The latest innovative technology from Hainsworth Protectives has been unveiled. AGILE is a supremely durable yet lighter weight textile for structural uniforms. Director Tom Hainsworth explains how firefighter feedback prompted the company to develop premium lightweight protection
At Hainsworth we have been developing protective fabrics for the emergency services since the 1800s, when we first provided the London Fire Brigade with their wool melton uniform cloth. Since then, we have been combining the innate protective qualities of wool with the latest high-strength cutting-edge fibres to create fabrics that lead the market in flame resistance, durability, and comfort.
We have also been ensuring that we stay informed about the concerns and requirements of firefighters – whether this be through our participation on industry standards boards, or from simply visiting fire stations around the country and listening to people. We seek to understand what firefighters want from their PPE, what challenges they are facing on the job, and any areas where they feel protection could be improved.
It is crucial that we centre these concerns and feedback when developing new fabrics. We are dedicated to firefighter safety – to protecting them from not only heat stress but from the many other risks that they face every day. It is only through understanding this that we can deliver effective products that help them to do their jobs successfully.
While heat stress remains the greatest risk to firefighter health, we know that the potential for exposure to carcinogens and other harmful chemicals is a real area of concern. On speaking to firefighters we heard that they wanted a fabric they could be sure would last through the frequent washes that their kit requires. It is key that garments are washed thoroughly after every use to ensure that any residual smoke or other harmful particles are removed.
Another common piece of feedback was the requirement for a lighter more comfortable kit. On its surface it might sound like an oxymoron – how can a uniform fulfil all its protective requirements, be powerfully strong and durable and yet also be light and flexible? But we are never ones to back down from a challenge.
We began to develop AGILE with the intention of creating a fabric that kept wearers safe from chemical runoff, had high strength and resistance to break open, while also delivering a lighter weight and increased flexibility.
Lighter, Stronger, AGILE
AGILE is designed to provide maximum durability and protection while not compromising on comfort. With 72.5 per cent of yarns packed onto the fabric’s face and ultra-strong fibres on the back, AGILE has excellent abrasion resistance and can withstand over 80 washes without losing its protective qualities. The fabric has exceptional strength and resistance to break-open, even in flashover situations.
The fibres in AGILE are woven together in a high-strength gabardine structure that gives maximum resistance from liquids, meaning that the wearer is not only kept dry but their risk of exposure to soluble chemicals is minimised.
AGILE has also been constructed to offer increased comfort despite its high strength. The ultra-fine protective yarns that comprise the fabric make it a lighter weight of 180gsm. In addition to the lighter weight, AGILE’s unique design also provides increased flexibility that ensures the garment moves with the wearer.
This lighter weight and improved flexibility allows firefighters to perform at their best for longer periods of time, enabling them to continue to carry out their vital role safely.
Delivering high-class protection, maximum durability and exceptional comfort, AGILE leaves firefighters confident that their kit will work with them to perform.