Industrial Fire Journal - Fire & Rescue - Hemming Group Ltd
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Merino wool makes a comeback in the firefighting industry
Published:  19 January, 2012

For centuries wool had been the fibre of choice for clothing worn by soldiers, police, firemen and search and rescue teams because of wools natural protective properties and its versatility over a wide range of extreme environments but over recent years these benefits have been forgotten, that is until now.

Armadillo Merino has taken to resolving the issues of synthetic baselayer garments melting into the skin from extreme heat and an increase in the incidence of skin infections. Textile and knitting technology have been combined with superfine merino wool (using wool’s natural FR properties) to create a new generation of performance baselayers for first responders that help protect the skin from fire and reduce the incidence of skin infections in addition to wools traditional insulative properties.

The Elite range of specialist lightweight garments are to be worn next to skin in extreme environments. To maximise comfort against the skin the internal care labels have been removed and the garments have been constructed so there are no seams under the armpit or on the shoulders reducing the risks of skin abrasion. Armadillo Merino provides a lightweight clothing solution for fire and search & rescue teams delivering superior protection, performance and comfort.

But why merino wool?

Merino wool is nature’s performance fibre. Merino is a superfine breed of wool that is used in all the Armadillo Merino garments because of its strength and next to skin softness.

Armadillo Merino garments protect wearers because they:

Have natural flame retardancy up to 600 Centigrade

Don’t melt, shrink or stick to skin when exposed to high temperatures

Don’t produce toxic odours when burning

Have the highest natural UVP factor against other fibres, giving added protection from the sun

Provide a high resistance to acids

Offer greater resistance to chemical residues and aerosols than synthetics

Thermoregulate the skin, reducing overheating or chilling

Moisture manage the skin - reducing the rate of moisture lost in exercise and incidence of skin infections

Are naturally antibacterial - wont infect wounds

Don’t generate offensive odour even after prolonged use

Are soft yet incredibly strong and durable

Are annually renewable and are biodegradable

Is very Easy Care – being machine washable and quick drying

The Armadillo Merino brand is managed by Ministry of Wool Ltd, a Derbyshire based company that specialises in the development of performance-based apparel utilising the properties of merino wool fibre for specialist market niches.

The merino fibre is sourced under the Zque accreditation program that provides traceability and transparency back to merino sheep stations in the Southern Alps of New Zealand.