Why is Flame Resistant Stationwear important for Firefighters?
THE IMPORTANCE OF WEARING FLAME-RESISTANT (FR) STATION WEAR
For many industries, flame-resistant (FR) clothing has been widely adopted as a means of protecting employees from burn injury or even death. However, while the fire service community takes firefighter safety very seriously, it is estimated that only a quarter of fire departments require flame-resistant station wear. Instead, the majority of fire departments wear either cotton or synthetic uniforms underneath their turnout gear. FR station wear should be considered an integral part of every firefighter’s personal protective equipment (PPE) – clothing designed to be worn continuously in designated locations where intermittent exposure to radiant heat and flame is possible.
- WHY DO I ALSO NEED FR STATION WEAR IF I ALREADY WEAR TURNOUT GEAR?
The proper selection of PPE is very important, and it doesn’t stop at your turnout gear. A systems approach: building your PPE from the inside out, is essential in maximizing fire fighter safety. Stationwear and the material from which it is made has the potential to contribute to fire fighter burn injury. Ultimately, under today’s conditions, firefighters fight fires about 10% of the time. The other 90% of the time they’re called on for nonfire hazards and technical rescue responsibilities, including roadway incidents, vehicle extrication, medical emergencies, hazmat, urban search and rescue, high/low angle rescue, swiftwater rescue and flood rescue. For many of these responses, typical structural PPE is not utilized or may be doffed mid-operation. However, the threat of an accidental thermal incident may still exist, making FR station wear a critical layer of protection for firefighter safety.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT STATION WEAR
- COTTON - Unlike FR fabrics, cotton, although acceptable under NFPA® 1975, is a fuel and can ignite if exposed to an ignition source, ultimately contributing to firefighter burn injury.
- SYNTHETICS - Although synthetic or synthetic blend fabrics are not compliant with NFPA® 1975, for many fire departments uniforms made from synthetic fabrics are still the station wear fabrics of choice. Unlike FR fabrics, synthetics easily melt, drip and can unnecessarily add to firefighter injury.
FLAME-RESISTANT CLOTHING IS:
- Engineered to self-extinguish upon removal of the ignition source.
- Made from natural or synthetic fabrics, like other clothing.
- Designed to limit (not eliminate) burn injury.
- Made to provide an additional layer of protection when incorporated with primary PPE and a minimal layer of protection when worn as the outermost layer.
Firefighters deserve a uniform that puts forward the same level of dedication as they do. That’s why we are proud to be a full-line distributor of Workrite® Fire Service apparel and uniforms for firefighters. Workrite Fire Service delivers protection without compromise. Workrite station wear garments offer an added layer of NFPA® 1975-compliant flame-resistant (FR) protection with features that go beyond providing comfort to ensuring confidence. Workrite, the recognized leader in FR station wear, is now under the Bulwark® Protection umbrella. Thank-you to Workrite Fire Service for providing this helpful information. Please contact us with any questions or if we can provide technical data, specs, or other information that may help you select the best stationwear for your fire department.