Designing Reliable and Quality PPE for Firefighters
During the stress of a fire operation are two primary supports that firefighters rely on: The first is having a strong team to back them up, and second is having the best equipment and safety clothing to support their own body systems and the stress faced in fire operations.
Any fire situation Structural or Wildland can put the firefighters body through many opposing factors including extreme heat, direct contact with flame, smoke inhalation, gas vapour environments, moisture from both internal and external sources, heat stress from physical exertion, touch point damage from environmental surfaces and localised weather conditions.
Reducing Stress, Increasing Protection During a Fire
A firefighter wears a full fire suit, helmet a heavy BA, has to carry heavy equipment, and go into many fire situations with weight and restrictions that can cause stress. Anthony Elliott stated, "Many of the changes we have made to our firefighting systems have been based on reducing the stress to the body while increasing the protection during a fire."
When firefighters are using their personal protective equipment PPE during a fire situation, the gear should be responsive and comfortable. By improving the PPE that they wear we can make the body more comfortable in these extreme environments and allow the firefighters to perform their jobs with greater ability and under less stress from wearing poorly designed equipment.
We looked at other parts of our safety range where the clothing is trying to protect the wearer yet not be restrictive, and we were able to take some ideas from them on styling to reduce stress on the firefighter, and give the wearer a better experience
Minimising Friction on Stress Points
Our target was to minimise the friction on stress points in a firefighting situation, this started with the re-enforcing of contact areas with Arashield including padded shoulder harness braces to distribute weight evenly over the shoulders to compliment
SCBA equipment, shaped elbow reinforcing, reinforced abrasion resistant sleeve cuffs with water resistant FR neoprene sleeve wells and Nomex knit wristers with thumb loops, angled bellows pockets with Velcro closure, pocket flaps with AraShield pull tab for easy opening when wearing gloves.
Making Firefighting PPE Easier and Comfortable
The second step was to make the firefighting system easier and more confortable wear. This included the changing of the design to incorporate ergonomic aspects to improve the wear ability during a fire situation. The trousers were adjusted to include a contoured knee design to allow unrestricted movement along with a gusseted crutch for extra mobility. The jacket was shortened with an extended tail, under arm gussets allow free movement with minimal coat rise and a two piece shaped sleeve allows natural movement of the elbow.
The resulting design in the X-Series and E-Series Reinforced systems gives a higher level of protection to the wearer while at the same time providing better mobility and put less stress on the body of the wearer during any fire situation.
Elliotts is an Australian based designer, manufacturer and distributor of world-class quality safety gear servicing the Australasian market. Elliotts take care to only supply quality protective clothing and equipment that protect people from harm on a daily basis. Products include Specialist Safety Apparel, Welding & Workshop Protection, Gloves & Hand Protection, Safety Workwear & PPE for workers across industries including ELECTRICAL, MINING, OIL & GAS, WELDING & METAL FABRICATION, ALUMINIUM SMELTING, FIRE FIGHTING, CHEMICAL MANUFACTURING & CONSTRUCTION.
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