There is a paradox in firefighter protective clothing that in order to maintain the current high levels of protection from heat and flame, comfort is often compromised. This potentially contributes to heat stress and sub flashover burns in typical firefighting operations
After several years of research, bringing together its technical expertise from around the world, Gore has developed a solution that removes the need to compromise comfort for thermal protection.
The GORE® PARALLON™ System is lightweight, breathable and waterproof delivering high levels of thermal protection in firefighter Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). It reduces the risk of burn injuries and heat stress in wet and dry conditions, creating consistent protection without compromising comfort.
Today’s firefighter PPE provides excellent thermal protection from heat and flame, however the wearer has historically still been at risk from steam burns that can occur in sub flashover conditions wearing wet gear. This is the type of injury that is caused by a build up of thermal energy and moisture inside the layers of a garment which causes a burn in sub flash over or by compression, for example when crouching or kneeling or by harness straps of breathing apparatus, integrated rescue systems or belts.
The GORE® PARALLON™ System has been developed to specifically combat the risks associated with moisture and heat stress by introducing a unique new solution that incorporates a highly breathable Gore thermal barrier combined with a GORE-TEX® or CROSSTECH® Moisture barrier.
This is a unique use of two membranes encapsulating a layer of thermal protection that maintains breathability while wicking moisture away from the skin and out through the suit, simultaneously preventing liquid penetration from the outside.
Internal moisture is efficiently moved through the layers, keeping the thermal protective fabric dry and reducing the risk of steam or wet compression burns. Comfort and breathability is high, reducing the risk of heat stress and keeping the wearer cooler for longer.
In a series of tests comparing other fabrics, the GORE® PARALLON™ System delivered the highest protection from radiant and convective heat, with up to 65% more breathability.
When a fire suit becomes wet inside, whether from water or heavy sweating, protection levels normally drop by 45% with decreased time to burn and less time for escape. In tests undertaken in wet conditions, the GORE® PARALLON™ System consistently maintained thermal protection, allowing more time to escape and reducing the risk of burns.
Firefighters wearing the GORE® PARALLON™ System enjoy peace of mind that comes with:
- Consistently high protection in all conditions – wet or dry
- Protection from radiant heat burns in wet conditions
- High levels of comfort, breathability and freedom of movement from a lightweight garment
- Reduced risk of heat stress
- Weight of garment does not increase significantly in wet conditions (low water pick up)
The GORE® PARALLON™ System has been extensively tested in wearer trials with impressive results. One firefighter said: “The first thing I noticed was the comfort. It was comfortable to wear and easy to move in. Even when it got really hot you only felt the heat very gradually. As soon as you got away from the heat it felt cooler. The cooling effect was immediate. That’s a great feature.”
The GORE® PARALLON™ System revolutionises firefighter protection, achieving new and more consistent levels of protection and comfort in wet and dry conditions while reducing heat stress and the risk of burns.
For more information, go to www.gore-workwear.com