Firefighters put their lives on the line to protect our communities, facing various risks in their line of duty. To ensure your safety, it's crucial that your gear remains in top-notch condition. 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material, Series 5680 Fire Coat Comfort Trim, plays a significant role in enhancing visibility during firefighting operations. However, like any other equipment, wear and tear may occur over time, necessitating proper inspection and repairs. Here are some ways to tell when it’s time for replacement.
Buckling and lifting of segments in reflective material are relatively rare but can occur, especially during use in a fire. Other wear patterns may include corner damage or minor abrasions. These patterns, along with buckles or minor lifting, may or may not require immediate repair. According to NFPA 1851 guidelines, the verified Independent Service Provider (ISP) has the discretion to determine whether these wear patterns need repair.
In cases where buckles or lifted segments are identified during routine service, we recommend re-laminating these segments. The process of re-lamination restores the reflective material's functionality and appearance, ensuring that it continues to serve its intended purpose effectively.
For larger buckles, re-lamination may create a hard wrinkle on the reflective material. Although this doesn't significantly affect reflectivity, your department might prefer to replace the affected segments entirely for aesthetic reasons.
Fires involve the combustion of various materials, releasing toxic substances into the air. When you enter burning structures or fight wildfires, you're exposed to a toxic cocktail of gases, particulate matter, and harmful chemicals. Inhaling these substances can lead to acute and long-term health effects.
It's essential that any repairs should be carried out in line with the requirements of NFPA 1851 and under the guidance of the garment manufacturer or a verified ISP. The manufacturers of the gear and its components hold the final authority on the proper repair of wear or damage to the supplied gear.
Gear Wash understands wear patterns and knowing when and how to carry out repairs. It is essential for maintaining the gear's performance and ensuring firefighter safety. By following NFPA 1851 and collaborating with 3M, we can ensure that your department has the best protection possible while serving your communities. Remember, safety is a shared responsibility, and properly maintained gear is a small but significant step in safeguarding those who protect us.
For further questions, users can contact their local 3M™ Scotchlite™ Technical Service, or us at Gear Wash.