Why in-house manufacture of firefighting PPE is critical

In the fast-paced and ever-changing world of firefighting, it’s frustrating to wait months for PPE orders. Time and lives are precious, and the tender process itself is often lengthy and slow. Once an order is placed, firefighters need a swift, reliable roll out. The only way to achieve this is to choose a supplier that is fully in control of manufacturing and its supply chain.


Keeping everything in-house is the difference between rapid delivery and unexpected long delays.  Our Operations Director Paul Hetherington explores further “At FlamePro, we deliver on our promises and have market leading delivery times meaning crews are protected within just 10-12 weeks of order. This is no coincidence.


“Being fully in control of our supply chain and manufacturing process is a game changer. We can focus on firefighters’ needs and you don’t have to wait for months for life saving kit.”


Manufacturing and supply chain control


Whilst many of our competitors look to China or Asia and contract out their manufacturing, we do everything at our in-house manufacturing facility in the heart of Europe. We manage the facility, employ our own staff, and have stringent training, auditing and quality control processes.


We also have a dedicated sampling team and production line, meaning we don’t compete for manufacturing slots and aren’t second in line behind more profitable military jobs – which often adds to delays.


Ideally located for rapid delivery


Our manufacturing facility is based in Bulgaria. Part of NATO, with stringent rules and regulations and good control on modern slavery, it’s well placed for easy access and fast delivery to customers in UK, Europe and beyond.


In-house design


Our highly skilled, in-house design team is based in the UK. They control every aspect of the design process and work closely with fire and rescue services to ensure firefighters’ PPE is fit for purpose. They regularly visit our manufacturing facility to oversee the process and ensure everything runs smoothly and to time. 


Reduced environmental impact


Location matters when it comes to environmental impact too. Being based in Europe means we have a smaller carbon footprint than other manufacturers. This is reduced even further as our main garment components and latest 3D fabric technology, is mostly sourced in Europe.


The right kit for the right job: delivered quickly


Firefighters’ needs are our top priority. We have developed protective gear for every scenario – wildland, rescue, marine and structural firefighting, that keeps them safe, cool and comfortable.


Our team is on hand to provide expert advice, pinpoint your specific requirements, and never oversell!  What you get from us is a quality product that meets your needs, offers excellent protection and is delivered quickly.


To discuss your requirements and learn more about our cutting-edge firefighter protection, give us a call on +44 (0) 1332 341030 or drop us a message using our contact form below.

Explaining EN16689:2017 – Technical Rescue Clothing

All protective clothing and equipment has to conform to certain UK, European and international standards – EN16689:2017 is the European standard for technical rescue clothing for firefighters.

It’s important that brigades have access to a range of protective clothing for their firefighters, especially as fighting fires accounted for only 28% of firefighting incidents in the UK, according to the latest data.

We thought it would be useful to explain what this standard covers and how it’s different to the other main standards for firefighting clothing.


What is technical rescue?


In firefighting terms, technical rescue refers to shouts which don’t involve structural fires. The term technical rescue applies to incidents such as road traffic accidents and working around collapsed structures, often as a result of natural disasters such as landslides. Usually there’s limited exposure to heat and flame. Incidents could also involve working in public places or in confined spaces.

As a result of the types of incident that technical rescue clothing is needed for, the specification for this type of kit is different to the usual fire-fighting kit, which needs to primarily protect against heat and flame.


What does the standard cover?


The standard covers a range of factors including clothing design and performance levels. It also specifies the way clothing meeting the standard should be tested. In particular, EN16689:2017 specifies minimum standards for:

• Flame spread resistance – despite the main intended use for this type of kit not being about fighting fires
• Breathability (referred to in the standard as water vapor resistance)
• Protection from contact heat
• Mechanical resistance
• Resistance to blood-borne pathogens
• Visibility


What does EN16689:2017 not cover?


The standard is not intended to cover protection for hands, feet or head. And it doesn’t cover protection against other hazards such as chemicals or risks from electrical equipment.

There are other standards for different types of rescue, including EN469, which is the standard used for protective clothing intended for fighting fires and EN15614:2007, the standard for wildland fires.


Buying technical rescue clothing


Our Technical Rescue range all conforms to EN16689:2017, along with other associated standards covering footwear, helmets and gloves.

