PPE round-up

Published:  02 April, 2009

Belgium-based manufacturer of protective clothing Sioen Industries has launched a number of innovative products to make marine/flood emergency response safer both for firefighters and rescue organisations.

First off is a Mullion-branded life jacket that has been specifically designed with firefighters in mind. Three versions of the new firefighter’s life jacket are available, and the premium version has a number of features that are certain to turn heads.
All the life jackets are heavily branded with firefighters’ colours, and the premium version even has integral LEDs so emergency responders can be spotted even in the darkest operations.

The new life jackets also carry new features to conform with the latest ISO norms. The dual point indicator mechanism allows users to ascertain if a life jacket has been fired or if there is a fault – without having to open up the unit. Andrew Braimbridge of Sioen UK and Mullion explains, “A window on the outside bears two green marks – if one of them shows in red it means it has been fired and not recharged or the gas bottle or cartridge may have worked loose.” Braimbridge adds that a clever service indicator on the front of the jacket clearly indicates when a unit was last inspected, through the use of colour-coded laminated cards (e.g. for 2009 they are blue, 2010 red etc) with the month of inspection punctured.

For emergency responders in potentially explosive atmospheres Sioen has also unveiled an anti-static life jacket for use in ATEX areas. “Under ATEX regulations you are not allowed to cover an FR anti-static jacket with a non antistatic product, so we decided to work on a solution. We’ve used special fabrics, buckles and webbing to make the life jacket FR and antistatic. It may look the same as a normal life jacket but it is revolutionary, and we believe is truly unique.”

Another new PPE innovation is the Safequip Rescue Pro personal flotation device (PFD), described by Sioen as “the ultimate technical rescue vest for all types of water borne operations”. Key features include a hardwearing ripstop Cordura outershell, built in harness with quick release, two Velcro attached pockets with drainage and clips, fitted lash tabs for a light/rescue knife, and two plastic rings for throw bag attachment etc. “The Safequip is ideal for flood rescue scenarios, and indeed we found out in January that it has been chosen by Firebuy – alongside our lifejackets and throwing lines – to be part of a Framework agreement for all of the UK’s fire brigades,” said Braimbridge.

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