Integrity of moisture barrier is critical to firefighter protection
Gore reports on how it has continued to innovate new technology, setting new standards in durability and performance around the world
You cannot see it or touch it but the moisture barrier inside every structural firefighting garment plays a critical role in firefighter protection. It has to be incredibly durable to perform consistently without any degradation or loss of integrity throughout a punishing lifetime.
Since the first pioneering GORE-TEX Moisture Barriers were introduced into firefighting PPE over 30 years ago, Gore has continued to innovate new technology, setting new standards in durability and performance around the world.
The company’s range of waterproof, breathable moisture barriers are incorporated into structural firefighting kit, search and rescue gear, as well as footwear, gloves and wildland suits. They play a critical role in providing head to toe protection from fire, blood pathogens, chemicals and particulates while keeping the wearer dry from inside and out.
“Gore fabrics undergo the most extensive and stringent testing regimes, which is just one of the reasons why they consistently outperform alternative products”
GORE-TEX Moisture Barriers with GORE® CROSSTECH® Product Technology create a durable layer in high performance PPE that keeps the wearer dry by preventing water from entering the garment but allows perspiration to evaporate through the membrane to the outside environment. This minimises the build up of moisture inside the garment and in the more extreme conditions that are often experienced by emergency responders, reduces the risk of heat stress.
Gore fabrics undergo the most extensive and stringent testing regimes, which is just one of the reasons why they consistently outperform alternative products. The company’s own test labs are comparable to those used in many of the independent institutes and in many cases Gore has developed specific test methods where previously no standardised tests existed. This intense process ensures that the moisture barrier will maintain its integrity and performance levels throughout the lifetime of the garment, boot or glove.
From the start of the testing process every aspect of the product’s real world use is examined in detail to inform the design and engineering process. It is important that protective clothing is functional and comfortable, so Gore designers will advise manufacturers on potential innovations, such as special closures or waterproof collar solutions.
GORE-TEX Moisture Barriers with GORE® CROSSTECH® Product Technology are certified to EN469, AS/NZS 4967 and the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, as well as NFPA 1951, 1999 and 1971. They maintain that level of performance thanks to outstanding resistance to wear and abrasion and the ability to consistently retain high breathability and waterproofness after exposure to extreme cold and heat. Gore products are renowned for their consistently reliable thermal stability.
Gore only partners with garment, footwear and glove suppliers who can guarantee a total quality approach throughout the manufacturing process. Companies that make Gore products must comply with Gore Manufacturing Standards. These standards require the manufacturer to adhere to specific quality levels for machinery used in the manufacturing process. Gore specialists provide recommendations to production sites to ensure that manufacturing standards are met and implemented, at which point the manufacturing plant receives a Gore license. Certification is audited and reviewed on an annual basis.
The company stands behind the consistent performance of every one of its products and every year invests around ten per cent of turnover in research and development, with state of the art laboratory testing facilities that are used to ensure every fabric will meet its performance claims.
Gore’s stringent process for quality assurance ensure that buyers who specify GORE-TEX Moisture Barriers do so with absolute confidence in the garment’s integrity and that it is completely fit for purpose.
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