The increasing challenges facing Blue Light Services make the innovations in personal protective equipment exhibited at the fourth annual Workwear and Corporate Clothing Show in Coventry today [17 Apr] more important than ever.

Recent growth in the market for FR (flame retardant) clothing combined with a revision of ISO standards have encouraged companies like WL Gore and Associates (represented here by manufacturers Avery Denison) and Armadillo Merino to establish new lines offering added protection to firefighters, police officers and first responders.

Andy Caughey from Amardillo Merino told us, "firefighters are increasingly well equipped with high performance outerwear but that can be rendered ineffective without the correct skin personal protective clothing".

Stuart Hall from I.D. Safe Viz has personal experience of workwear failing to offer full protection having seen a colleague suffer severe facial lacerations when the excess material from his hi-vis vest got caught in equipment.

He said: "It was a simple development to remove the lose material from a regular hi-vi and can significantly reduce risk for paramedics, firefighters and anyone needing to wear a vest in high pressure situations."

Trying to keep up with all these developments is Peter Doughty of SATRA Technology who told us the key innovation in PPE at the moment is in "multi-norm" clothing that addresses several different needs particularly in a growing global environment where companies are operating to different standards in different places.

The global expansion of the market for firefighter, first responder and officer technology was illustrated by the presence of the largest ever delegation from the Chinese Workwear Association, highlighted leading designer Xu Jianglun's unveiling of a new range on the event's innovative 'Fashion Runway'.

Innovation in the industry will be rewarded at the first-ever Professional Clothing Awards following the exhibition this evening, and @fire_editor will provide full Twitter coverage of the winners.

For more information visit 

Posted 17/04/2012 by