May 24, 2018

Innovating Protective Fire Services Clothing

Innovating Protective Fire Services Clothing

As a firefighter, your work is unpredictable. You never know when you’re going to get the call. Your job is to be at the ready no matter what the situation or time of day. You expect protection and comfort in your gear. Your attire must convey authority and professionalism while allowing the public you protect to identify you at a glance as a professional member of an emergency services team. With all of these factors taken into consideration, the members of the Edmonton Fire Rescue Services entrusted SPI Health and Safety with the mandate of designing a job shirt tailored specifically to their needs.

In early 2016, SPI Health and Safety and partner supplier Lion Protective Apparel (Starfield Lion) accepted this undertaking and was fully prepared to facilitate the process of producing a customized garment solution that would surpass all options currently available in the market. The process could not have started without a full and comprehensive understanding of the challenges that were present for the department regarding various competitor versions of this type of product. What was the audacious goal for this garment that we wanted to achieve? This question needed to be answered before the next step could begin - prototyping.

After thorough communication between the various stakeholders, the vision of the finished product began to quickly materialize. This product needed to first be an FR product, have a longer wear life, better color retention, and accommodate wearers with a variety of donning and doffing options. It needed to maintain a professional appearance, as well as provide warmth during our harsh winter months in Alberta. With these parameters set as the end goal of the features of this garment, the prototype and testing phase could now commence.

Rigorous testing of fabrics began by Lion Protective Apparel, including over a hundred washes to confirm tint retention and fabric life. This material needed to be NFPA approved as well as be the most durable in the market. Design templates began and included the necessary features to ensure a quality fit: invisible front full length zipper closures in place of the ¼ zip models more commonly available, reinforced pockets for increased resistance, seams designed to reduce skin friction and irritation, and detachable working epaulets for maximum adjustment for all body types. The design needed to have the highest comfort level available for all firefighters wearing the garment, regardless of their height, weight, shape, size, and gender. Finally after multiple iterations, it was ready to be trialed in the field. The Edmonton Fire Rescue Services team was able to provide their feedback on prototypes and adjustments to the prototypes were incorporated prior to full production to ensure their expectations were met impeccably.

Christmas 2017 came, and we were ready. It was time to deliver the finished product to the firefighters. With a significant amount of enthusiasm from the Edmonton Fire Rescue Services’ teams, the initial order of this new product was very quickly determined to be a tremendous success. SPI Health and Safety has been able to collaborate with Lion Apparel to ensure that this exclusive product would be made available not only to the Edmonton Fire Rescue Services team, but that this innovation in the industry would be available to other fire departments faced with the same challenges. SPI Health and Safety continues to strive to be able to provide innovative solutions in all industries we serve.

If you are interested in learning more about this product, contact us and someone will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

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