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Uniform shirt requirements

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  • Uniform shirt requirements

    So we are looking into getting new uniform shirts for our department, and one of the things I have been asked to look into is NFPA 1975. I found a article https://www.firerescue1.com/fire-pro...ication-means/ that explained some things, but I also found a vendor https://www.theunityems.com who claimed they have designed a better shirt that is more functional for EMS, especially compared to the old cotton shirts. Since we run a ton of EMS calls, I was thinking maybe we could use them too

    The article says you don't need to get shirts that are NFPA 1975 compliant, but the standard calls for all natural fibers, which most departments equate to 100% cotton T shirts or polo shirts. However, anyone who has ever been in a sweat soaked shirt under gear knows how uncomfortable it gets, and all my running gear and underarmor is not 100% cotton.

    plus, I heard that the reason why don't want any polyester or synthetic fibers is because if it gets too hot it can melt to your body; but if ti's getting so hot that your clothing is melting, are you really able to survive in that heat? your body can only handle so much heat before it ends up baked.

    anyone have any advice or can you help point me into the right areas?
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

    FF/EMT/DBP

  • #2
    Add to your research the melting points of the synthetic fibers and the potential temperatures inside your gear. Granted, if it's that hot, your chances of survival diminish greatly, but getting what's left of that fabric peeled off your burned body will not be a pleasant experience if you do survive.

    Any soaked garments under your bunker gear are going to be uncomfortable.

    I did a quick search for the product those folks are selling (Chitosante), but could find nothing about its fire resistance.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have always been a bit amused at the melting point argument for clothing under turnout gear. The melting point of polyester is 482 degrees Fahrenheit. Human skin develops 1st degree burns at 118 degrees F, 2nd degree at 131 degrees F, and third degree at roughly 162 degrees F. So in fact you would be injured, and maybe even dead due to thermal injuries before your 50/50 t-shirt melted. Am I against natural fiber T-shirts? Not at all. I can say however that the only place I have ever been forced to wear cotton T-shirts, Nomex uniform pants (UnGodly hot, stiff, and miserable in the summer), and cotton FR uniforn shirts, was when I worked for the military. With only one other exception every other department I have been on has worn 50/50 t-shirts.
      Crazy, but that's how it goes
      Millions of people living as foes
      Maybe it's not too late
      To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, there you go!
        Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

        Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by tree68 View Post
          Well, there you go!

          That's it? Come on man let's have a spirited discussion. Like the NFPA requires natural fiber or fire resistive material clothing under your turnouts. BUT, how do we insure that volunteers will meet that requirement when they respond to a call? Do we require them to keep natural fiber or fire resistive clothing in their locker at the station and make them change before they respond?
          Crazy, but that's how it goes
          Millions of people living as foes
          Maybe it's not too late
          To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

          Comment


          • #6
            Well, first you need to let the volunteers know the standard even exists.

            Around here the predominant attire is jeans and a t-shirt, and maybe a sweatshirt. The brand name jobshirt I"m wearing right now says it's 82% cotton (I asked it - I have no reason to doubt it's word), with the rest polyester. So while there is some polyester involved, the predominant fiber is cotton.

            Fortunately, leisure suits are a thing of the past...

            That said, if a department wanted to abide by the standard, then keeping at least suitable shirts in lockers would be a reasonable request. And for night responses from home, when most folks have to get dressed anyhow, firefighters could be requested to wear appropriate clothing.

            Areas where the responders may be more likely to be wearing synthetics (office workers, etc) would be more of a problem. Overalls could be provided, but then you need at least a modicum of privacy, and a method for securing valuables. Then there's the delay involved in stripping and donning the overalls.

            Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

            Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by tree68 View Post
              Well, first you need to let the volunteers know the standard even exists.

              Around here the predominant attire is jeans and a t-shirt, and maybe a sweatshirt. The brand name jobshirt I"m wearing right now says it's 82% cotton (I asked it - I have no reason to doubt it's word), with the rest polyester. So while there is some polyester involved, the predominant fiber is cotton.

              Fortunately, leisure suits are a thing of the past...

              That said, if a department wanted to abide by the standard, then keeping at least suitable shirts in lockers would be a reasonable request. And for night responses from home, when most folks have to get dressed anyhow, firefighters could be requested to wear appropriate clothing.

