You put yourself at risk every day and are trained to make split second decisions under pressure. The risk from heat and flames increases with every second that passes. But having a few extra seconds to make those decisions safely can make a massive difference.
The role of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as flame resistant clothing, is to allow personnel to work in environments where, without this protection, they normally could not work and should provide the wearer with the required level of thermal protection consistent with the potential risk.
What is Nomex®
Nomex® is a meta-aramid fibre that has been engineered to provide heat and flame protection. By weaving Nomex® into a fabric it provides inherent protection that will last over its lifetime and ensure that the fabric won't melt, drip or support combustion. The fabrics are then used in firefighter turnout gear, offering the wearer protection from heat and flames, plus offering excellent breathability to keep them cool and reduce the risk of heat stress.
How does Nomex® work?
A key factor in the protection provided by Nomex® fibre is its ability to carbonise and thicken when exposed to intense heat, which increases the protective barrier between the heat source and the skin and helps minimise burn injury. As the Nomex® fibres cool they solidify. Then, if subsequently flexed, they may fracture or crumble, which is sometimes referred to as 'breakopen' - a principle similar to that of a modern car designed to absorb the impact and crumple. The crumbling appearance is a clear sign that the heat has been absorbed and the garment has done its job and protected the fire fighter. Most importantly, this characteristic only occurs when the garment and the firefighter are out of the intense heat and the fabric has cooled down.