Crucial Components to Lessening Firefighter Fatigue

As health and safety awareness is becoming a more prominent issue within the firefighting community, there still seems to be one thing that keeps getting left out of the media headlines. Firefighting has been named one of the most stressful jobs, and it’s not just those mentally/emotionally draining bad calls or “office politics” that are contributing to that stress. According to NFPA, the #1 cause of on-duty deaths & injuries in firefighters is overexertion, cardiovascular stress and fatigue (1).

Recent innovations have been introduced that directly focus on reducing cardiovascular stress and fatigue in firefighters. The mere act of getting ready to respond to a fire starts the flow of endorphins, heightens all the senses, and begins a stressful process on the cardiovascular system. Additionally, structural firefighting gear is intrinsically thick and heavy with layers designed to protect the wearer from direct flame and extreme heat, and as a result, contributes to the stresses and fatigues that a firefighter experiences (2). For years (and by following the minimum requirements set by NFPA), firefighters have been opting for oversized turnout gear to ensure full coverage and protection. Oversized gear may be providing you protection from external factors, such as fire – but internally it’s causing you more harm than good. Now that turnout gear innovations have advanced, you can perform your job more safely and effectively than ever before.

As one of WFR’s exclusive vendors, Fire-Dex is committed to keeping firefighters safe and engineers all of their products with this in mind.

Finding the Right Fit for You:

  • Athletic Fit Turnout Gear – Turnout gear inherently inhibits the wearer’s ability to move freely and Fire-Dex’s Ultimate gear cut is specifically engineered to minimize that effect, utilized in our new Ultimate Edge Gear Spec. It is the only gear in the industry utilizing Active Posture Design™ (APD) (2). APD is a collection of design elements that are specifically designed to minimize firefighter stress and fatigue, focusing on achieving firefighter comfort and mobility through design rather than by oversizing the garment, thereby reducing material and bulkiness (2). Think of it as athletic wear for firefighting: you wouldn’t workout at the gym in layers of bulky t-shirts, would you? You want something tailored to the fit of your body that’s going to provide you the ultimate comfort and fit you need to perform at your best and move freely without restrictions. APD gets the firefighter in the ready position with design features targeting the center point of a typical firefighter’s full range of motion, thus eliminating the need to fight the gear (2). For more information on why fit is important and how to find your “right fit”: Firefighter turnout gear: Why fit is important

Innovations with your Health in Mind:

  • TECGEN® PPE - Today’s fire service responds to a multitude of emergency/service needs. Wearing heavier, less breathable, traditional NFPA 1971 structural firefighting gear is both impractical and a detriment to the wearer’s health (2). Dual-certified TECGEN® PPE is designed to serve as an alternate to turnout gear for 90% of your calls, including extrication, MVIs, rescue, incident command and more—protecting your structural turnout gear from rips, contamination and UV exposure for a fraction of the price. Not only will this extend the life of your valuable structural gear and limit your exposure to carcinogens that may still be lingering within the materials, it won’t weigh you down and contribute to additional cardiovascular stress when you’re on those non-fire related calls.
  • 3M™ Scotchlite™ Comfort Trim – this segmented, stitch-free trim is designed for greater flexibility and mobility. Printed directly onto your turnout gear rather than stitched on separately, it eliminates that extra heavy strip of material, which means no fabric edges to snag, weigh or slow you down.

(1) "Firefighter deaths by cause and nature of injury" NFPA. NFPA, June 2016. Web. 1 12 2016
(2) "Reduce Cardiovascular Stress & Fatigue” Fire-Dex 2016 - Web. 1 12 2016”