The Advance+ is a technical garment ensemble based on the same patented technology and features of our Advance Baselayer. With the Advance+, we have used this technology to develop a Station wear uniform which is composed of a Poloshirt and Action trousers (activewear design). We have also used the technology of the Advance+ in a Wildfire Suit, which features unrivalled protection for the harshest of environments.

As with the Advance baselayer, the Advance+ is a cutting-edge protective uniform designed specifically for firefighters, engineered with our innovative patented technology. It delivers unrivalled comfort and maximum breathability, whilst not compromising on the protective capabilities.
What truly distinguishes our baselayer is its cutting-edge patented material technology, blocking 98.34 – 99.99% of smoke and particulates, shielding against cancer-causing agents and hazardous substances.

In creating our Advance and Advance+ Baselayers, we have included fire-retardant and anti-static properties in the materials. This ensures greater protection from flame and heat source, as well as electrostatic discharge. The material has been engineered with a 4-way stretch, improving the comfortability in the Defender Baselayer. Whilst providing unparalleled flexibility and mobility of the garments, it also limits the possibility of small tears in the fabric around the seams which would reduce the particulate blocking ability of the garment.

The ultra-fine knit moisture-managing fabric has sweat-wicking and rapid drying capabilities, which is essential for firefighters’ comfort amidst the extreme conditions during and post-burn. With a RET Test result of 7.0m2.PA/W and Air Permeability test of 943.0mm/100PA, the Advance+ material provides the sweat wicking and breathability of a lightweight sports top and almost the protection of a FFP3 mask.

The Enduro Protect Advanced+ Baselayer aligns with the ‘Clean Cab’ policy, providing versatility for dressing down without compromising safety standards. With these innovative features, our protective Baselayer establishes a new benchmark in firefighter apparel, prioritising both protection and comfort: a milestone previously deemed unattainable in the industry.

As with all our Baselayers, it is also free from PFAS/PFOS and is A British product.
Compared to the Defender, our Advanced baselayer has been designed to deliver the same level of protection, but not compromise in terms of comfort and breathability. It is also fire-retardant and anti-static.

Why choose Enduro Protect for your First Responders?

  • Continuous Innovation: We are dedicated in providing the best possible solutions in protective wear. We develop our own fabrics and technology which exceed industry and expert expectations.
  • Budget Friendly: We understand that our clients are subject to funding and budget restrictions. We’ve built our products to last years not months, to offset cost against garment life.
  • Scientifically Backed Protection: Independent qualified Test Houses have proved that our baselayer protects against dangerous cancer-causing particles through its 99.99% smoke and particulate-blocking material. Baselayers are vitally important in the protection of our firefighters, as such we won’t leave it to chance. Our baselayers and materials have been subjected to rigorous scientific testing.

For further information on our baselayer protection products or to discuss your requirements, contact the team today. Phone 01235 814112 or email [email protected] You can view our other protective wear and baselayer options by clicking here.

Stationwear Version

The Advance+ Stationwear is based on the same technology in the Advance Baselyer but designed as a Uniform Poloshirt with epaulettes and Action trouser for Stationwear. The Poloshirt features smart button down collars, a quarter zip and cuff adjusters. The Action Trouser features three upper zipped pockets and two zipped thigh pockets – all protected inside with the same carcinogen blocking technology. It also is manufactured with a quality waistband, with stretch elastic side sections, belt loops and cuff adjusters at the end of the legs to provide the perfect seal from the contaminants. This uniform shields against the cancer-causing carcinogenic elements found in smoke and fire, minimising exposure whilst ensuring optimal breathability. As with the Advance Baselayer, it safeguards against heat, effectively regulating body temperature before, during, and after fire exposure.

