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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 | Fire and Rescue, General, News, PPE, Training
Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 10:01 am

LION partners with the IFRM to successfully set up a fire department

This past December John Granby, VP of Government Relations for LION, traveled with the International Fire Relief Mission (IFRM) to help establish a fire department in Barraterre on the island of Exuma, in the Bahamas.

Previous to this humanitarian aid trip, Exuma did not have any fire or rescue services despite facing wildland and structural fire threats and having a steady stream of tourists. The people of Barraterre had to band together to raise money to build the fire station.

Rick Markley, editor-in-chief at FireRescue1 said they, “organized a leadership structure without any fire service background. They recruited 25 volunteers with no promise of compensation — three of which are women.

Others gave in whatever way they could. Some provided sweat equity at the fire station. The older women in the community landscaped the fire station, cooked meals for the firefighters during training and volunteered for a community response team (think part rehab, part Red Cross, part CERT).”

The IFRM helped provide guidance and needs assessment for the fire station, as well as donating firefighting equipment and a rig. They also brought in experts to help train them from the ground up on firefighting.

John Granby provided his expertise in fire science, PPE and how to fight fires. He helped conduct a physical baseline for volunteers, sized them for gear, and left educational material that they can continue to study and use to train others.

LION’s involvement goes beyond just this trip, we have entered a partnership with the IFRM to help them continue to provide gear, tools and training to firefighters and emergency personnel in under served communities around the world. In addition to donating turnout gear, we manage and house 20,000 sq ft of donated equipment at one of our facilities. LION staff sorts and inventories all brands of used gear, gloves, helmets, SCBA, hose and tools and packs them in shipping containers for future use.

The International Fire Relief Mission is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that is a nonprofit, nonreligious, nonpolitical group dedicated to saving firefighter and civilian lives. IFRM members do not draw a salary and all of the money raised is used to fulfilling the group’s mission. For more information, please visit its website at www.IFRM2007.com.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, Leatherhead Instructors, PPE
Thursday, November 6th, 2014 7:11 am

Helmets of the fire service

By Shane Wells
of the Leatherhead Instructors

I have had a large variety of helmets in my 20 plus years as a firefighter; they range from inexpensive fiberglass helmets to quite expensive leather helmets. The first helmet that I had was a Cairns Fiberglass “salad bowl” Helmet, and now I have a Sam Houston Leather Helmet. There are differences in style, comfort, fit, and weight between the two; both have acceptable ratings.

I consider there to be three types of helmets that we typically see in the United States; leather, composite, and proximity. There are many styles that can be chosen among them, but the three listed types cover most of the bases. Each department really needs to do their research as to what fits them, and uniformity should be considered. Do not allow “what’s popular” to dictate what you get!

There are several things that should be considered when deciding what helmets to purchase for your department. Cost, amount of calls that you respond to, types of service provided (structural, technical rescue, airport crash rescue), turnover rate of your department (applies more to part time and volunteer), and ratings. Some departments opt to use different types of helmets for technical rescue, or wild land firefighting. A leather helmet is a poor choice for a department that uses one helmet and does technical rescue, due to the weight. Be wary of the first salesman that walk in your door and offers the cheapest price; cheapest is NOT always best! Something in the middle may be a good place to start.

I received a LION American Heritage Classic Helmet about two years ago to use while teaching classes, and I have to say that it is one of the most comfortable helmets that I have had the privilege of wearing. It has the look of a traditional leather helmet, but the weight of a composite. The helmet has held up well during the trainings that it has been worn during, and I look forward to wearing it for years to come. We wear Leather Sam Houston’s for our primary helmet, a Cairns 1010 composite as a backup, and a separate helmet for wild land and technical rescue at my department. We are given a leather helmet once our probationary period is met and these helmets remain with us for our career; we get to take them when we retire.

I hope that this helps you in your decision making regarding the purchase and use of helmets.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, PPE
Friday, August 15th, 2014 2:08 pm

Fire Academy Friday: Advanced Cleaning for Structural Fire Helmets

It’s Fire Academy Friday! LION Fire Academy provides fire department members with online training on PPE and Continuing Education Units for successful completion.  Fire instructors can incorporate PPE education into their classes and have their students earn credits.  If you are a fire student or contemplating a career in firefighting, you’ll find helpful quizzes, videos and links on PPE and other firefighting topics.

NFPA 1851 and NFPA 1500 training modules are valid for any brand of PPE.

Learn how to perform an Advanced Cleaning on your structural firefighting helmet. Covers thorough cleaning of helmets, how often an Advanced Cleaning is needed and who can perform an Advanced Cleaning. It also defines the difference between Routine Cleaning, Advanced Cleaning and Decontamination.

After you’ve finished watching, take the test.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | PPE, Training
Friday, August 8th, 2014 3:08 pm

Fire Academy Friday: Structural PPE Construction, Features, and Functions

It’s Fire Academy Friday! LION Fire Academy provides fire department members with online training on PPE and Continuing Education Units for successful completion.  Fire instructors can incorporate PPE education into their classes and have their students earn credits.  If you are a fire student or contemplating a career in firefighting, you’ll find helpful quizzes, videos and links on PPE and other firefighting topics.

NFPA 1851 and NFPA 1500 training modules are valid for any brand of PPE.

What are the components of your PPE elements? What is the purpose and limitations of each element in your structural PPE? This week’s video covers these questions and more.

