New materials allow the use of softshell jackets as protective clothing for firefighters for the first time. The German company S-GARD has developed such a jacket and is presenting it to the international public at Intersec.
Protective clothing is intended to protect firefighters from moisture, heat and injuries during operations. When selecting suitable suits, many fire brigades have so far proceeded according to the principle of ‘one for all’. Due to the materials used and their multiple equipment details, such protective suits are often bulky and heavy and thus offer only limited movement options. In many operations, firefighters wished for lighter and more flexible protective clothing. Lower weight, more freedom of movement and greater breathability mean less heat stress and less fatigue for firefighters, in addition to greater wearing comfort.
Therefore fire brigades and industry have been rethinking their approach in recent years. On the manufacturer’s side, the materials are becoming thinner and lighter, the cuts more sophisticated and more motion-friendly, and there are more and more special protective suits for specific purposes. The fire brigades themselves are also focusing more on comfort and freedom of movement when it comes to choosing the right clothing for their operations.
Softshells are hard to beat in these terms. Although, up to now, they have not appeared as certified protective clothing for firefighters. This is about to change. New materials now allow softshells to also be used by fire brigades – not only as comfortable daytime service clothing but as fully fledged operational protective clothing. The world’s first protective jacket of this kind was recently presented. It is called FLAMESHELL and was developed by the German manufacturer S-GARD. The jacket combines the wearing properties of a softshell with the protective qualities of a flame-resistant firefighting jacket.
The FLAMESHELL is certified according to EN 469:2020, Class 1 for protective firefighting clothing and as such approved for all firefighting operations – including fire operations. The only exception is structural firefighting. The outer shell consists of a special highly elastic aramid viscose fabric. It is flame-resistant, waterproof and highly breathable. This makes a positive impact in the field, especially through noticeably greater mobility and better temperature equalisation, which also significantly reduces the risk of heat stress caused by overheating of the body.
The cut and features of the jacket are optimised for firefighting operations. This includes a high-closing stand-up collar with a chin guard as well as an adjustable radio pocket (MAXFLEX). The jacket also has a slanted breast pocket with flap and two side pockets with covered zips. The elbow sections, which are subject to particular wear and tear, are provided with an abrasion-resistant ceramic coating. This replaces the usual doubling up of material in these areas, which not only saves weight but makes the jacket much more flexible than other operational jackets due to the thinner material in these areas. The manufacturer also uses segmented reflective trims, which have several advantages. On the one hand, they increase the warning effect and thus ensure even better visibility in difficult lighting conditions. On the other hand, these details also increase the jacket’s mobility.
All in all, then, this is a promising concept that can significantly improve the comfort of firefighters in a wide range of operations. For all those who would like to take a closer look at the model, the upcoming Intersec offers a good opportunity to do so. There, S-GARD will present the new type of emergency jacket to an international audience for the first time.
New lifejacket facilitates the rescue of trapped persons
With the help of the new SWANGARD lifejacket, the injured person can be quickly and safely immobilised and rescued with the help of a spineboard through the rear of the vehicle.
The rescue of injured people trapped in a vehicle after a traffic accident is often an extremely stressful situation for the emergency services and the persons to be rescued themselves. The physical and emotional strain on the rescuers is likewise often extraordinarily high in such situations. A new type of lifejacket now facilitates the rescue of trapped persons via the rear of the vehicle, saving valuable time.
The SWANGARD lifejacket stabilises the patient’s shoulders, upper body and arms, thus facilitating rescue with the spineboard. It is placed around the shoulders, upper body and arms of the injured person and fixed in place. With two straps attached to the waistcoat, the casualty can then – without further assistance from helpers – be fixed to vehicle parts, for example the steering wheel, in a stable position until access from behind is possible with the spineboard. With long loop straps also attached to the waistcoat, the injured person can then be gently pulled onto the spineboard and rescued from the vehicle.
The new lifejacket is light, easy to put on and stable. It protects the patient and enables a faster and significantly easier rescue of trapped accident victims. It can also be used for other purposes, such as pulling an injured person out of a building. It is patented and will be available from the German manufacturer of firefighter protective clothing S-GARD from December 2021.
For more information, go to www.s-gard.de