              Areas where the responders may be more likely to be wearing synthetics (office workers, etc) would be more of a problem. Overalls could be provided, but then you need at least a modicum of privacy, and a method for securing valuables. Then there's the delay involved in stripping and donning the overalls.
              We can't get people to shave and now we are supposed to tell them what clothes to wear!!

              Like I was told by one of my department officers "Remember we are just volunteers...It's not like it is our career."


              Crazy, but that's how it goes
              Millions of people living as foes
              Maybe it's not too late
              To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

              Comment


              • #8
                ................
                Last edited by Jasper 45; 04-12-2018, 09:37 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I will not dispute your opinion but the Nomex uniform pants I wore for the military were hot, uncomfortable and stiff. I won't disagree that they looked good and lasted forever. Heck my kid wore them for years after I quit the airport.

                  What part of your station uniform is Nomex, because the pants you guys used to wear were Dickey's which I believe are polyester blend.

                  The wicking thing is an interesting concept. Cotton t-shirts absorb sweat and stay wet the entire time turn out gear is on. Seems like a perfect storm for a steam burn.
                  Crazy, but that's how it goes
                  Millions of people living as foes
                  Maybe it's not too late
                  To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by FyredUp View Post
                    The wicking thing is an interesting concept. Cotton t-shirts absorb sweat and stay wet the entire time turn out gear is on. Seems like a perfect storm for a steam burn.
                    I'm no expert on such sportswear, but I would think that even if the base layer wicks sweat away from the body, it's gotta go somewhere.

                    Went to a lecture some years ago by a fellow whose gear didn't get dried out on the inside before he went to another fire where he got caught in a flashover which boiled him like a lobster. And I've certainly been to incidents where my gear got wetter on the inside than on the outside...

                    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      ............

                      .
                      Last edited by Jasper 45; 04-12-2018, 09:36 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jasper 45 View Post

                        Well, what I wear and is actually in the notice might be two different things...I have always put my personal safety above numbered notices...take that for what it's worth...the actual authorized uniform is a 100% cotton variation...what I can tell you from first hand experience, believe it or not is that the Nomex pants and shirt are comfortable, breathable and what I recommend from health and performance, or both...



                        I don't know anything about steam burns...perhaps...but, the cotton could prevent the wicking from helping the body in cooling off...the goal of turnout gear is to get both heat and moisture from the skin to the air and reduce heat fatigue...

                        .
                        No need to get confrontational. I said I wasn't questioning your opinion of YOUR Nomex station wear. What I did say was that the Nomex pants we had between 1991 and 1998 were heavy, hot, and stiff. They did last forever, in fact in 7 years I never wore out a pair while working there.

                        Cotton fails miserably at keeping moisture off the body. It gets wet with sweat and stays wet until your gear comes off.

                        Stay safe Brother.
                        Crazy, but that's how it goes
                        Millions of people living as foes
                        Maybe it's not too late
                        To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tree68 View Post
                          I'm no expert on such sportswear, but I would think that even if the base layer wicks sweat away from the body, it's gotta go somewhere.

                          Went to a lecture some years ago by a fellow whose gear didn't get dried out on the inside before he went to another fire where he got caught in a flashover which boiled him like a lobster. And I've certainly been to incidents where my gear got wetter on the inside than on the outside...
                          How can a guy tell exactly how or why he got burned? I would think a flashover will burn you because the gear is not designed to protect against that level of heat. I would also think the moisture IN the skin would boil (or heat up) just as quickly as the moisture ON the skin (or in the gear).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by captnjak View Post
                            How can a guy tell exactly how or why he got burned? I would think a flashover will burn you because the gear is not designed to protect against that level of heat. I would also think the moisture IN the skin would boil (or heat up) just as quickly as the moisture ON the skin (or in the gear).
                            It's been a while. As I recall, his gear was quite damp/wet on the inside from the previous call. He had laid it out, inside out, to dry, at least until the next alarm came in.

                            If the gear is dry, then the thermal barrier can do it's job. Granted, if it gets hot enough, you'll get burned. The fellow with him ran the Rockland County, NY flashover simulator. Firefighters get so hot in the simulator that SOP is that you don't take ANYTHING off until you get cooled off. The outer liner may be several hundred degrees.

                            The wetness of the liner defeated the protective properties of the thermal barrier, conducting the heat from the flashover straight through from the outer liner to the skin.

                            A reverse to that would be sleeping with a dry sheet for cover vs a wet sheet.
                            Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                            Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                            Comment

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