Thread: PPE material?

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    Default PPE material?

    My south MS volunteer dept is almost ready to buy wildland jumpsuits/coveralls for its troops. Our wildland jobs are frequent, but small, and AFAIK everyone in the region fights fire in either structural gear or jeans & T-shirts. We hope to decrease the incidence of heat-related injuries, as well as increase the service life of our bunker gear by using the jumpsuits as both wildland and extrication/rescue PPE.

    The sticking point of the day is treated cotton vs Nomex. Can anyone advise us of the pros and cons of each? Durability, resistance to abrasion & tearing, breathability & comfort? Right now we are looking at Chieftain. Any comments?

    Thanks,
    Barry

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    Barry,

    My only experience with treated cotton is a wildland jacket I got for payment from a freind. I prefer Nomex. My department furnishes us both nomex coveralls and/or pants and jackets. Some wear the coveralls while most wear the pants and jackets. I have both but very seldom wear either. I wear advance or nomex, I have both, wildland fire pants and a nomex shirt (yellows and greens) most of the time rather than the coveralls or over-pants and jacket (much cooler).

    The treated cotton is stiffer and heavier, takes longer to dry, and traps more body heat. I wear my treated cotton jacket on cooler night fires over my nomex. I have heard, but have no first hand knowledge, that the treated cotton takes longer for the heat to soak thru until you begin to feel a burn but also takes much longer to cool off once you start to burn. You have to remove the garmet to stop the burn.

    Nomex is lighter weight, breathes better, dries faster, and is softer to the touch. Nomex cools as soon as the heat souce is removed. I really do not know how they compare as far as durablity. We have a couple of firefighters that keep burning the bottoms of their nomex pant legs. I do not know if treated cotton would be better or worse in this case.

    Our coveralls are mainly 6 oz nomex Western Shelter brand because we got them for the GSA price when we bought the first coveralls years ago. Our nomex wildland jackets and pants are mostly Veridian Limited brand because they were low bid.

    My suggestion is to find a sales rep that will let your department try both a nomex and a treated cotton coveralls so you can judge for yourself.

    Brad

    PS, Get the reflective trim. We have some coveralls without. The reflecive trim makes firefighters so much more visible even on a sunny day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bacfire

    The sticking point of the day is treated cotton vs Nomex. Can anyone advise us of the pros and cons of each? Durability, resistance to abrasion & tearing, breathability & comfort? Right now we are looking at Chieftain. Any comments?

    Thanks,
    Barry
    Biggest sticking point between treated cotton (like Indura) and Nomex or Advance is that treated cotton is just that--treated. Enough wear and washing (or a few careless washings by uneducated friends/family members, like using bleach), and eventually the treatment washes out. Then you have a really expensive cotton suit.
    Nomex/Advance are both inherently flame resistant--you can't wash the resistancy out of those garments.
    Personally, if you have the $$, I'd recommend Advance wildland gear. It's physically tougher than Nomex ripstop in almost every respect, and several different manufacturers have begun producing Advance wildland gear. I'd look at that front before making a final decision.

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    You might look into kevlar as well.
    It is alot pricier in the short term but lasts alot longer than nomex or cotton and will end up saving you money in the long run.

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    Thanks for the input, guys. Looks like we'll be in Chieftain deluxe nomex jumpsuits. I haven't been able to find jumpsuits in Advance, but I doubt the money would be there for them anyhow. They've pretty much capped it at $250 each.

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    bacfire,

    did you rule out going with the individual pants/shirt combo vs. jumpsuit?

    The 2 piece gives you more flexibility with fit, and if say the leg cuffs wear out, you only need to replace the pants vs. the whole jumpsuit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bacfire
    Thanks for the input, guys. Looks like we'll be in Chieftain deluxe nomex jumpsuits. I haven't been able to find jumpsuits in Advance, but I doubt the money would be there for them anyhow. They've pretty much capped it at $250 each.
    Yeah...$250 wouldn't even buy you an Advance coat, at least not any of the models I've seen. Would be great if you guys had a little more $$ for your gear, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RxFire
    bacfire,

    did you rule out going with the individual pants/shirt combo vs. jumpsuit?

    The 2 piece gives you more flexibility with fit, and if say the leg cuffs wear out, you only need to replace the pants vs. the whole jumpsuit.

    Yeah. I personally favor the pant/coat, but the vast majority want jumpsuits. Probably some perceived "cool" factor more than anything else.

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    "jeans and T-shirt" or "structural gear"? Wake up dude. This is almost 2007.
    Even small podunk FD's have to follow guidelines nowadays. Come on!

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    Quote Originally Posted by devildog4
    "jeans and T-shirt" or "structural gear"? Wake up dude. This is almost 2007.
    Even small podunk FD's have to follow guidelines nowadays. Come on!
    Well one would think.... but we still see it, time after time.
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    "still see it, time after time"? In this day and age? Truely unbelievable!
    What Fire Chief would allow that? What Firefighter would do that?

    If that is what a bunch of backwoods, backwards, country-bumpkin, hick, uneducated, ignorant folks do, than I guess they are just too dumb to be helped.

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    I forgot to mention the personal legal liability the Fire Chief or Fire Dept could be held to if they were found not to provide proper PPE or documented wildland fire training...Truely unbelievable. I am going to have nightmares when I go to sleep tonight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by devildog4
    "jeans and T-shirt" or "structural gear"? Wake up dude. This is almost 2007.
    Even small podunk FD's have to follow guidelines nowadays. Come on!
    Now thats funny..... You should come down to South Arkansas. Thats how we fight house fires. lol...... NFPA, whats that??????

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    firegighter7160:

    I thought you guys down there wore shorts and flip-flops to fires! (with a beer can in one hand)

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    Gotta have cowboy boots. Flip-flops get yer toe hairs all burnt up when yer stompin' out the big 'uns.

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