When it comes to PPE, fabric, design and fit are the key to keeping firefighters safe. Good PPE starts with cutting-edge fabric. Innovations from leading fibre and fabric manufacturers, such as WL Gore, Hainsworth, PBI Performance Products and DuPont, mean that PPE manufacturers can produce multi-layered garments that protect from the inside and out. A select combination of fabrics can provide resistance to fire, increased breathability, control of moisture, and are lighter weight – all of which help to reduce the occurrence of heat stress.
DuPont and PBI, for example, provide highly specialised and lightweight fibres for the outer shell of a garment. Hainsworth use fibres such as these to make specialised outer fabrics such as TITAN1220 and TITAN1260 fabrics, which crucially provide outstanding air permeability and breathability, allowing metabolic heat to escape. In addition, when these fabrics encounter intense heat, such as from a flash fire, they instantly thicken, creating a barrier helping to prevent burns.