Available in a range of colours including red and navy, the range has been carefully designed to ensure that it performs under technical rescue conditions. Our extensive research with firefighters means this kit also has everything you need – from pockets in the right places to reinforced knee pads and adjustable ankle and waist tabs on some garments.

Many of our technical rescue products also double-up as wildfire firefighting gear, meeting EN15614:2007 as well.

For a conversation about buying your next technical rescue kit that conforms to EN16689:2017, give one of our friendly team a call on +44 (0) 1332 341030.

531/535 Apollo Firefighter Suit


High-vis safety on non-fire calls


Staying visible is critical when your team are on technical rescue or disaster relief callouts. You want to make sure they’re protected from the elements and able to do whatever the job demands.


FlamePro’s 531/535 Apollo Firefighter Suit has all the technical features your team needs to get the job done.


Available in two-colour hi-vis navy and yellow with phosphorescent glow in the dark strips and heat-applied reflective tape, no one is going to miss a firefighter in Apollo.


Our attention to detail extends to everything else your team needs to do too. We have thought about radios, torches and microphones, with dedicated features to accommodate a wide variety of kit. We’ve also included multiple, roomy pockets so your people have everything they need exactly where they need it.


The Apollo Firefighter Suit is also sold separately as 531 jacket  and the 535 trousers  for a complete kit.

Protecting firefighters from cancer: the most advanced particulate hoods on the market

Many of us have been alarmed by recent research commissioned by the Fire Brigades Union and independently carried out by the University of Central Lancashire, that evidences instances of cancer among firefighters aged 35-39 is up to 323% higher than the general population of the same age, urging our industry to act now to make firefighting a safer profession. The neck and jaw areas are most vulnerable to smoke and particulate exposure, which is why protective hoods are so critical.


We’ve worked hard to create an industry-leading particulate hood responding to firefighters’ needs. FlamePro’s next-generation particulate hoods give firefighters the most advanced protection from cancer-causing particulates from the very first time it is worn, a step-up from alternative products that fall short.


Unlike any other hood using the same fabric, FlamePro’s pioneering design is engineered with unique differences to give firefighters the highest level of protection and comfort:


Maximised protection that lasts longer


171 and 172 DuPont™ Nomex® Nano Flex versions are independently tested and certified to give above 99% protection from the first wear and up to 250 washes compared to other products that only give protection levels for around 100-150 washes. And our 173 PTFE hood offering 99.9% protection from the first wear.


Great value, without compromising safety


Not only do our new particulate hoods have extended durability that give maximum levels of protection for longer than any alternative, but we also offer both critical cover and full cover protection options to accommodate varying budgets. This gives you the confidence you’re not compromising on the quality and safety standards your firefighters deserve.

Eliminates the risk of particulate exposure and weak spots


Particulate barrier protection all the way to the face eliminates the risk of exposure, compared to alternative hoods which have a rib around the edging leaving the face exposed to particulates. FlamePro’s hoods have protected seams for comfort and use meta-aramid threads to give 100% protection from particulates filtering through. What’s more, our hoods are made without any quilting to ensure there is no particulate seepage through weak spots.


Exceptionally lightweight to improve mobility and reduce heat stress


Our particulate hoods are lighter than any other hood using the same material thanks to FlamePro’s intelligent pattern cutting to tailor the fit. This not only ensures safety and comfort by adapting to the wearer’s size, but it also contributes further to reducing the risk to the firefighter of heat stress.


Two sizes for maximum safety and comfort


FlamePro knows that a “one size fits most” approach isn’t good enough. Our hoods are tailored for different sizes to reduce the risks of ill-fitting hoods, giving maximised protection and comfort. Garments are clearly labelled to make sure firefighters are easily able to identify that they are donning the right hood.


Eliminate need for duplicate kits


FlamePro’s particulate hoods meet both structural AND wildfire certifications, eliminating the need for buying, storing, and maintaining duplicate kit and the risk of firefighters taking the wrong protective hood to an incident. This reduces the budget investment needed for the same item at both wildfire and structural incidents.


Highly breathable allowing heat and moisture to escape


FlamePro’s particulate hood uses cutting-edge DuPontNomex® Nano Flex fabric, specifically developed to prevent contamination from particulates.


The heat and flame-resistant fabric is highly breathable, very thin, and lightweight which is crucial for allowing both heat and moisture to escape, allowing firefighters to stay clear headed and safe. These qualities are essential for preventing heat stress and maintaining comfort in extreme environments.


