a problem because the water adds extra weight to your turnout. It also can contribute to burn injuries because it can compromise the reliability of your thermal layer.Your thermal barrier is like the insulation in your house — it traps air in millions of tiny pockets, creating a barrier to your environment. If those pockets fill with moisture, they can’t function as designed. You get hotter and sweatier, and your protection levels diminish. The best thermal liner is one that…

Top 5 mistakes of caring for your firefighting PPE

Don’t ask for the impossible — if you don’t take care of your PPE, it won’t take care of you. Here are the top five mistakes firefighters make in caring for their gear. Mistake 1. Cleaning your firefighter turnout in your home washing machine with commercial laundry detergent. First, your turnout is exposed to a lot of bad on-the-job elements that have no place in your home. Second, a home-style washing machine is too harsh on the materials and can’t effectively clean all of the bulky gear. Third, laundry detergents can compromise the fabrics — so can bleach and softeners. Instead,…

Increase your firefighting staying power — go leather (boots).

Still have rubber boots on your feet? Then you’re working harder, draining your SCBA faster and have more trouble with balance and obstacles than a firefighter with leather boots. So says the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The University of Delaware agrees. Both conducted studies on the safety and health implications of firefighter boots and found that rubber boots — which weigh about 3 pounds more than leather boots and cost half as much — definitely affect on-the-job performance. Yes, leather costs more. But consider these costs: 80,100 occupational injuries, a quarter of which were caused by…

On the horizon: Is an “active thermal liner” in your PPE future?

By Battalion Chief Henry Costo, Philadelphia Fire Department — for LION Connects Historically in the fire service the measure of PPE quality and performance has been thermal stability. Materials such as PBI, Kevlar, Nomex, PBO, etc. were all developed to withstand changes during exposure to heat and flame. Indeed, most of the current standards-related testing has been designed to ascertain whether or not a fiber, fabric, composite, etc. possesses the required thermal stability. Recently, however, scientists at DuPont have taken a completely divergent approach to the issue of the thermal stability of turnout liner materials. They did so by inventing…