Is there a gear manufacturer that has ANSI class II (or III for that matter) compliant turnout gear? Why aren't we seeing this yet? Is there something in the ANSI standard I am missing that precludes turnout gear from meeting the standard?
I am trying to figure out why this isn't being done. With the federal mandate that came out, you would think that they could make more money by offering compliant gear so that we would not have to worry about whether or not we have our vests on.
Somehow I don't see gear manufacturer's rushing off to design NFPA compliant gear that also meets the ANSI standard for traffic vests. The two sets of criteria aren't exactly compatible.
It's not as if it's all that difficult to select which PPE is appropriate for which activities.
Last night in my EMT class, the instructor said that turnout gear is equivalent to safety vests. But it's county policy to wear the safety vests in traffic and some other situations, as he pointed out, and as he also pointed out, once you're in turnout gear, anyway, does adding a vest really mean anything? It's not going to make you warmer, it's not going to impede motion, etc., so what's the big deal in putting it on.
Since ANSI doesn't publicly and freely publish exactly what the standards actually are, it's difficult to say about the equivalence. I think that some turnout gear (depending on trim options chosen) has more square inches of retro-reflective trim than an ANSI Class II vest. I believe the ANSI specs also require a certain amount of bright but non-retro-reflective color, i.e. the day-glo lime green or orange. If turnout gear can't be certified to at least the Class II spec, perhaps this is where they fail, because some trim options clearly have more than enough reflective trim.
I post this not out of laziness and refusing to wear a vest. In my department, we always wear one when there is any possibility of meeting the requirements of 23 CFR Part 634. This is so that we are as safe as possible. Years ago our neighboring department lost a member due to low visibility and we have since been very cognisant of being visible.
There are other posts in these forums as to when we are supposed to wear vests or not. I would think that it would simplify the decision if it were possible to purchase gear that is ANSI compliant. I would hope that we could all agree that none of us are trying to hide when wearing our gear, so why wouldn't we want to meet these requirements?
Again, I think the technical reason is that I suspect the ANSI requirement includes a certain amount of non-reflective bright day-glo color. Although some turnout gear comes in bright colors, I have never seen any that were actually fluorescent. That is the only reason I can think of, unless it's just that no turnout manufacturer has ever thought, or bothered, to submit their gear to ANSI for testing under that standard.
Originally Posted by HuntPA
I don't know for sure, but perhaps there are technical reasons why turnout gear cannot be made with fluorescent or "day-glo" outer layers.
But I agree, it would be great if it could be done.
Several reasons and my bet is NEITHER of you two will see it in your lifetimes.ONE is Contrasting color: IE flourescent Green or Orange with corresponding stripes. Would last about a week in a busy company. Second is EXPENSE to maintain that contrast on TO gear. Just wear your vest and be happy,the LAW will change next year anyway. T.C.