In what has been an incredibly challenging year for the international fire sector, PBI reports on working hard to maintain its commitment to fire and rescue services, ensuring continued supply for new contracts around the world
Throughout the year even more fire and rescue services from Europe and the Middle East, to the Far East, chose PBI outer fabrics as their first line of defence in firefighter protection.
In the UK, new structural firefighting gear manufactured by Bristol Uniforms with PBI Titan 1260 from Hainsworth, continued to roll out to fire and rescue services as part of the national Collaborative Procurement Framework. It has so far issued 77,000 suits to 33,500 UK firefighters. The framework also includes PBI fire hoods.
PBI fabrics were the preferred choice of several other services in the UK last year. All Welsh firefighters are now protected by Ibena X55 PBI outer fabric in their new structural kit from Ballyclare.
The Yorkshire procurement framework chose PBI Matrix from Heathcoat in new PPE for firefighters in Humberside, South and West Yorkshire.
In Europe, Copenhagen Airport and Amsterdam fire services chose PBI in garments manufactured by Viking. Dusseldorf Fire Brigade was the first service to select the latest innovation in PBI fibre – PBI LPTM in gear from Heinrich Vorndamme. PBI LPTM (lightweight performance) is ten per cent lighter than other outer fabrics used in structural fire gear, helping to reduce the risk of heat stress. It maintains the same level of heat and flame protection without any compromise as a result of the weight reduction.
Spanish high performance footwear specialist Fal Seguridad teamed up with PBI Max to create the first full fabric lightweight firefighting boot with PBI Max from Safety Components, pushing new boundaries in footwear technology. The company’s Volcano and Volcano Boa boots are made with PBI Max fabric, which makes them incredibly lightweight and flexible while still achieving the necessary high levels of protection.
“Throughout the year, we have seen continued growth and success around the world and appreciate the ongoing support of our customers”
County Wicklow Fire Service in the Republic of Ireland chose new structural gear from Bristol uniforms with Hainsworth’s PBI Titan 1260 outer fabric.
In the Middle East, Saudi Civil Defence firefighters are now protected by PBI Max and in Israel firefighters have been equipped with wildland protective suits manufactured by Texport with PBI TriGuard.
Several Korean fire departments chose PBI protection in 2020. Gyeongbuk, Chungbuk, Chungnam and Changwon fire services are now members of the PBI family. The Hancom Lifecare fire hood, which incorporates two layers of PBI Gold fabric, was well received by Korean firefighters after meeting the stringent performance standards required for operational use there.
In China, firefighters in Chongqing, one of the country’s fastest growing cities, are now wearing PBI fabrics, along with colleagues at the new Beijing Daxing International Airport.
So many fire and rescue services are choosing PBI because they recognise the high performance and durability that comes with PBI protection. The company’s products are renowned for their proven protection from heat and flame, but they are also amongst the most lightweight and breathable available today. They provide top-to-toe protection in fire hoods, structural, rescue and wildland garments, as well as specialised gloves.
It is that unique combination of durability and lightweight, breathable high-performance found in PBI fabrics that has created such high international demand for its products. To meet this demand, PBI has worked with the best weavers in the market to develop an extensive range of outer fabrics designed specifically for the many different needs of fire services. It includes PBI LP, PBI Gold, PBI Matrix, PBI Max, Gemini XTL, Titan 1260, ENFORCER 24K and Ibena X55.
PBI fabrics are designed to offer maximum thermal protection from the outside, while at the same time delivering high levels of breathability and comfort to reduce the risk of heat stress. They are inherently flame resistant and this will not diminish over time, despite hard wear and washing. Because they will not become brittle, shrink or break open when exposed to flame and high temperatures, which is among the characteristics of other fabrics, the integrity of the internal layers of the garment is protected and the transfer of any radiant heat is slower, allowing more time for firefighters to escape to safety in a situation such as a flashover.
Choosing to work with only the best fabric manufacturers in the supply chain ensures that every PBI product performs to the highest levels required in modern firefighting and rescue. The company’s close working relationship with its supply chains is a key factor in the continued investment in research and innovation which results in products that set new standards in comfort and performance.
Ian Callaghan, Senior Director of International Sales and Marketing at PBI, said: “2020 has been an especially challenging year for the international fire community. But our team has embraced the challenge and adapted where necessary to ensure that we continue to work closely with fire services and the clothing supply chain to maintain our high standards of customer care.
“Throughout the year, we have seen continued growth and success around the world and appreciate the ongoing support of our customers. We only work with premier supply chain partners, which ensures the consistent quality of PBI fabrics and drives the innovation behind such a wide range of products available to meet the different risk assessments of fire services around the world. We are looking forward to rolling out more innovation in the coming year in our mission to keep firefighters safe.”
Firefighters who wear PBI can do their job with the confidence and peace of mind that their PPE has been tested and proven to offer the highest levels of protection.