Ballyclare has revealed details of a major new tender win with the latest additions to its XENON range of multi-functional structural firefighting clothing. The contract, which covers PPE for some 3,200 firefighters, has been awarded by three fire and rescue services in the Yorkshire and Humberside region, and includes new additions to the XENON range which have been developed to meet the specific demands of this customer.
‘With today’s firefighting and rescue professionals facing an ever-expanding range of challenges, we continue to develop our XENON garments to make sure they offer the highest levels of protection,’ explains Ballyclare’s Business Development Manager, Andrew Buckley. ‘We’re constantly working with our customers to advance the XENON range and provide bespoke solutions for their requirements. This latest success is another example of that strategy in action, and it will benefit firefighters in the South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Humberside regions.’
‘One of the key factors for us awarding the contract to Ballyclare was the feedback provided by the end-users who participated in the garment tests,’ explains Category Manager Mark Lloyd, of the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. ‘Wearers commented that they felt no need to remove their suits as soon as possible in order to cool down, and described the garments as the “most comfortable” and “most innovative” PPE they had ever worn. The level of protection, moisture management and freedom of movement also drew comments from the test participants.’
The new garments feature a unique layered construction which enhances the traditional XENON advantages of outstanding protection, high levels of breathability and maximum freedom of movement. The outer layer of the garments is a strong but extremely lightweight fabric, which provides excellent protection against heat and flame, and also delivers outstanding tensile strength. It will not become brittle, shrink or break open when exposed to flame or high temperatures, thus ensuring reliable protection for the wearer.
Next comes a cutting-edge moisture barrier which has been specified to meet the requirements of this customer. A unique, lightweight 3D construction and a ‘ridged’ profile reduces the amount of contact with the wearer by some 30%. This increases the barrier’s ability to trap air and provide another heat barrier, and also speeds up the transmission of moisture away from the wearer. The rugged construction of this fabric allows the XENON garments to withstand constant washing cycles without compromising on comfort, breathability or protection.
Completing the new XENON garments is a thermal layer which also has a 3D construction that traps air to add yet another barrier against heat. This hydrophilic layer also helps transfer moisture away from the wearer and into the moisture barrier, thus allowing the wearer’s skin to breathe more easily and ensuring maximum comfort.
The new XENON garments also include the world’s first fire-retardant and fully launderable phosphorescent tape, which significantly increases the visibility of firefighters in dark conditions. After just a few minutes of exposure to ultraviolet light this tape gives off an intense glow for up to 8 hours, in conditions where there is little or no light, significantly increasing the visibility of the wearer.
‘We have worked with our colleagues from across Yorkshire as part of a regional exercise to secure new structural PPE from Ballyclare International,’ adds Humberside Fire & Rescue Service Procurement Manager, Dave Lofthouse. ‘This has helped us all benefit from efficiencies while providing our staff with new PPE that improves their safety and comfort.’
As with all Ballyclare firefighter PPE, the new XENON garments are manufactured to exacting national and international safety, performance and quality standards. These include specific safety standards for firefighter clothing EN469 (Protective clothing for firefighters. Performance requirements for protective clothing for firefighting activities) and standards not specific to firefighter suits such as EN ISO 13688 (Protective Clothing – General requirements).