Nomex FR Apparel Newsletter

Hot Topics and Trends at FDIC International 2018

Hot Topics and Trends at FDIC International 2018

Keeping with tradition, this year's FDIC International event was a huge success. Held April 23-28, 2018, in Indianapolis, IN, FDIC International 2018 featured 817 exhibitors and more than 34,000 attendees from 65 countries.

From exhibits and workshops to casual conversations, a multitude of topics were discussed and debated; new information was shared; and many questions were asked and answered during this six-day event.

Although it would be impossible to catalog every topic and trend that came up, members of the DuPont Protection Solutions Team who were at the event quickly realized that there were a few key topics and trends that they were hearing over and over. Here is a brief summary of what they heard as the hot topics and trends, along with some insights about these issues.

1. The focus is now on complete personal protective equipment (PPE) systems rather than individual components.

Until recently, most firefighters looked at gloves, turnout gear, hoods, etc. as individual PPE items without giving much thought to how they all work together—or should work together. Now, a greater emphasis is being placed on selecting complete system solutions.

DuPont is collaborating with PPE manufacturers across the fire service industry to put our science and technology to work to help make the complete PPE system for firefighters more protective.

Not all heroes wear capes, but they do wear Nomex

2. An increasing number of firefighters are interested in knowing more about their PPE, not just for immediate safety issues but for long-term health concerns.

A true cultural shift continues to take place in fire service. It started a few years ago with increased awareness about the importance of inspecting, maintaining and cleaning PPE. Gone are the days when dirty gear was acceptable as just part of the job of a firefighter. Today, if the gear isn't clean, the firefighter isn't doing his or her job. Now, the focus is shifting again as firefighters want to learn as much as possible about their PPE and understand how it can protect them not only while fighting fires, but also protect them from future health problems related to exposure to particulates, for example.

At DuPont, we are committed to helping firefighters learn as much as they can about their PPE. That's why we created the Nomex® Knowledge Center and why our team of technical experts is giving presentations at industry events, writing papers and working with PPE manufacturers around the world to develop educational materials for PPE wearers.

3. There is growing awareness that reviewing published data should be only the starting point when selecting PPE, followed by head-to-head wear trials.

Technology brand owners, such as DuPont, as well as PPE manufacturers conduct extensive testing and publish a wealth of technical and marketing information about their products. Reviewing these technical and marketing documents is a great first step when it comes to selecting PPE; however, it is extremely important to fully explore and evaluate this information by conducting a head-to-head wear trial.

At DuPont, we strongly encourage the use of wear trial assessments and we support these evaluations with technical resources. We fully believe that firefighters need to experience new technologies for themselves—under real-world conditions that reflect the unique needs of their situations—so fire departments can make informed decisions when choosing PPE. After all, published data and manufacturer's claims are no substitute for firsthand experience.

4. There is a lot of interest in learning about the use of Nomex® Nano in thermal liners and interface areas.

Visitors to the DuPont exhibit wanted to learn more about how Nomex® Nano performs as a thermal liner and how it is being used in interface areas.

NomexMany were surprised to discover that thermal liners made with Nomex® Nano provide excellent thermal protection while achieving a double-digit improvement in total heat loss (THL) and a 40% reduction in bulk for increased mobility and comfort. This is contrary to traditional thermal liners made with other materials that achieve improved thermal protection while decreasing THL and increasing bulk, thereby sacrificing comfort for protection.

The use of Nomex® Nano technology in interface areas is increasing in popularity. It provides a breathable barrier to help stop particle penetration, providing firefighters with an extra degree of protection. We encourage head-to-head comparisons of thermal liners made with various technologies by different PPE manufacturers because wear trials are the best way to evaluate PPE for a specific use.

5. Hoods made with Nomex® Nano Flex are earning a reputation for outperforming expectations, yet there are still a lot of questions about this new technology. Here are the ones we heard most often:

"How long does a hood made with Nomex® Nano Flex last?"
DuPont has published test results showing that even after more than 100 washes, hoods made with Nomex® Nano Flex exhibit no change in performance. And we are working with PPE manufacturers who have designed hoods made with Nomex® Nano Flex that perform like new even after 150 washes. Equally important is the fact that these long-lasting hoods made with Nomex® Nano Flex experience minimal shrinkage so the wearer can enjoy comfort and good fit after many washings compared to hoods made with other technologies that shrink after as few as 5 to 10 washes.

"What makes Nomex® Nano Flex technology different?"
During development of Nomex® Nano Flex, our emphasis was on meeting or exceeding industry standards for particulate protection while focusing on improving wearer comfort through reducing heat stress and preserving situational awareness. Other technologies offering particulate protection present trade-offs in breathability, comfort, situational awareness and shrinkage durability.

"How are hoods made with Nomex® Nano Flex different from hoods made with other technologies?"
Our best engineering has gone into hoods made with Nomex® Nano Flex. They feature excellent particle filtration capability, breathability, exceptional durability and minimal shrinkage. The end result is enhanced protection and comfort for firefighters. The best way to understand the different technologies is to experience them during a wear trial, which we strongly encourage.

For more information about Nomex® Nano and Nomex® Nano Flex, visit the Nomex® Knowledge Center.

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