After you’ve finished watching, take the test.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, PPE, Safety, Training
Friday, July 18th, 2014 9:07 am

Fire Academy Friday: Retirement of PPE


It’s Fire Academy Friday! LION Fire Academy provides fire department members with online training on PPE and Continuing Education Units for successful completion.  Fire instructors can incorporate PPE education into their classes and have their students earn credits.  If you are a fire student or contemplating a career in firefighting, you’ll find helpful quizzes, videos and links on PPE and other firefighting topics.

NFPA 1851 and NFPA 1500 training modules are valid for any brand of PPE.

This week’s video makes sure you know when your PPE has made its last run and how do to dispose of it.

After you’ve finished watching, take the test.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, PPE, Performance
Monday, July 14th, 2014 10:07 am

Flame Resistant T-Shirts May Replace Cotton

By Guy Lucas
for Safety Components

The Firehouse Industry Insights blogs are contributed by experts in various areas of the fire service industry.

A hot topic being discussed these days is the idea of fire departments adopting flame resistant base layer garments to replace 100% cotton t-shirts or polyester t-shirts. The U.S. military has already gone through similar evaluations and found inherently flame resistant knits like Sigma™ as the optimum fabric for flame resistant base layers. Explored below are a few reasons why your department may be on the brink of retiring cotton and should be banning polyester t-shirts.

Why replace 100% cotton t-shirts?

100% cotton t-shirts are good for one reason and one reason only…price. Cotton shirts are made of inexpensive cotton fiber and therefore produce inexpensive cotton t-shirts.

The downside of cotton is threefold: poor moisture management, poor color retention, and poor durability.

Moisture Management – You can drop water on top of cotton fabric and it will disappear quickly—the same way certain thermal liner face cloths perform. What happened of course is that the fabric simply absorbed the water, it didn’t wick the moisture, which is an important part of good moisture management. The cotton absorbing fabric becomes heavier and stays wetter for a longer period of time (like thermal liner face cloths that perform the same way). This type of poor performance increases fatigue and makes working conditions hotter and more difficult for the firefighter. It is important that firefighters do not confuse “water absorbent fabrics” like cotton as having good “moisture management”.

Poor Color Retention—Image is Everything - In a time where firefighter budgets are threatened every day, the look and image of the firefighter is as important as ever. The fire service needs the support of the public, and a good image is critical in influencing a positive opinion. A shirt that retains color/looks newer for a longer period of time is one that will aid in presenting the firefighter in a positive light. Shirts made of cotton fade and wash out quickly—reducing the usable life of the shirt or risk displaying an unprofessional image.

Subpar DurabilityDurability is the final Achilles heel to cotton under garments. Aside from color retention, cotton wears out quickly and loses strength much faster than fabrics made of high performance fibers.

Read the full article on Firehouse.com.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, PPE, Training
Friday, July 11th, 2014 10:07 am

Fire Academy Friday: Proper storage of PPE

LION Fire Academy provides fire department members with online training on PPE and Continuing Education Units for successful completion.  Fire instructors can incorporate PPE education into their classes and have their students earn credits.  If you are a fire student or contemplating a career in firefighting, you’ll find helpful quizzes, videos and links on PPE and other firefighting topics.

NFPA 1851 and NFPA 1500 training modules are valid for any brand of PPE.

This week’s video examines the negative impact of direct light on PPE and proper storage and transportation of your PPE.

After you’ve finished watching, take the test.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, Leatherhead Instructors, PPE
Thursday, July 10th, 2014 9:07 am

Leatherhead Thursday: A firefighter’s helmet


By J.R. Dennison
of the Leatherhead Instructors

Firefighters have worn helmets for centuries to protect them from falling objects and debris, but the variations in style, material, and safety features have changed dramatically.  Helmets today have safety features like adjustable chin straps, adjustable head bands, impact shells, reflective emblems, unit identification, and eye protection integrated; these guidelines are described in NFPA 1971.  The modern day fire helmet has much tradition, but safety and protection is its primary purpose.

The career of a firefighter can often be seen through condition of his or her helmet.  It is long standing tradition in the fire service to maintain that smoke and fire stained helmet to show what kind of firefighter you are, but recent studies show that this may not be a good idea for our health.  Firefighter’s helmets may be burnt, damaged, or smoky; at some point the condition of your helmet may decrease the safety mechanisms that they are designed for.  Helmets today are still found in many styles, but comfort guides the buyers.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, PPE, Training
Friday, June 27th, 2014 9:06 am

Fire Academy Friday: Advanced Cleaning of Turnouts

LION Fire Academy provides fire department members with online training on PPE and Continuing Education Units for successful completion.  Fire instructors can incorporate PPE education into their classes and have their students earn credits.  If you are a fire student or contemplating a career in firefighting, you’ll find helpful quizzes, videos and links on PPE and other firefighting topics.

NFPA 1851 and NFPA 1500 training modules are valid for any brand of PPE.

In this week’s video, learn how to perform an Advanced Cleaning on your turnout coat and pants. Covers thorough cleaning of turnouts using a cleaning agent, how often an Advanced Cleaning is needed and who can perform an Advanced Cleaning. It also defines the difference between Routine Cleaning, Advanced Cleaning and Decontamination.

After you’ve finished watching, take the test.

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