A major new order has shone the spotlight on the latest evolution of Ballyclare’s Xenon firefighter rescue jackets. The order has been awarded by three fire and rescue services in the Yorkshire and Humberside region and covers the rescue jacket requirements of some 3200 firefighters.
“PPE rescue jackets are subject to constantly evolving customer demands because of the ever-widening range of duties which fire and rescue crews face, many of which are not fire-related,” explains Andrew Buckley, Business Development Manager, Ballyclare. “This exerted a strong influence on the design and manufacture of our new jackets and will allow them to bring a number of benefits to firefighters in the South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and Humberside regions.”
The new Xenon garments have been produced in a new orange/red colour that makes them suitable for use in both fire-related and rail applications. The colour meets the requirements of RIS-3279 -TOM – a high visibility standard, which applies to the UK rail industry, and ensures rail workers on or near the trackside are sufficiently visible to trains or any other approaching traffic.
“We could have achieved the technical and colour requirements using fabrics with polyester fibres, but we knew there were potential questions about the long-term reliability of these fabrics,” adds Andrew Buckley. “We worked closely with the customer and our fabric suppliers to identify a suitable non-polyester fabric alternative. This is inherently flame retardant, and unlike fabrics which simply have a flame-retardant surface covering, it won’t degrade over time or be affected by repeated washing cycles. This maintains a high level of protection for the wearer and extends the operating life of the jackets considerably. The jackets also satisfy other customer specifications, meeting the relevant rescue and wild land standards, but also offer maximum comfort and freedom of movement to the wearer.”
The new jackets share the same advanced design and material solutions as Ballyclare’s highly successful XENON multi-functional structural fire fighting garments. Manufactured to exacting national and international safety, performance and quality standards, they incorporate such features as additional reinforcement on the collar, cuff and arm areas, to provide cut-and-puncture protection.
A key consideration for the new jackets was the choice of moisture barrier for the internal drop liner, as this material would play a critical role in the comfort and breathability of the garments. Ballyclare identified a GORE-TEX moisture barrier with CROSSTECH® Product Technology as the best and most advanced option available for this application. The fabric itself provides durable, breathable waterproof protection from blood pathogens, chemicals and particulates, enhanced by the use of fully-proprietary seam sealing technology in the construction of the jackets.
The jackets also feature the world’s first fire-retardant and fully-launderable phosphorescent tape. After just a few minutes exposure to ultraviolet light this tape increases safety levels for the wearer by emitting an intense glow for up to eight hours, allowing the jackets to be seen more easily in dark or poorly-illuminated conditions.