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 Nick Hrkman | Care and Usage, Fire and Rescue, PPE
Friday, March 22nd, 2013 9:03 am

Fire Academy Friday: The Eagle is down


In the rough and tumble world of fire fighting, the decorative brass eagle on your helmet can become damaged. Here’s how to replace it and keep your classic-style helmet looking great.

LION Fire Academy has a library of videos on how to maintain, inspect and repair LION products as well as our competitors’ gear. You can find more LION-specific product repair information here. Helmet doesn’t fit? Since no two heads are exactly alike, a new helmet will need to be adjusted to your head’s unique size and shape. LION’s nine-point configuration and Center of Gravity™ technologies give you the ability to custom-fit your helmet to your head — granting you greater comfort and protection. Watch the video here.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Care and Usage, Fire and Rescue, PPE, Safety, Training
Friday, March 8th, 2013 9:03 am

Fire Academy Friday: Who wants a free t-shirt?

“LEARNING IS NOT COMPULSORY… NEITHER IS SURVIVAL.”  -W. EDWARDS DEMING

LION Fire Academy is your online destination for PPE resources and education.  Whether you’re a student or instructor you’ll find helpful articles, videos and links on all things PPE.

Want to win a free LION Fire Academy t-shirt? Take the Geared Up quizzes here.

Learn what every fire fighter should know before using NFPA 1971 compliant gear through an in-depth 12-part video series. Take the test after each video. Once you have successfully completed all the tests, you’ll earn your PPE Safety and Use Certificate.  Start training now.

Are you an instructor? Incorporate these videos into your presentations or use as self-directed study for your students: NFPA 1500 Safety And Use Training Videos.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Care and Usage, Fire and Rescue
Friday, March 1st, 2013 9:03 am

Why it’s important to inspect, detect and correct

Your gear takes care of you so why not take care of your gear? Here are some helpful tips from LION TotalCare to keep your gear in shape.

HIGH-TECH PROTECTION MEANS KEEPING YOUR PPE TUNED AND READY

It’s not like any other clothing you’ll ever wear. But then, it’s asked to do more than any thing you’ll ever wear. All PPE elements are made from high tech fabrics that require special care. You have to treat it more like a high-performance car than a coat and pair of pants.

IT’S A DIRTY JOB AND DIRTY GEAR IS DANGEROUS

Did you know soiled gear can pose a health risk to firefighters? Smoke deposits and condensed residue can be trapped in fibers of dirty gear exposing firefighters to cancer causing chemicals. Grimy gear is also less protective as it reflects less radiant heat and is more likely to conduct electricity. Additionally everyday chemicals can weaken fabrics and cause damage that reduces the usable safe life of gear. Clean gear is safe gear.

INSPECT, DETECT, CORRECT!

To keep it operating at optimum levels of protection, your PPE should get a routine inspection each time you report for duty and after each incident. Performing a routine inspection of your PPE is your responsibility. It’s also easy, and takes less than 10 minutes.

LET’S FIX YOU UP

Sending your gear for repairs when it is damaged is critical for your safety (and your wallet).  Unattended damage can worsen until PPE cannot be restored to a safe condition.  With regular repairs you can keep PPE in serviceable condition, extending its life.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Care and Usage, Fire and Rescue, General, Health, PPE, Safety
Thursday, February 14th, 2013 8:02 am

Reasons to integrate structural firefighting, hazmat units

By John McCreedie

For Fire Chief

The plating shop where chemicals were used to turn unfinished metals into a smooth and finished product was engulfed by flames as a Boulder County, Colo., fire truck arrived on-scene. Responders immediately took a defensive position. They extinguished the fire from outside positions to keep it contained and protect firefighters from billowing smoke potentially loaded with unknown chemicals.

The hazmat team arrived and determined the presence of hydrochloric acid, a highly corrosive solution that could cause dermal burns and damage firefighter gear. A standard decontamination zone was set up after a test-strip swipe of bunker gear revealed an acidic PH factor of 3, indicating that, despite their best efforts to stay back from the fire and its corrosive smoke, responders had been exposed.

“Decon can set the tone for the rest of the scene,” said t Lt. Mike Becker, an 18-year fire service veteran who coordinates hazmat response for the Longmont (Colo.) Fire Department. “If you don’t have things properly in place, you can drag contaminates all over God’s green earth. It’s critical to recognize upfront all the key issues and indicators; it’s important to have decon in place early on.”

