What requirements must modern protective firefighting clothing meet?
Emergency crews are confronted by a wide variety of hazardous situations on a daily basis. Heat, flames, water, razor-sharp protruding parts and falling masonry, etc. pose constant sources of danger in various scenarios. But also dangers arising from overheating and fatigue often test the limits of emergency personnel in such exceptional situations.
In order to ensure that high-performance protective clothing meets such technical requirements, Rosenbauer places great importance on practical tests and relevant examinations based on normative specifications before a new product is launched on the market.
Some of these norm requirements are necessary to permit a corresponding PPE product to be marketed for the protection of people: the price of admission – so-to-speak – for products that are designed to protect the health and life of the wearer. Other standard compliances, on the other hand, are bonuses intended to give the user or buyer of the clothing additional safety guarantees.
What do the different standard conformities of the FIRE FLEX mean?
Standard EN469 is essential for any firefighting clothing marketed in Europe. This standard specifies basic requirements for heat and flame resistance, heat protection, water resistance, breathability, etc. Here, FIRE FLEX exceeds all criteria established at the highest level.
In addition, the FIRE FLEX suit was also subjected to an absolute endurance test for flash-over resistance. In this process, a complete suit is fully exposed to full flame impingement for a duration of eight seconds, with sensors being used to determine the heat load on the body in order to determine the protective effect. (Better known by the term “ThermoMan test”). This test subjects both the individual and the protective materials to very high stresses, as can occur in extreme cases in real-life scenarios. The FIRE FLEX achieves excellent results, with an extremely high degree of protection in this test.
Another test to which the complete suit is subjected is the EN 14360 water resistance test. In this, the protective suit is subjected to one hour of intense irrigation, and then each square centimeter of the water-absorbent undergarment is tested to see if water has entered at any point. Again, our FIRE FLEX passes with flying colors, without a single weak point.
The FIRE FLEX is also tested against electrical arcs. What does this mean for the wearer? In the event of a current flashover, as is possible with applications in the vicinity of high-voltage systems, the wearer can trust that the suit is sufficiently protected against the thermal dangers of such an electrical arc (highest class!).
And finally, the FIRE FLEX is also certified in accordance with EN343. This standard defines protective clothing’s resilience to inclement weather; a stress it is repeatedly exposed to, as firefighting operations almost always occur (at least in part) outdoors. Here, too, the FIRE FLEX achieves the highest possible level of protection; both in terms of waterproofness on the one hand and breathability on the other.
These numerous tests and examinations provide emergency crews with the highest possible degree of safety, even in extreme situations.