Firefighters participate in various operations, including putting out structural fires and proximity fires, performing technical rescues, providing emergency medical care, and other emergency response tasks. Hence, gloves and sleeves as part of their personal protective equipment (PPE) are must-haves for every firefighter!
Hand protection must provide a good fit, dexterity, defense against physical threats (such as sharp edges or rough surfaces), and shield from flame and heat.
Continue reading to learn all you need to find appropriate hand protection suited for emergency operations.
1. Check the Material Firefighting Gloves Are Made Of
Three layers make up structural firefighting gloves: an exterior shell, a moisture barrier, and a thermal barrier or liner. Different types of leather are used in outer covers, which are meant to offer the hand its primary physical defense.
Leathers are puncture- and friction-resistant and can be carefully processed during the tanning process to make them flame-resistant.
Common materials include full-grain cowhide, pig, elk, goat, or kangaroo skin; these materials are occasionally silicone-impregnated to increase water resistance and longevity.
2. Verify the Types of Emergency Operations and the Relevant Regulations
Your safety gloves should be produced in accordance with and are certified to at least one of the following standards:
- Protective Ensembles for Proximity Fire Fighting and Structural Fire Fighting, Standard NFPA 1971
- The NFPA 1992 Standard on Protective Ensembles for Technical Rescue Incidents
- Hazardous Materials Emergencies Liquid Splash Protective Ensembles and Clothing Standard, NFPA 1999
- Emergency Medical Operations Protective Clothing Standard
- Some glove designs have various certifications
Protective gloves' performance is evaluated for several factors. This includes thermal insulation, flame resistance, heat and thermal shrinkage resistance, cut and puncture resistance, resistance to liquid chemical and viral penetration, overall fluid integrity, linear pull-out resistance, and various hand functions.
3. Make Sure Your Gloves Are Dexterous
The ability of the firefighter to move around quickly is crucial to the success of a rescue effort. And wearing inappropriate protective gloves may result in less mobility. Additionally, some design factors, such as the placement of seams or adhesives at the fingertips or the bunching of material in the palms can decrease the glove’s dexterity.
4. Look for Cost-Effective Gloves
The price of structural gloves might also affect choice. Modern hand protection may be provided at a cost using complex building methods and rare or expensive materials. Due to the demanding jobs that gloves are subjected to, durability also affects the entire cost.
5. Pick the Appropriate Size
Gloves that are too tight will restrict some hand movements and diminish the airspace between your hands and the gloves, which helps to protect your hands from the cold. Your ability to move your hands, particularly your dexterity and tactility, will suffer if your gloves are too loose.
6. Follow Proper Care and Cleaning Procedures
It's crucial to constantly keep your protective gloves clean, contaminant-free, and adequately maintained. Protection gloves that are soiled or infected can pose serious risks. Because many pollutants, including carcinogens, can be absorbed via the skin, wearing dirty or contaminated clothing can have immediate or long-term adverse health effects.
For EMS workers, it is advised to use gloves that are heavy-duty in construction, protective in design, and resilient enough to survive the worst situations. Make sure your gloves are made from fire-resistant materials.
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