Reduced hearing impairment


Unlike PTFE laminated hoods, the new 171 and 172 hoods do not contain a plastic lining that interferes with hearing. This means firefighters hear instructions more clearly and are more aware of their surroundings, enhancing their ability to perform safely.


Stand-out choice in wearer trials


Firefighters chose our particulate hood more frequently than any other in user trials, reporting it was comfortable, cool, and quiet to wear.


Act now


Give your firefighters maximum protection against the cancer-causing risks of particulates. View FlamePro’s particulate hood  collection or contact us to act now.


Introducing FlamePro RECYCLE

FlamePro RECYCLE is our new service introduced to give you an easy, safe and importantly  secure disposal route for all of your end of life PPE, protecting the environment and removing the risk of PFAS ground contamination.Originally developed as a way to prevent FlamePro garments being part of the 350,000 tonnes of textiles that go into landfill in the UK every year, FlamePro RECYCLE gives a whole host of benefits to customers subscribing to the service.


The risk of ground contamination from PFAS, which is increasingly high on the environmental agenda, is eliminated for those items returned and recycled through our service. As no items are sent to landfill there is no opportunity for the returned contaminated garments to pollute the ground or drinking water or the dangerous effects that this can cause to human health and the wider environment to occur.


Customers using our new RECYCLE service can legitimately claim zero landfill for items disposed of through the scheme and, disposal can be certified to allow them to provide evidence of sustainable actions taken  for their own sustainability measures and certifications.


To ensure that the service fits our wide variety of customers we have ensured that FlamePro RECYCLE has a returns and collection options that scale per individual requirement, allowing choices from ad hoc single boxes every 6 months to multiple 1100L bins collected every week, whatever suits them best.


As the majority of our customers have branded PPE recognisable to, and trusted by the public, we have worked hard to establish a route that guarantees that there is no danger of identifiable PPE getting into the wrong hands. This not only protects  vulnerable members of the public, but also our customers themselves. FlamePro RECYCLE works in accordance with BS EN: 15713-2009 Secure Destruction of Confidential Material Code of Practice ensuring all branded or identifiable items are shredded and de-badged the moment they hit site, safeguarding any vulnerabilities.


It is not just FlamePro own garments that customers are able to return, but any end-of-life PPE that they need to dispose of, regardless of supplier this includes, boots, gloves, safety glasses and helmets. All items are then recycled and re-used for other purposes, avoiding landfill, and helping feed into a circular economy.


To allow us to offer this sustainability enhancing service, we have partnered with an industry-leading recycling company who are committed to sending zero waste to landfill. Our partner is certificated to ISO9001 (Quality), ISO14001 (Environmental) and ISO45001 (H&S), this compliments our own ISO9001, 14001 & 27001 certificate.


To find out more visit FlamePro RECYCLE, get in touch using the form below to discover how to tailor this service to suit  you.

What next for UK fire and rescue services?

There’s broad agreement that the fire and rescue service needs reform. The latest assessment of the sector in England by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services reinforces this point. A new white paper is due later this year with recommendations from the Home Office about changes.



What might we see in that white paper? Here at FlamePro we’re not experts in governance (just in protective kit), but we’ve listened to the sector and some key themes have emerged.



The changing role of the modern firefighter


From providing extra capacity to move dead bodies to giving vaccines and delivering PPE, the fire service played a critical role during the pandemic. The international emergency allowed fire brigades up and down the country to demonstrate, once again, they can do more than just put out fires.



Firefighters have been much more than the name suggests for many years. While tackling blazes will always be a priority, prevention work is now a central part of the brief. So is working alongside other emergency services at incidents such as terrorist incidents, floods, and road traffic collisions.



Is “firefighter” even the right term any more? Fighting fires is absolutely a core part of the role, but it’s not where the majority of brigades spend their time.



We’re not just saying that. In 2020, tackling fires only accounted for 29% of the incidents attended in England, the same percentage as non-fire incidents. This compares to fires being 35% of incidents ten years ago. The rest of the incidents in 2020 were false alarms (42%).



Efficiencies in fire and rescue structures and lines of command


Scotland has one fire and rescue service. The previous eight regional brigades were merged in 2013.



The latest report by HM Inspectorate of Fire and Rescue services in England lists national reform as a priority. It says changes should address “the deficit in the fire sector’s national capacity and capability to support change”. And that precise definitions of the role of fire and rescue services and the people who work within them should be created.


