Firefighters: Is your station wear helping or potentially hurting you?

Key takeaways from this article:

•      Bulwark Protection's Derek Sang highlights the dangers of firefighters wearing polyester as daily station wear.

•      Evidence indicates polyester can melt in real-world flashover situations.

•      A systematic Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) approach begins with the layer closest to the skin.

•      Many firefighters wear non-compliant station wear, which may include meltable fibers.

•      NFPA 1975 standards support natural fibers like cotton, which don't melt.

•      Two-thirds of career firefighters opt against NFPA 1975-compliant station wear.

•      Real-world factors, such as pre-heating gear, can affect the effectiveness of turnout gear.

•      Sang emphasizes a systems approach: every layer should be flame-resistant, from base layers up.

•      Goal: Ensure every clothing layer protects against thermal energy and avoids meltable materials.

In this video, Bulwark Protection’s Technical Training Manager Derek Sang discusses why firefighters might think wearing polyesters as day-to-day station wear is no big deal—but how misguided that notion can be. Derek references known turnout gear safety data as well as evidence that proves in real-world flashover conditions, your base layer of polyester performance fabric can easily reach the point of melting. So a systems approach to PPE for firefighters, starting with the layer closest to the skin, makes so much more sense.