The best garments for tackling wildland fires
Twenty-first century firefighters need to respond to a range of risks and incidents and their kit needs to help them do that, so what are the best garments for tackling wildland fires? What are the advantages of having specialist wildland fire turnout kit and what other situations can it be used for?
Why does tackling wildland fires need different kit?
With wildland fires an increasing risk in the UK – they were only added to the National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies in 2012 – firefighters need flexible kit that will help them do their job in the very particular circumstances wildland fires create.
By their nature, wildland fires tend to happen in remote areas, meaning firefighters may have to walk a long way from appliances, often carrying hoses and other equipment.
While the heat isn’t as ferocious as being in a burning building, it can still be intense. And as wildland fires are often a risk during heatwaves, firefighters not only have to contend with heat generated by the fire, but the ambient air temperature as well. This can increase the risk of suffering from heat stress.
There can be more than one fire raging during a wildland incident, creating increased levels of radiant heat, but also additional locations in need of response. Of all the types of incidents, wildland fires are the ones which tend to go on the longest.
The best wildland fire PPE
Dedicated turn-out kit for wildland fires will be lightweight and allow firefighters to cover the distances needed. It doesn’t really need the heat protection that standard turn-out kit needs, which means they are usually single-layer, highly breathable garments.
Wildland leggings have a closure at the bottom to stop sparks, smoke and debris going up the legs and exposing firefighters to carbon and particulates on the skin. Wearing just a t-shirt on the firefighters’ top half also leaves their arms exposed to heat and particulates. Walking through wildland conditions in structural leggings will likely damage them, and the weight and heat protection the structural suit provides means the firefighter is wearing something unnecessarily heavy.
When operating over large areas, and sometimes from multiple state brigades, the kit also needs to ensure firefighters are swiftly identifiable, using colours such as red which will stand out against the landscape. Most structural kit is now gold, which acts as great camouflage against the moorland landscape. Reflective elements are also helpful as efforts to fight wildland fires can continue overnight.
Like all professional firefighting kit, garments designed for tackling wildland fires will have a good range of pockets for storing radios and other essential equipment.
FlamePro’s comprehensive wildland fire garment range
Garments designed for wildland fire response share many of the same qualities needed for rescue suits, so our wildland range is intended to be multi-purpose. This multifunctional approach saves your brigade from having to buy extra firefighting PPE.
All of our wildland firefighting garments conform to EN15614:2007, the European standard for wildland firefighting clothing. There is a new standard – EN15 – which our new wildland garments range conforms to.
Our next generation of wildland garments are made from a new fabric which is stronger and more comfortable, it’s lightweight and contains anti-abrasion fabric, glow-in-the-dark tape for low-light operations. Like our previous range, it’s made from a single layer of lightweight yet strong fabric, providing the right level of protection without being too heavy to wear for long periods when tackling wild fires.
For advice about the best garments for tackling wildland fires give one of our friendly team a call on +44 (0) 1332 341030.