The report also calls for “greater clarity on activities such as co-responding (supporting the other emergency services), responding to floods, responding to terrorist attacks and wider public safety”. We don’t think frontline firefighters would disagree.



Will a similar structure to Scotland be on the table? Or will Government see the available efficiencies in sharing HR, finance, and other central services with, for example, regional police forces as a route to reform?



Risks and threats to fire brigades


If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it; or so they say. The issue for England’s fire and rescue services, according to HM Inspectorate, seems to be that brigades measure the same things differently. A common approach to assessing, measuring, and managing risk is called for.



One of the emerging risks is contamination, especially from particulates, which can be carcinogenic. This is already high on the agenda in the US and mainland Europe; the industry in the UK is just developing its understanding of these risks. What’s clear is that protection can be provided by kit. But behaviour is also a critical piece of the jigsaw.



Not long ago, firefighters would have put their dirty gloves in their helmets after a shout. Now we know the gloves are likely contaminated with particles which can seep through the head’s thin skin. The kit didn’t need to change to address this risk, behaviour did.



With most brigades having a mix of retained and full-time firefighters, training to build a mutual understanding of risks and how to manage them will be more important than ever.



Here at FlamePro we’re keen to see whether Government makes any bold moves to remove barriers and enable the Fire and Rescue service to adapt. As demands change, so should the industry’s ability to respond.



To discuss your requirements and learn more about the range, give one of our friendly team a call on +44 (0) 1332 341030.

Firefighting kit – is it time to end one-type-fits-all?

We know that every day as a firefighter is not the same. Every call-out is different – from road traffic collisions to industrial fires, the demands of the job change by the hour. You might not be rescuing cats from up trees, but we know that running into burning buildings isn’t what you spend most of your time doing either.


So if every shout is different. If the demands placed on you whenever you turn out to a job aren’t the same. Why do you put on the same kit each time?


From our research with firefighters, we know that the diversity of demands on your time has increased. The diversity of kit needs to keep pace with those changes.


A range of risks


Firefighters’ turn out kit protects you from a wide range of risks linked to tackling structural fires. It also provides protection from a range of potential contaminants you’ll encounter in smoke and fire water.


But do you always need that level of protection?


Wildland fires are becoming more regular. But they demand a different kind of firefighting; a long game. It’s unlikely you can turn up with a few pumps, stay a couple of hours and have totally beaten a wildland fire.


You walk for miles, across uneven terrain, away from the fire tenders and central stores of kit. The heat can be intense in a different way to the heat inside a burning building, and you’re in amongst it, often in the dark.


To perform at your best, you’ll need kit to work with you. Light to wear, but with protection from the heat and the thorns that also appear out to get you. And you’ll need to be easily seen from a distance.


RTCs demand you can easily operate equipment to free people from vehicles while managing potential risks of fire and explosion from damaged engines. Other rescue situations might involve no risk of fire at all.


Take floods. Another increasing risk as our climate experiences more extremes of weather. Firefighters have a crucial role to play in rescuing people and are often called on to pump away water to protect critical assets. It’s likely to be cold, wet, and the literal opposite of a call-out involving fire.


Modern challenges, modern kit


The protective clothing available to firefighters needs to meet the demands of the job. And that’s not a one-type-fits-all kind of situation.


You should have serious protection from heat and flame when it’s needed the most. But when it isn’t, what you wear still needs to help you do the job.


Investing in a diversity of kit to meet the variety of call-outs is what modern brigades are starting to do. Wearing the right kit for the job makes firefighters’ lives easier. It makes sense to match protection to risks, rather than always wearing one set of turn-out gear which could be over-spec’d and over-used, leading to higher maintenance and replacement costs in the long-run.


FlamePro’s team of experts has developed a range of firefighter protective gear for the different scenarios you face. Take a look at our new wildland and rescue ranges, or check out Valliant, the cutting-edge structural suit taking the market by storm.


To discuss your requirements and learn more about the range, give one of our friendly team a call on +44 (0) 1332 341030.

FlamePro wins major Capita tender to provide PPE for MoD over next 10 years

FlamePro, a British manufacturing specialist of life-saving garments for firefighters, has been awarded a £4m contract by Capita to provide its firefighting PPE for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) across the next decade.


The competitive tender, part of Capita’s contract with the MoD, saw four different PPE providers bid for the work, with FlamePro being appointed to provide its full ensemble of PPE alongside a total garment care package.


