PBI has been at the forefront of incredible innovation and progress in the development of fabrics that protect firefighters against heat and flame but are also lightweight and breathable, reducing the risk of heat stress.
The company’s range of fabrics have become the preferred choice of fire services all over the world, from Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Middle East to North America and much of Europe, including Scandinavia.
Choosing to work with only the best fabric manufacturers in the supply chain ensures that every PBI product performs to the highest levels required in modern firefighting and rescue. The company’s close working relationship with its supply chains is a key factor in the continued investment in research and innovation, which results in products that set new standards in comfort and performance. It has driven the development of an extensive range of structural firefighting outer fabrics designed specifically for the different needs of fire services. This includes PBI Gold, PBI Matrix, PBI Max, Gemini XTL, Titan 1260, ENFORCER 24K and Ibena X55.
The company has now developed its lightest-ever new fibre, PBI LP™, that will enhance comfort, breathability and freedom of movement for future structural firefighting gear.
Fabric made with PBI LP™, which stands for ‘lightweight performance’, is 10% lighter than other outer fabrics for structural fire gear, helping to reduce the risk of heat stress.
The new lighter fibre performs incredibly well when used in outer-shell fabrics, even when tested against other heavier para-aramid and meta-aramid products. In the Dynamic Flame Test, used to demonstrate the time it takes for an outer fabric to break down, PBI LP™ of 180g/m2 lasted 48 seconds, while a much heavier 225/ g/m2 Para-aramid/Meta-aramid fabric lasted just 3 seconds.
PBI’s continued commitment to innovation and new product development is not restricted to structural firefighting solutions. Working closely with Heathcoat Fabrics, PBI has also developed a lightweight protective fabric with increased tensile strength that is designed specifically for technical rescue, wildland and industrial firefighting. PBI TGP 185 is available in a wide range of colours and provides lightweight breathable protection while protecting from heat, flash fire and arc flash.
One of the biggest challenges to firefighter safety is the risk posed by heat stress. It can cause many problems, from muscle fatigue and reduced cognitive function to cardiovascular strain and cardiac arrest. Research has shown that more firefighters die in the line of duty from cardiac arrest than from any other cause. One of the paradoxes of firefighter protection is that structural firefighting garments designed to protect the wearer from heat and flame can potentially contribute to the rise in core body temperature that triggers heat stress. That’s why it is so important that the outer fabric, which has a primary role of protecting from heat and flame, is designed to mitigate the risk of heat stress.
All PBI fabrics are designed to offer maximum thermal protection from the outside, while at the same time delivering high levels of breathability and comfort to reduce the risk of heat stress. They will not become brittle, shrink or break open when exposed to flame and high temperatures, which is among the characteristics of other fabrics. This means that the integrity of the internal layers of the garment is protected and the transfer of any radiant heat is slower, allowing more time for firefighters to escape to safety in a situation such as a flashover.
In the 32 years since opening for business in Charlotte, North Carolina, PBI Performance Products has created a reputation for protection without compromise that is recognised all over the world.
For more information, go to www.pbiproducts.com