Introduction - Technical
World class standards
Bristol has been actively involved in the development of performance standards for firefighter PPE since the 1970s, when it was involved in setting out the requirements for the UK’s first Home Office specification firefighter tunics and trousers.
Since then its expertise in the design and development of class leading firefighter PPE has resulted in the Company’s technical staff being invited to support the work of technical and drafting committees for national and European standards.
Bristol’s firefighter clothing meets all internationally recognised standards including those for Europe (EN), the USA (NFPA) and the Internationally Standards Organisation (ISO). Testing against the relevant standards is carried out by independent laboratories. Tests include flash fire testing on computer monitored gas fired mannequins to check the flame and heat resistance of fire coats and trousers.
Firefighter PPE is measured for performance against a number of criteria which include;
· Thermal Protective Performance (TPP)
· Total Heat Loss (THL)
· Conductive and Compressive Heat Resistance (CCHR)
· Heat Transfer (Radiation)
· Heat Transfer (Convective)
· Water Vapour Resistance (WVR)
· Resistance to Liquid Chemicals
Technically advanced fabrics
Firefighter protective clothing comprises 3 layers: outer layer, moisture barrier and thermal barrier. We select our fabrics from the range of advanced products which are the result of close collaboration between the leading fibre producers and fabric manufacturers.
These products include DuPontTM Nomex® III, Nomex® Tough (Delta T) and Hainsworth TITAN1220 made from DuPont fibres; PBI Gold and PBI Matrix from PBI Performance Products and Kermel.
We principally use moisture barriers manufactured by the world’s leading specialist in this area, W L Gore & Associates. Gore products are microporous and perform a dual function by preventing the ingress of water whilst also allowing perspiration and heat to escape resulting in a reduction in heat stress for the wearer.
GORE-TEX® FIREBLOCKER, GORE-TEX® AIRLOCK, CROSSTECH® FIREBLOCKER, CROSSTECH® AIRLOCK, GORE® PARALLON system with GORE-TEX or CROSSTECH moisture barrier.
We use a lightweight thermal barrier made from 100% Aramid non-woven felt which is quilted to a choice of Nomex® Delta Comfort, Nomex® Viscose or FR cotton.
Manufactured around our core designs which provide the required levels of protection to meet the specified performance standards, each set of firefighter clothing is made to a particular specification. This is determined by the operational requirements of each fire & rescue service, which calls for special tailoring features, and the body shape of the wearer which determines the particular size against which each garment is made.
Special features include:
· Pockets and flaps
· Radio pockets
· Loops and straps
· Trouser fronts
· Trouser leg openings
· Knee pads
· Patches and graphics
· Inspection zips
· Detachable linings
· Safety harnesses
· Arashield reinforcements
· Drag rescue device
· Breathable tape
Sizing and compatibility are two features which Bristol prioritise when determining the manufacturing specification. Our products offer 28 sizes for both male and female wearers, which provide a close and comfortable fit for the majority of firefighters. Our bespoke capability allows us to provide additional individual sizes, if required, at extra cost.
Careful design of all patterns ensured good garment fit as well as full compatibility with helmets, flash hoods, gloves and boots.
To achieve the high standards set by the various standards bodies, Bristol works closely with the world’s leading fibre and fabric producers whose technically advanced fabrics, when used in combination, provide the high levels of personal protection and wearer safety required in a world which has become increasingly alert to the need to maximise employee health and safety.