FlamePro was awarded the contract due to its high-quality product and the company’s dedication to providing support and expertise on PPE care, use and maintenance.


The contract includes a multi-million pound initial roll-out, with a total value of £4m across 10 years.


Nathan Bricknell, General Manager at FlamePro, said:

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have been awarded this contract with Capita – it marks a key milestone for the company.


“Over recent months we’ve worked with our partners to develop brand-new fabric technologies and designs, including a 3D woven structure and new moisture barrier membrane, to ensure our PPE is the most advanced on the market.


“Our brand-new structural fire suit has set a new benchmark across the whole industry. This, teamed with our shorter-than-average lead times stands us in great stead to deliver top-quality products and service on this contract.”


To discuss your requirements and learn more about the range, give one of our friendly team a call on +44 (0) 1332 341030.

535 Apollo Firefighter Trousers

Safe, comfortable and visible


Technical rescue and disaster relief jobs can mean long hours and tough conditions. Keep your team safe, comfortable and visible in our 535 Apollo Firefighter Trousers. Designed for comfort on a long shift, your team will be protected from the elements and able to do whatever the job demands.


Removable braces with quick adjustment and 3D breathable padding and an elasticated waistband provide a comfortable fit, while we’ve anticipated the dangers your firefighters might face. Reinforced fabric cuffs and knees provide abrasion resistance and strategic paneling design makes for trousers that move with your crew.


Available in two-colour hi-vis navy and yellow with phosphorescent glow in the dark strips and heat-applied reflective tape, no one is going to miss a firefighter in Apollo.


Pairs with the 531 jacket  for a complete kit.

531 Apollo Firefighter Jacket

Make sure your team can be seen


When your team is attending non-fire calls, the need for visibility is critical. On technical rescue jobs and disaster relief, you need to know your team is protected from the elements and able to do whatever the job demands.


FlamePro’s 531 Apollo firefighter jacket has all the technical features your team needs to get the job done.


Available in two-colour hi-vis navy and yellow with phosphorescent glow in the dark strips and heat-applied reflective tape, no one is going to miss a firefighter in Apollo.


Our attention to detail extends to everything else your team needs to do too. We’ve thought about radios, torches and microphones, with dedicated features to accommodate a wide variety of kit. We have also included multiple, roomy pockets so your people have everything they need exactly where they need it.


Pair with our 535 Apollo firefighter trousers for a complete kit.

How to inspect your firefighting kit

No matter what task you’re undertaking, your kit is your last line of defence between you and the fire, floodwater, corrosive chemicals or other hazards you are dealing with. Keeping it in top condition is of paramount importance.


While a generation ago scorch marks and dirt would have been worn as a badge of pride, today’s firefighters know that a clean, well-maintained kit is a safe kit.


In 2019, British Standard BS8617 was introduced to give firefighters guidance on the cleaning, maintenance and repairs of personal protective equipment (PPE) to make sure it keeps you safe. It covers the inspection, testing, cleaning, decontamination, drying, repairs, replacement, retirement/disposal, recording, storage and transportation of kit. It’s a comprehensive standard.


We published a blog at the time that goes into more detail about the standard and what it means for you.


Within the standard, there is a recommendation that all fire services should have a contract in place for outsourcing the cleaning and maintenance of their PPE. In order to effectively use a cleaning and maintenance company, in-house inspections are required to ensure that you’re keeping on top of any issues that might crop up between regular maintenance.


What to inspect and when


Anyone involved in firefighting or associated activities needs to complete a routine inspection every time you get a new piece of kit, at the start of every shift and after you use the kit. Your whole structural suit needs to be inspected after every call out. Different conditions can cause different issues, but sometimes general wear and tear will make itself known at the most inconvenient of times and you definitely don’t want it falling apart when you need it the most.


Each time, check your garments (jacket and trousers), helmet, gloves, footwear and fire hood.


