PBI reports on being at the forefront of incredible innovation and progress in the development of fabrics that protect firefighters against heat and flame, but are also lightweight and breathable, reducing the risk of heat stress
The company’s range of fabrics have become the preferred choice of fire services all over the world, from Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Middle East to North America and much of Europe, including Scandinavia.
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. It has driven the development of an extensive range of structural firefighting outer fabrics designed specifically for the different needs of fire services.
The company’s product portfolio was recently expanded with the addition of, PBI LP™, a lightweight fibre that further enhances comfort, breathability and freedom of movement for future structural firefighting gear.
PBI’s continued commitment to innovation and new product development is not restricted to structural firefighting solutions. Working closely with the supply chain, PBI has also developed lightweight protective fabrics with increased tensile strength that is designed specifically for technical rescue, wildland and industrial firefighting.
One of the biggest challenges to firefighter safety is the risk posed by heat stress. It can cause many problems, from muscle fatigue and reduced cognitive function to cardiovascular strain and cardiac arrest. Research has shown that more firefighters die in the line of duty from cardiac arrest than any other cause. It is a paradox of firefighter protection that structural firefighting garments designed to protect the wearer from heat and flame can potentially contribute to the rise in core body temperature that triggers heat stress. That is why it is so important that the outer fabric, which has a primary role of protecting from heat and flame, is designed to mitigate the risk of heat stress.
All 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 will not become brittle, shrink or break open when exposed to flame and high temperatures, which is among the characteristics of other fabrics. This means that 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.
In the almost 40 years since opening for business in Charlotte, North Carolina, PBI Performance Products has created a reputation for protection without compromise that is recognised all over the world.