Industrial Fire Journal - Fire & Rescue - Hemming Group Ltd
All good in the hood
Published:  26 October, 2017

Bristol Uniforms, a manufacturer of firefighter PPE, has launched a revolutionary new hood which is proven to be 99.8% efficient at filtering harmful smoke particles.

The Particulate Protection Hood is made up of Dupont’s Nomex and Kevlar fibres with viscose in a knitted fabric, and crucially features the innovative new Nomex NanoFlex particulate barrier, specifically developed to prevent contamination from potentially harmful particles. It has been certified to standard EN13911:2017 - the latest version of the CEN standard for Fire Hoods, which has recently been updated.

The hood has been designed in direct response to recent research highlighting a potential link between exposure to smoke particles and higher rates of cancer amongst firefighters. It specifically offers superior protection around the neck and upper jaw: areas of the body that are known to be particularly vulnerable to smoke contamination.

Roger Startin, joint managing director of Bristol Uniforms said that the key challenge when designing the hood was to ensure that whilst offering optimum protection against harmful particles, the new fabric combination would not compromise breathability or comfort, or increase the risk of heat stress.

'Our primary concern is to offer maximum protection against all potential hazards, whether the danger is coming from fire, heat or smoke particles. In the past, the most effective particle barriers have also been hot and heavy, so it has been a challenge to get the balance right.

'The new Nomex Nanoflex is a much thinner and lighter-weight alternative, which we have been able to incorporate into a new superior design. The Particulate Protection Hood offers very high particle filtration but is also comfortable, soft, and not too heavy or hot to wear.”

In addition to the development of specialist PPE to prevent particle filtration, experts recommend that risks can be further reduced if exposed PPE is removed promptly and carefully following an incident, and then professionally decontaminated.

Bristol Uniforms offers in-house Managed Services in the UK, and facilities abroad managed by appointed distributors, to handle the regular washing and decontamination of PPE after use. In the UK, a seven-day turnaround service from collection to return delivery provides garment scanning, washing, repair, inspection and tracking. Bristol’s two UK Service Centres are also equipped to treat contaminated PPE garments, which have been exposed to toxic or hazardous materials and need to be cleaned in a specially controlled environment.