New FDNY firefighting gloves 'improve dexterity, fit'
The gloves are more flexible than those used in the past, are more breathable, thinner and lighter because of a vapor barrier
NEW YORK — They were in development for more than a year.
They're manufactured by a company that once made gear for industrial workers, racecar drivers and the U.S. military.
What are they? New, state-of-the-art gloves for FDNY firefighters.
After more than a year of research and testing by firefighters in the field, the Glove Corp Blaze-Fighter gloves are being introduced to the membership, and they are different than any other glove they've used before.
"We want to protect the members from burns and ensure they do their job better," said Chief of Safety Stephen Raynis.
The biggest improvements to the style are the dexterity and the fit. The glove has curvature fitting and is three-dimensional, meaning the fingertip seams and bulky seams between fingers have been eliminated. This makes it easier for a firefighter to change channels on his or her radio, put them on or take them off when they are wet, or put on a helmet and breathing apparatus while wearing them.
Firefighter Aaron Buch from Rescue 1 was part of the pilot program that tested the style and was one of the hundreds of firefighters who responded to the 7-alarm fire on Grand Street in Manhattan's Chinatown on April 11.
He said he was wearing the gloves when he fell — head first – through the floor, catching himself by swinging his body forward and using his arms. When he transmitted a Mayday, he said he was happy the gloves provided improved dexterity, which enabled him to feel the call button without having to remove them.
He said he noticed a difference in dexterity when using tools, too.
Luckily, Firefighter Buch was able to save himself after the fall, receiving only minor burns ... and holes in his helmet from the searing heat.
These gloves are more flexible from those used in the past, and are more breathable, thinner and lighter because of a vapor barrier. They meet the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requirements for chemical/blood borne pathogen and water resistance. The thermal protection performance is also a 60, well above the NFPA's required 35.
The glove was selected from eight styles submitted by six vendors. The choices were narrowed to four and 125 firefighters from five companies — Engine 290, Ladder 124, Ladder 33, Squad 288 and Rescue 1 — tested them over the course of several months.
The palm is made of cowhide leather, impregnated with silicone to improve water repellency and wear, and the rest is goatskin and Kevlar. The sizes range from XS to XXXL, including cadet size (wider palm and shorter fingers).
All the components are from suppliers in the United States and they are completely American made by Glove Corp. The family-run company is headquartered in Alexandria, Ind., with the primary manufacturing plant is in Arkansas.
Republished with permission from FDNY.