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…

What your turnout gear and an NFL uniform have in common

Of course your turnout is designed to protect you from things such as extreme heat and blood borne pathogens. But how comfortable are you in it? These days, you should feel as swift, cool and mobile as Adrian Peterson. Okay, so we exaggerate a bit. But turnout manufacturers are taking turnout performance design seriously — and they’re turning to the NFL for lessons in seam placement and sleeve design. By moving turnout seams away from knee and crotch zones, manufacturers have increased your range of motion and mobility. Now consider the NFL jersey you throw on for game day. That same…