Read the full article here.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Care and Usage, Fire and Rescue, PPE
Monday, January 28th, 2013 8:01 am

Helmets: The 10-year service life

By Robert Tutterow
For Fire Apparatus Magazine

A recent New York Post article about Fire Department of New York (FDNY) firefighters and the disposal of their old helmets created quite a buzz in the fire service networking community. The firefighters were upset on two counts. First, they saw no reason to turn in their helmets because they were 10 years old. Second, if they wished to keep their old helmets as keepsakes (not for use in the field), they had to pay for the helmets. The amount depended on years of service. It was $100 for less than 20 years, $50 for 20-30 years, and free for more than 30 years.

The basis of this controversy is the personal protective equipment (PPE) retirement criteria found in National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting. The standard requires that any element (helmet, hood, gloves, boots, turnout coat, and trousers) of the PPE ensemble be removed from service after ten years from the date of manufacture. This requirement has been in effect for several years. However, the FDNY story brought the issue to the forefront.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Care and Usage, Fire and Rescue, PPE
Friday, January 18th, 2013 9:01 am

Fire Academy Fridays: Importance of gear maintenance

Your gear takes care of you so why not take care of your gear? Here are some helpful tips from LION TotalCare to keep your gear in shape.

High-tech protection means keeping your PPE tuned ready

It’s not like any other clothing you’ll ever wear. But then, it’s asked to do more than any thing you’ll ever wear. All PPE elements are made from high tech fabrics that require special care. You have to treat it more like a high-performance car than a coat and pair of pants.

It’s a dirty job and dirty gear is dangerous

Did you know soiled gear can pose a health risk to firefighters? Smoke deposits and condensed residue can be trapped in fibers of dirty gear exposing firefighters to cancer causing chemicals. Grimy gear is also less protective as it reflects less radiant heat and is more likely to conduct electricity. Additionally everyday chemicals can weaken fabrics and cause damage that reduces the usable safe life of gear. Clean gear is safe gear.

(more…)


Posted by Nick Hrkman | Care and Usage, Fire and Rescue, PPE
Monday, December 10th, 2012 9:12 am

Does your department clean gear on a regular schedule?


By John “Skip” Coleman
For FireEngineering.com’s Monthly Roundtable

Firefighting is a dirty job! One of my earliest memories of my father was the way he would smell when he came home from the fire station in the morning, that sweet smell of smoke on the extra set of clothes rolled up in his tomato basket.  My children also know the sweet smoky smell of “working fire” perfume.

That smoke that provided the sweet smell of fire contains a lot of “stuff,” and we are finding more and more out about the stuff that is produced in fires. Chemicals ending in “-ic” and “-ide,” among others, which are usually not good for the human body. Most if not all of these have cumulative effects on our health.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Care and Usage, Fire and Rescue, PPE, Safety
Friday, November 30th, 2012 9:11 am

The other side of the 10-year retirement debate


By Vicki Smith
LION Manager of Products and Services Marketing

Although the content of NFPA 1851 Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting is not as widely known as NFPA 1971 and NFPA 1500, one sentence has become the source of fire service debate.  The sentence is located in Chapter 10 Retirement, Disposition, and Special Incident Procedure, 10.1 Retirement, 10.1.2 and requires that departments must retire structural turnouts and other elements no more than 10 years from the date of manufacture. NFPA 1851, 10.1.2 states “Structural fire fighting ensembles and ensemble elements shall be retired in accordance with 10.2.1, no longer than 10 years from the date the ensemble or ensemble elements were manufactured.”

Recently Jeff and Grace Stull wrote a column on FireRescue1 titled “The debate: Mandatory gear retirement at 10 years.  Their column addresses the argument of the contingent of fire service members who believe their PPE should last longer than 10 years.

The Stulls write, “The thinking was that after 10 years, new changes in materials and testing technology, plus the implementation of new requirements, would make the PPE obsolete. This reasoning was combined with the observation that most garments last on the average 4 to 6 years before they have to be replaced for wear and tear.”

Unfortunately, we hear from some fire departments a misconception that the requirements of Chapter 10 mean that PPE should last 10 years and therefore these fire departments incorrectly believe that something is wrong with the quality of PPE when it needs to be replaced after 5 or 6 years.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Care and Usage, Fire and Rescue, General, Safety, Training
Friday, November 9th, 2012 10:11 am

Fire Academy Fridays: Advanced inspection of a proximity suit

This week’s video focuses on how to perform an Advanced Inspection of proximity coat and pants.  Learn how to determine if your proximity gear is fit for duty, if additional inspection or testing is required, if repair is needed, or if your proximity coat or pants need to be retired.

After you’ve finished watching, take the test.

Check back next Friday for more.

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