Recent discussions among MENA civil defence authorities to ramp up fire safety standards across the board have intensified the acquisition of more reliable equipment, expertise and best practices among Arab states to further build up local fire fighting capabilities. Global business research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan affirms that the call to action is expected to drive the Middle East’s fire safety market into a USD 1.12 billion industry by 2013.
One area of particular concern is the safety of emergency responders and firefighters and the need for them to be fitted with high-quality protective clothing and equipment. Given the Middle East’s hot and arid conditions, firefighters need exceptional gear that can withstand the rigors of multiple roles that go beyond fire fighting. A recent international survey reveals that fire rescue is actually a minor proportion of call-out incidents; fire fighting teams also provide emergency technical assistance in a wide range of environments. The region’s unique geographic profile demands turnout gear that is highly durable, light and comfortable.
DuPont, a science company, is spearheading efforts in this regard through pioneering materials such as its high-quality, intelligent flame resistant fiber, Nomex. Nomex labeled garments are incorporated into fabric for use by fire fighters and industrial workers all over the world. It can withstand exposure to extreme heat for over eight seconds without melting or dripping. The material also blocks out UV rays, is anti-abrasive and feels soft to the touch. Fabrics made of Nomex are very easy to care for and retain their appearance even after repetitive washes.
“The Middle East is highly susceptible to fires which, when uncontrolled, can be highly catastrophic. It is thus imperative for the region to have access to the best equipment and expertise to combat this perpetual threat. It is just as important to ensure the personal protection of fire fighters so that they can more effectively do their job. With its industry-leading heat resistance, strength and light weight, Nomex makes firefighting as safe and as bearable as possible for our valiant responders,” said Amr El-Moneim, DuPont Regional Marketing Manager.
Nomex garments maintain their protective performance inside and out even after undergoing numerous intensive mechanical straining, soiling and reuse tests. Samples used for two years have survived several trainings in containers and washes. Flame tests have shown that Nomex jackets and trousers lose none of their protective qualities even after upwards of 10 years’ wear. An eight-second intensive flame on Thermo-Man® consistently produced the same result: after several years of wear, Nomex protective clothing still offers the same flame and heat protection as it did in its original state.
Breathability and light weight are other critical factors for selecting protective clothing, as psychological elements such as shouting can increase stress levels and body temperature long before a firefighter begins physical work. Nomex garments have received high marks under these criteria via a balanced blend of heat-resistant meta-aramid DuPont Nomex fibres and threads of high-strength para-aramid fibres such as DuPont Kevlar.
More Middle Eastern fire fighting organizations are adopting Nomex garments to solve the problem of optimizing thermal protection, breathability and comfort via only one type of garment that can withstand the region’s harsh climate and fire fighting conditions.