Best garments for high volume pumping incidents

Best garments for firefighters attending high volume pumping incidents

They aren’t one of the most common forms of shout but still need specialist support from firefighting brigades, so what are the best garments for firefighters attending high volume pumping (HVP) incidents?

What kind of conditions do firefighters face at high volume pumping incidents?

HVPs are more usually used during flooding incidents – whether caused by rivers overtopping their banks or surface water flooding when large volumes of rain mean road-side drains can’t cope.

This usually results in firefighters spending long hours wading around in many inches of water while operating pumps, so waterproof rubber boots are a must.

It may still be raining, so kit needs to provide suitable protection from the elements while allowing firefighters to not get too hot or too cold.

High volume pumps can also be deployed when a significant amount of water needs moving very quickly. HVPs were used at Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire in 2019 after a reservoir dam wall threatened to collapse. Sections of the spillway were washed away during heavy rain, leading to a major incident being declared and to the evacuation of 1,500 residents.

During the incident 150 firefighters were based on scene, using HVPs that removed 70,000 litres of water a minute from the reservoir as emergency services battled to reduce the water levels and with them the threat of a total collapse.

What is the best kit for firefighters to wear at high volume pumping incidents?

Clearly firefighters don’t need protection from heat or flames during HVP operations, so the best kind of kit will be single-layer, waterproof and lightweight so they can easily move around.

Standard turn-out gear is also well-insulated, and can get heavy and soggy if exposed to the relentless rain that goes hand-in-hand with flooding incidents. It’s important that HVP kit is lightweight due to the physical nature of the job – manning pumps, unrolling kilometres of hoses and joining them all together, then packing everything away when the job is done.

Crews need to be identifiable as firefighters and being able to be seen is still important, so both the overall look, branding and reflective elements need to be consistent with recognised state brigade standards.

Boots in standard turn-out kit are sometimes described as waterproof, but they are designed to resist the splashes created when tackling fires with hoses, rather than paddling around in many inches of flood water. Rubber boots are more suitable for HVP incidents as firefighters can be certain they’ll have dry feet by the end of the shift.

FlamePro’s specialist high volume pumping garments

Our range of specialist HVP garments is the best option when thinking about kit for these distinctive incidents.

Our new generation HVP salopettes, jacket and coverall are being launched in October 2020. Made from technical fabric with a breathable membrane, our HVP garments give you the best combination of protection from the elements while being lightweight to wear. And they all come with the usual range of thoughtful pockets, loops and stowage options that FlamePro is known for.

Combine our HVP waterproof coverall with fully waterproof Skellerup Firefighting Boots so your crews don’t end up complaining of having soggy feet. Add a Tytan helmet and gloves to ensure that your firefighters have all the protection they need.

For advice about the best garments for firefighters attending high volume pumping incidents give one of our friendly team a call on +44 (0) 1332 341030.

Why do you need a particulate flash hood?

Protecting firefighters from the particulates found in soot and smoke has become an increasing concern for both brigades and firefighters themselves.

There’s lots of information about why particulates are considered dangerous and how to stay protected but there’s one major area of vulnerability – the head and neck.

What’s a particulate flash hood?

Standard firefighting kit protects from particulates by catching them on the outside of the three layers of a firefighting suit. A membrane inside the garments means the particulates can’t penetrate through to get on to the skin, and potentially into a firefighter’s bloodstream.

But if firefighters wear their kit and just a helmet and standard flash hood the face and neck is left exposed without any protection from the soot and smoke which carries particulates.

Specific particulate flash hoods cover the neck and head to ensure that there is maximum protection from particulates. They should fit snugly under the helmet so firefighters can get on with the job in comfort.

What particulate flash hood options are there?

Fire-fighting hoods are generally made to cover the head and neck, or head, neck and shoulders, depending on the intended use.

Some brigades have used double-layer flash hoods but without a membrane, which were widely considered as almost disposable because of the relatively low cost. But they don’t provide particulate protection.

Lots of particulate hoods are made from the same material and in the same way as standard turn-out kit. This means they use a membrane between the fabric to ensure that particulates can’t penetrate through.

But this method of making particulate hoods makes them heavy, inflexible and not breathable – something which can increase the chances of heat stress, one of the top causes of injury to firefighters.

Older versions of fire hoods have previously been manufactured without particulate protection because the research about particulates and their dangers came to the fore in 2017.

As experts in fire-fighting kit, Flame Pro has developed a new particulate flash hood which not only protects from the particles known to cause cancer and other illnesses but is also lighter and comfier than other hoods.

Why choose FlamePro’s particulate flash hood?

Flame Pro’s new particulate flash hood utilises Nomex ® Nano Flex, a high-performance material developed specifically to be thinner than standard Fire Resistant (FR) materials. The revolutionary fibre enables a particulate protection flash hood to be as comfortable as a standard hood by allowing air through, but not particulates. It’s also lighter and more flexible.

According to fabric makers DuPont: “A highly breathable FR material with exceptional elasticity and superior particle barrier performance, Nomex® Nano Flex is also thinner and lighter weight than other FR materials…In fact, it results in up to a 4X increase in particle barrier efficiency.”

The Flame Pro one-size-fits-all new generation particulate flash hood is designed to be laundered, making it much better value than other options for head and neck protection which are worn a few times and then disposed of.

Incredibly, the hood provides up to 96% filtration which actually increases with laundering – and it’s not significantly more expensive than other options.

Other benefits include:

• Low noise – unlike hoods made from PTFE or PU, noise from the hood is very low

• Exceptional breathability – it doesn’t trap heat like PTFE/PU options

• Outer shell DWR finish – allows it to dry faster, reducing the build-up of toxic residues

The particulate flash hood also conforms to BS13911, and NFPA 1971 2018, which is the only published standard for particulate protection flash hoods.

To chat to one of our friendly team about the benefits of our particulate flash protection hood, give us a call on +44 (0) 1332 341030.