After two years of development, field testing and subsequent improvements, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announce that a new improved structure glove that allows better fit, dexterity and flexibility has completed testing and received National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA) certification.
“The glove is now commercially available for firefighters use from Shelby Specialty Glove,” said the DHS announcement.
DHS explained that, “Firefighters wear protective gloves called ‘structure gloves’ to keep their hands safe on the job. The protective equipment firefighters wear—including structure gloves—give them the confidence to focus on putting out fires and saving lives; however, the structure gloves currently used by firefighters are not designed for the precision movements our first responders must perform.”
Consequently, DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate partnered with NanoSonic, Inc. and Shelby Glove to construct a new, improved structure glove that will provide the full range of protection firefighters need. This next-generation glove provides firefighters with enhanced dexterity, water repellency and fire resistance.
NanoSonic has developed a durable material called HybridSil—a Kevlar -based fabric that is both heat and water resistant. HybridSil can withstand punctures and lacerations that current structure gloves may not. S&T is working with NanoSonic to ensure the final glove meets all identified first responder requirements, standards and certifications.
“To make certain the glove truly met the needs of firefighters, S&T sent each prototype to be tested by fire departments across the nation,” DHS said. “Testers used the glove in a series of exercises designed to replicate real life scenarios. Firefighters used the gloves as rigorously during testing as they would in the field. Each iteration featured improvements based on firefighters comments. The current version of the glove was assessed in spring 2014 and evaluated against five categories: ease of donning and doffing, proper fit, puncture resistance, dexterity and thermal protection and heat dissipation.”
After gathering feedback from responders through several rounds of testing, the final specifications for the glove were captured. The finished product will feature three layers of HybridSil material.
The Improved Structure Firefighting Glove is expected to be available commercially in 2014.