2019 has been the worst year on record for wildland and moorland fires in the UK, and experts are predicting that these devastating fires will become more frequent and more widespread as temperatures rise. Fire and rescue services are being challenged to fight fires in kit which has not been designed for the wildland environment, something which must change as this issue continues to escalate.

ECO-DRY kit modelled by ex-firefighter Richard Gorst at the EWWF Wildfire Conference

 

Wildland firefighters require PPE that reflects the unique conditions faced in fighting fires on open ground, which are often highly unpredictable in nature and particularly susceptible to weather conditions such as changes in wind direction. Many firefighters are facing these conditions in kit which they would usually wear to tackle a structural fire, when in fact they should be equipped with PPE that has been designed specifically for these volatile conditions.

Issues with wearing a structural garment to fight a wildland fire include the weight of the garment itself, which can cause heat stress to the firefighter during such high levels of physical exertion in extreme heat. In many cases, the firefighter will overheat and feel the need to remove the outer jacket, leaving them exposed to flame without protection. There is also an added risk factor of becoming trapped due to a change in wind direction, which can have devastating consequences if a firefighter is not appropriately protected.

Hainsworth Technology recently attended the EWWF Wildfire Conference in Cardiff, where they met with the FRS community and showcased the new Hainsworth Technology ECO-DRY Shield garment for wildland firefighting, manufactured by Bristol Uniforms.

ECO-DRY Shield has been developed specifically with the requirements of wildland firefighters in mind. A lightweight single layer construction combines the comfort of Australian wool and Lenzing FR with the thermal performance of Meta-Aramid to allow mobility and maximum thermal protection during long demanding shifts.

Initial feedback from delegates at the Wildfire Conference was extremely positive, with comments including: “This is the Wildfire kit we have been waiting for”, “Lightweight, top quality, versatile, comfortable, and everything you need to fight wildfires” and “It’s so light, and will be much more comfortable to wear than our structural PPE”.

ECO-DRY Shield garments are currently being worn by firefighters in South Australia, an area of the world suffering from a wildland and bushfire crisis.

Contact Bristol Uniforms for more information regarding the purchasing of ECO-DRY Shield wildland firefighting garments.

To learn more about ECO-DRY Shield fabric, visit: www.hainsworthtechnology.co.uk.