Monday, May 21, 2012

2 Keys to Turnout Gear


While its vitally important to prioritize heat protection when choosing turnout gear, its also important to remember added layers of protection can make turnouts much less comfortable and less breathable.  Too much protection can come at the cost of your ability to move and perform optimally.

Its a constant battle to find the right balance of Comfort and Protection when producing turnout gear for firefighters.  In fact, the TPACC (Textile Protection and Comfort Center) at NC State specializes in researching how these competing attributes can be balanced.  Take a look at their site for more in-depth research.


Structural Firefighting often incurs direct flame contact in bursts of 3 - 10 seconds.  Whereas Wildland Firefighting often incurs indirect radiant heat exposure over several minutes.  So the thermal protective performance of flame-resistant fabrics and fibers in turnout gear needs to be evaluated differently.

Keep this in mind when you go to choose your own turnout gear.  Consider the uniqueness of the fire conditions you'll be facing.  Find out how other firefighters have managed these factors when choosing their turnout gear.

Ask your turnout gear supplier for information about how their turnouts will perform in different conditions.  Its likely to be an active wildfire season, be informed when choosing your turnout gear!

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