Leading firefighters with West Midlands’ fire service have praised their newly acquired kit for introducing a “new era” in personal protective equipment.
Hainsworth® TITAN is being rolled out to all 39 community fire stations in the region.
Hainsworth® TITAN is a patented double cloth construction with Nomex® on the face to provide optimal UV stability, thermal protection, abrasion resistance and colour fastness, and Kevlar® on the back to provide strength and thermal integrity. The fabrics offer exceptional heat stress management capabilities as well as comfort, wear life and durability, heat and flame protection and chemical resistance.
Carl Batchelor, a Watch Commander with West Midlands Fire Service of 27 years’ experience said: “Firefighters are looking for flexibility when moving, wicking to draw away the moisture and sweat and something that performs really well in a hot, fire environment.
“The temperatures we experience are phenomenal – it is hotter than sitting in an oven when you cook your Sunday roast. We rely on our PPE. I always check I am properly dressed and that no skin is exposed. If conditions deteriorate we really rely on our kit until we can get out.
“Hainsworth® TITAN kit keeps me cool and prevents me from being a ‘boil in a bag’ casualty.
“The TITAN provides the flexibility whether I am in a fire situation which may be a short, sharp hit of 15 to 30 minutes or standing at a jet siphon for three or four hours in hot weather. Our kit provides comfort and flexibility of use.”
Carl said that should he or a colleague be caught in a flashover situation, their PPE would provide exactly the protection they required, commenting: “Should I ever be unfortunate enough to be in a flashover situation, my suit offers the protection to get out of the situation.”
Asked whether there was such a thing as a double flashover, Carl commented: “No. In a one room compartment fire everything would have combusted or released gasses and once it gets to its maximum potential it cannot happen again.”
Carl said that firefighting PPE had developed a lot over the years, but that Hainsworth® TITAN marked a new, exciting advance. The firefighter commented: “It offers greater protection, feels lighter in weight and has excellent wicking. It is a great all-rounder and marks a new era of firefighter kit.”
Charlotte Brandt, Sales Manager for Hainsworth Protectives, said: “The Hainsworth team is continually innovating and developing the best possible protective fabrics for today’s firefighters.
“We place a huge amount of emphasis on providing fire services with fabric solutions which combat heat stress – the biggest cause of firefighter injury and death worldwide – minimise the impact of UV degradation and ensure maximum durability and breathability.”
West Midlands Fire Service had worn Hainsworth® TITAN and chose to remain with the company after evaluating all options available on the market.
As part of ongoing improvements to PPE, West Midlands’ firefighters volunteered to take part in a rigorous testing programme to ensure the kit offered the best fit and personal protection. The kit was manufactured by Bristol Uniforms, a leading manufacturer of protective clothing.