What to look for


Some damage is not so easy to spot, so a thorough inspection is required:


• Check the surface of the fabric for holes, rips, tears and scuffs

• Shine a torch over reflective surfaces to make sure they remain reflective

• Check the durable waterproof repellent layer (DWR). Having this coating working properly will not only keep out water, but will also protect you from battery acid, other chemicals and, crucially, particulates. Use a spray bottle to mist water over the fabric. If it pools in droplets, the DWR is working fine, but if it soaks into the fabric, it’s time to get it re-treated

• Check that Velcro adheres properly and zips and other fasteners close properly. If you have been in a grassy environment, the Velcro can easily become matted and fail to close properly

• Stress test the fabric. Push a blunt object against the fabric. It shouldn’t go through, but if it does, it’s a good sign of UV damage that has weakened the fabric


What to do when there’s a problem


Your fire service should have clear guidance for what to do when PPE needs to be repaired or replaced. There are steps you can take to preserve the life of your kit. Read our blog on how to maintain your firefighting kit here.


We hope that’s a good short guide to how to inspect your firefighting kit – if you want more details about our comprehensive range of high quality firefighting garments and PPE, call one of our experts on +44 (0) 1332 341030.

How to maintain your firefighting kit

When you are busy fighting fires and rescuing people, you might not have thought about how to maintain your firefighting kit.


Anyone involved in firefighting knows that their kit is their best friend. This safety barrier protects people working on the frontline from all manner of hazards, from freezing cold temperatures to the most extreme heat, from toxic chemicals to the invisible hazard of particulates.


But the kit can only do so much on its own. Making sure the kit is up to the task is, at least in part, down to the user.


So how can anyone involved in firefighting and associated activities preserve the life of their kit through regular maintenance?


New British Standard for maintaining your firefighting kit


BS8617 was published in 2019 with detailed guidance for the inspection, testing, cleaning, decontamination, drying, repairs, replacement, and retirement/disposal of firefighting personal protective equipment (PPE). While it recommends that each fire service should have a contract provider for cleaning and maintaining kit, there are also steps individuals can take to preserve their equipment.


Understanding your durable water repellent layer (DWR)


The DWR layer is the element of your structural suit that makes the biggest difference between it being professional safety equipment and normal clothes. As the name suggests, it keeps out water, but it also protects you from other liquids, including battery acid and other corrosive chemicals.


Crucially, though, by making the fabric non-porous, the DWR also keeps out particulates, which are now widely recognised as one of the biggest dangers to the health of a firefighter. Particulates in a firefighting scenario can penetrate the skin and get into the blood stream, where they can be carcinogenic. We have a whole blog post on particulates here.


Maintaining your DWR is a simple yet effective measure against these known poisons. To check whether your suit is still water (and particulate) tight, simply spray it with water from a spray bottle. If the water pools in droplets on the surface, the DWR is working effectively. If it soaks into the fabric, the DWR has failed and the garment needs to be re-treated.


When to repair and when to replace your firefighting suits


Within BS8617 is provision for keeping excellent records and traceability for all PPE items. This provides the opportunity to keep a close eye on maintenance spending, monitoring how much money is spent on each item. If a new jacket costs £200 for example, and you have already invested £150 in repairs, there’s a good chance it will be more cost effective to replace the jacket the next time it is damaged instead of paying for another repair.


Garments will also need to be retired if they are over 10 years old (or older than the lifespan determined by the manufacturer) or if they have been contaminated by chemical, biological, radioactive or nuclear agents.


Good maintenance protocols go hand in hand with constant kit inspections to flag issues as they arise. Read more about kit inspections here.


Now you have more information about how to maintain your firefighting kit, if you’ve identified that replacement is better than more repairs then take a look at our full range of structural, wildland fire, HVP and rescue kit here, or call one of our experts on +44 (0) 1332 341030.

Why UK firefighting kit must meet BS EN469:2020 Level 2 standards

A revised version of the European standard for firefighter protective clothing – BS EN469 – has been published in 2020 so we wanted to take the time to explain why UK state brigade kit must meet BS EN469 Level 2 standards.


The new European Standard makes several key changes and improvements on the 2005 version and our previous blog explains what the new revisions mean.


One element that we know UK-based crews are struggling to make sense of is the Level 1 and Level 2 standards, so here we explain the difference, why it exists and how it applies here in the UK.


Understanding the levels


The European Standard specifies Level 1 kit for fighting fires in the open, wildland fires, for example. Level 2 kit is full structural kit, the kind that is intended to keep you safe no matter what you are doing. The kind that repels water, contaminants and steam, but lets out sweat.


Some clothing meets Level 1 and some clothing meets both Levels 1 and 2.


