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  • New Uniforms (Nomex vs Cotton)

    My department is looking at some very possible uniform changes. For our every duty day uniform we currently wear a short sleeve light blue zip down Poly shirt with a nametag and badge and poly dress pants with a light blue stripe down the leg. Think Emergency! If we aren't doing "dirty work" we must be in this uniform, same goes for all calls, especially EMS.

    We are looking at going to a navy zip down shirt on a navy pant and getting rid of the stripe. Not sure if we will keep the badge or go embroidery. The BIG question is do we go FR or 100% cotton. I know FR or Nomex is pricey up front but can last up to 4 years, thus saving in the long run. I also know it maintains a professional look but can also get warm in the summer (we are in Coastal Ga). With cotton, I'm worried about it fading, and also worried about appearance.

    Can I please get some input? Also include what brand you suggest! Thanks

  • #2
    Cotton is a lot more comfortable than Nomex, in my opinion. We're using Elbeco NFPA compliant at present. We tried some others including some in Nomex but they proved very unpopular.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
    sigpic
    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    • #3
      We use WorkRite nomex for our class b uniform. Don't really like them in the summer, the shirts seem hotter because of the dark color. I'd like to go back to the light blue Elbeco shirts. That being said, the workrite's take forever to fade and 10% bleach solution does not seem to hurt them.(found out by accident).
      They are, in my opinion, well worth the money. I have a pair of pants that will be seeing it's fifth year of service, far better than the Frisco's, Ben Davis, Dickies, or even the Flecheimer(sp?) that we've been through.
      IAFF

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      • #4
        Nomex is nice, though hot as hell in the summer. But it does last longer than other fabrics, fade wise. I had uniforms that were going on five and six years use when I was a paid firefighter with Dalton. Also, go with the badge patches for you class B uniform. Less upkeep, your nice badges won't get scratched up, and you can also get name tapes done too to keep your nameplates shiny for your alphas. Not to mention you don't have all that heavy shiny crap tugging at your shirt all day.
        Last edited by firefightinirish217; 03-25-2011, 08:34 PM.

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        • #5
          How much fire protection do the FR or Nomex add?

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          • #6
            I've worn both and in my opinion nomex is the way to go. They do hold there color much better, plus they typically have a permanent crease in the pants. The trick is to pull them out of the dryer while still warm and hang them up. The initial cost is higher but you'll get more years of service from them. I also think that they are cooler to wear in the summer vs. cotton.

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            • #7
              When I first started with my department in 2006, Elbeco was the cool thing to wear. Wore brand E for the first 3 years of my career then switched to Propper. The Elbecos never held up well and faded fast. Same with the Proppers. After my cargo pocket wearing fase I figured I would try Elbeco's 4 pocket pants...and they suck too. Faded fast, threads coming loose and belt loops broke just from having the "strain" of a radio strap put on them.

              I suggest you try some Nomex. The extra protection is great but the longevity makes them worth it. I wish it was illegal for fire departments to wear poly blend uniforms. Just doesn't make sense.
              Career Firefighter
              Volunteer Captain

              -Professional in Either Role-

              Originally posted by Rescue101
              I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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              • #8
                Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone was very helpful! Another suggestion was going to Polo shirts. Any thoughts?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rice09 View Post
                  How much fire protection do the FR or Nomex add?
                  You will still get burned if it gets hot enough however it won't melt to your skin like the blended stuff or flash like cotton.
                  IAFF

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                  • #10
                    We use the Topps apparel Nomex, all navy. We were using a blend all navy that in the summer as soon as you got off the truck you were looking for a shaded place to keep from scorching. In the Topps nomex it actually is much much cooler than what we tried on FR cotton.
                    Am I being effective in my efforts or am I merely showing up in my fireman costume to watch a house burn down?” (Joe Brown, www.justlookingbusy.wordpress.com)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by snowball View Post
                      You will still get burned if it gets hot enough however it won't melt to your skin like the blended stuff or flash like cotton.
                      Sounds helpful. Do you know if it adds to the time you have in terms of time in a involved fire enviroment? Like turnout gear is rated for like 15 minutes etc...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Rice09 View Post
                        Sounds helpful. Do you know if it adds to the time you have in terms of time in a involved fire enviroment? Like turnout gear is rated for like 15 minutes etc...
                        ahhhh.... that will be 0 seconds. Radiant heat will be the issue in penetration inside the gear and when you can look through the a shirt and read a paper... you do the math..
                        Am I being effective in my efforts or am I merely showing up in my fireman costume to watch a house burn down?” (Joe Brown, www.justlookingbusy.wordpress.com)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Capt387 View Post
                          ahhhh.... that will be 0 seconds. Radiant heat will be the issue in penetration inside the gear and when you can look through the a shirt and read a paper... you do the math..
                          Gotcha, i thought there might be some kind of under shirt, etc that could provide a little more protection. But, your point makes sense. Thanks.

                          It would be nice to have some type of uniform or even a everyday type shirt that could give you a little more. Of course we're talking some serious heat, lol.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Rice09 View Post
                            Gotcha, i thought there might be some kind of under shirt, etc that could provide a little more protection. But, your point makes sense. Thanks.

                            It would be nice to have some type of uniform or even a everyday type shirt that could give you a little more. Of course we're talking some serious heat, lol.
                            I'm of the mindset as to why nomex uniforms. You're not going to be fighting any type of fire in them alone. At night we are in our gear in shorts and a t shirt. Seems a bit redundant. I do have to say that I don't have to purchase pants or a class b shirt anywhere close to often as the old uniforms so there is a definite savings in the long run.
                            IAFF

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                            • #15
                              Using the FR stuff looks good on paper however like it has been stated here before numerous times all it is going to do is not melt to your skin.
                              That being said. If Your in something that hot that it is coming through your gear your going to get burned anyways. Frankly I do not think there is anything wrong with a 5.11 Polo uniform shirt with embroidery on it and the 5.11 Fire pants.

                              just My 2 cents and all
                              Do not let the ghosts of our fallen brothers gaze upon you and ask " What have you done to my profession?" FTB DTRT EGH

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