Durability ensures lifetime performance in GORE-TEX moisture barriers

It is vital that firefighters are protected by clothing that maintains the highest standard of performance for every operational response throughout the lifetime of the garment. Firefighters need the confidence that their gear will always protect them as well as it did on the first day they put it on.

The average operational lifetime of structural firefighting gear is in most cases approximately eight years. In that time, garments will be exposed to intense heat and flame, chemicals and body fluids, along with continuous abrasion against rough or sharp surfaces. Durability has to be designed into the garment to ensure that it can withstand that sort of punishment and maintain performance levels.

As our understanding of the underlying risks posed by contaminated or dirty fire gear has grown, the increased regime for cleaning and decontamination of garments adds to the need for durability. Although the minimum standard test for fire kit is 25 washes, garments are being washed significantly more than that over their operational lifetime.

When evaluating the performance of a garment, durability is as important as heat and flame protection, waterproofness and breathability. It does not matter how well a garment performs in terms of protection or breathability if, after too many washes, or continued exposure to heat and flame, any one of the fabric layers starts to degrade. If one layer is degraded then the whole garment is compromised, along with the firefighter’s safety. Effective durability is achieved by using proven high-performance fabrics combined with specialised design and manufacturing technology.

For over 30 years GORE-TEX Moisture Barriers have been proven to deliver lifetime performance in firefighter PPE and continue to be the first choice for most fire services around the world. That is because each product is designed to meet the specific demands of the increasingly challenging environment throughout the operational lifetime of the garment. There are examples of garments with GORE-TEX Moisture Barriers that continue to meet performance requirements after having been in constant use for 12 years.

The company’s range of durable, waterproof, breathable moisture barriers are incorporated into structural firefighting kit, search and rescue gear, as well as footwear, gloves and wildland PPE. They play a critical role, providing head-to-toe protection from fire, blood pathogens, chemicals and particulates while keeping the wearer dry from inside and out.

The GORE-TEX Moisture Barrier with GORE® CROSSTECH® Product Technology combines the durable waterproofness and breathability of GORE-TEX products with the blood borne pathogen and particulate protection previously only available in GORE® CROSSTECH® Products. It is part of a range of fabrics that have been developed to the different situational needs of firefighters and is a key component of the UK Collaborative PPE Framework in structural and rescue garments, as well as boots and gloves.

GORE-TEX Moisture Barriers with GORE® CROSSTECH® Product Technology are certified to EN469, AS/NZS 4967 and the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, as well as NFPA 1951, 1999 and 1971. They maintain that level of performance thanks to outstanding resistance to wear and abrasion and the ability to consistently retain high breathability and waterproofness after exposure to extreme cold and heat.

Gore’s stringent process for quality assurance ensures that buyers who specify GORE-TEX Moisture Barriers do so with absolute confidence in the garment’s integrity and that it is completely fit for purpose for the lifetime of the garment.

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