Why UK crews need Level 2 kit and why Level 1 exists


Within the EU, particularly in France and Spain, and also in the US, firefighting crews can be split into two units – the ones who go into burning buildings and those who stay outside. Since full structural kit is intended to protect against structural fires, including flashovers, there’s a trade-off between comfort and safety. For those who stay outside, lighter, more breathable kit that conforms to Level 1 will keep the crews safe enough, but those facing the heat and intensity of the fire need far higher levels of protection.


Here in the UK, most Fire and Rescue Service crews operate a single crew model, where everyone has to be ready to deal with all situations and levels of risk, meaning full structural kits that conform to Level 2 standards are a must for everyone.


Of course, there are still situations where Level 1 kit will do the job: wildland fires, rescue operations (although there are specific wildland and rescue firefighter clothing standards) and clear up operations are easier to do in lighter kit that doesn’t need the same heat or water resistance.


Kit for on ships


Marine companies must have firefighting kit on board. Few ships have a dedicated firefighting crew, rather a team with firefighting training but other on-board responsibilities. Most fire situations on a ship can be dealt with using a fire extinguisher, while larger events will lead straight to an evacuation, but in the event that crew members face a fire that needs fighting, they’re going to need kit that is similar to EN 469:2020 Level 2, but the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) have their own standards.


It can be tempting to save costs with a lower specification suit, but in the confined environments on a ship, clothing equivalent to EN 469:2020 Level 1 kits will not be sufficient, exposing firefighting crew to an unnecessary level of risk.


The FlamePro Beacon fire fighters kit provides the full range of safety measures for firefighting on the high seas.


What to look out for when buying kit


The word “lightweight” will be music to the ears of anyone who has had to don full structural firefighting kit, but these items are lightweight for a reason. Lightweight often equals less protection, less heat insulation and no moisture barrier.


Moisture barriers are essential for structural kit as they prevent water, pathogens and steam getting to the skin, causing burns and contamination. Level 1 compliant suits don’t have to have this.


Not only can FlamePro Level 2 compliant suits be relied on to keep the wearer safe, they also have a fully-fledged PTFE membrane that allows the maximum amount of vapour (sweat) out of the garments. Others may have PU membranes which are more like plastic bags.


To understand the British and international standards that apply to firefighting kit, visit the certifications and standards page of our website. Each item in our catalogue, lists which standard it is compliant with so you can buy with confidence, which is useful. now you know why UK state brigade kit must meet BS EN 469 Level 2 standards.


If you would like any further advice on what to look for when specifying your firefighting kit don’t hesitate to get in touch or call one of our experts on +44 (0) 1332 341030.

177 Firefighter Flash Hood


Secondary protection against heat, flames and electric arc


Keep your team ready for anything with FlamePro’s 177 Firefighter Flash Hood. We have designed this comfortable, double layer hood with Kermel fibres, to protect against heat, flames and electric arc as part of a full firefighting kit.


Easily adjustable with four-way stretch, the 177 is designed to fit everyone and to be worn with other protective headgear when your firefighters are on rescue missions or providing assistance during disasters.

173 PTFE Full Cover Particulate Protection Hood

The most advanced full cover particulate hood


Equally suited to wildland fires and structural fires, the 173 PTFE Full Cover Particulate Protection Hood blocks 99% of cancer-causing particulates.


We carefully selected Stedair Prevent fabric. It is the only highly breathable, air permeable and flame-resistant material with a composite barrier which offers superior particle blocking performance and durability.


Tested through 250 wash cycles, this hood provides the same high standards of protection as when it’s brand new.


And it is comfortable to wear, absorbing sweat and driving out water. The hood is lightweight and features strong, flatlock seams that won’t chafe.


FlamePro’s pioneering design always has firefighters in mind.

172 Critical Cover Particulate Protection Hood

The most advanced critical cover particulate hood


Keeping your firefighters safe from cancer is a big responsibility. FlamePro’s 172 Critical Cover Particulate Hood is your not-so-secret weapon against cancer causing particulates.


From the very first time it’s worn, the 172 Critical Cover Particulate Protection Hood blocks 99% of particulates, viruses and bacteria.


We’ve tested the hood through 250 wash cycles and it stands up to the test, providing the same high standards of protection as when it’s brand new.


Using Nomex® Nano Flex technology in all panels, we have designed the hood to be comfortable to wear, while absorbing sweat and driving out water. The hood is lightweight and features strong, flatlock seams that won’t chafe.


FlamePro’s pioneering design always has firefighters in mind.