The stationwear version was developed to provide additional layering to improve protection from thermal burden and fire risks. Our existing clients were keen on a stationwear offering in the same advanced material so that they could wear it around the station, and then immediately respond to a scene without removing their uniform to replace with an adequate next-to-skin layer. The stationwear version allows a fire brigade to use their uniform budget as a way of upgrading their existing stationwear to include a level of protection too.
Once again, it is fire-retardant, anti-static and free from PFAS/PFOS for comprehensive protection.

Wildfire Suit Version

Our Advanced+ offering is also available in a wildfire suit, specially designed to withstand the extreme conditions when facing a wildfire. The suit is made from a double-layered, 420 gram fire retardant fabric, making this our most robust and heat resistant offering. It features the same fabric mesh technology, blocking cancer-causing carcinogens and pathogens firefighters are exposed to in the line of duty.

Key Features of Our Advanced+ Baselayer

  •  Uniform Style – Polo Top with epaulettes and activewear trousers.
  • Can be worn as Stationwear.
  • Available in a Wildfire Suit.
  • Fire Retardant and Anti-Static.
  • 4-way stretch with sweat wicking and rapid drying capabilities.
  • Fully breathable.
  • Long sleeve zip front top and joggers.
  • Ultra-fine knit moisture managing, high performance material.
  • 98.34 – 99.99% smoke and particulate-blocking material.
  • Protection against cancer-causing particulates and hazardous substances.
  • Controls body temperature to reduce heat stress.
  • Can be worn for dressing down as part of the ‘Clean Cab’ policy.
  • Both male and female fits are available.
  • Machine Washable (maintaining 99% blocking efficiency even after 100 wash/dry cycles).
  • Non PFAS/PFOS.

 

 

Features

Comfort and Flexibility

The ultra-fine knit is a soft material with two-way stretch. Unlike competitor products, we’ve ensured that the flexibility doesn’t damage the protection at the seams.
As a firefighter, sweating is inevitable. Faced with exposure of extreme heat and multiple layers of clothing, protective wear needs to wick away sweat and keep you dry. That’s why our baselayer is crafted from a rapid-drying and moisture-wicking material, ensuring you stay dry and your body temperature doesn’t plummet when you take your equipment off.

With a relaxed-fit and elasticated cuffs, every piece of our protective wear boasts an ergonomic fit to ensure that our garments move with you, never against. And of course, they’re machine washable for easy maintenance with 99% blocking efficiency retained after 100 wash/dry cycles.
With some competitor materials, better protection means thicker materials. As such it can be a balancing act between protection and breathability, with heavier fabrics increasing the potential for heat stress. Our lightweight patented materials help regulate body temperature and reduce heat stress. In discussing our baselayer, Nicolas Brown (Oxfordshire FRS) commented that Enduro Protect “was much more efficient: cooling the entire body evenly, rapidly, and stopping once a reasonable temperature was gained. I never felt too cold in this, and I never felt wet. I was really impressed with this”.

Smoke and Particulate-Blocking Technology

The link between firefighting and cancer should concern us all. To protect firefighters against cancer-causing carcinogens and particulates, our baselayers feature a patented mesh fabric. This material blocks 98.34 – 99.99% of smoke and particulates, yet it is lightweight and breathable; redefining existing standards of firefighters PPE. Research has shown that our patented fabric blocks all the way to chemical warfare agents, making it a reliable fabric for the Ministry of Defence as well as Firefighters.

One firefighter commented that after exposure to heat and smoke in one of the FBT demo boxes his “skin did not smell of smoke or show any signs of contaminants. The inside of the baselayer was clean and also did not smell of smoke”. The smoke-blocking qualities of this material keep your clothes and your skin smoke free, and are the perfect solution to preventing cross-contamination and keeping in line with a clean cab policy.

Flame Retardant and Anti-Static

Designed to provide exceptional protection when worn under turnout gear, our Advanced and Advance+ Baselayers are flame retardant. Fire-retardant / Fire-resistant (FR) apparel is crafted to safeguard the wearer against flames and thermal harm. These garments are engineered to resist ignition and self-extinguish after the ignition source is eliminated, thus averting burns from both initial flame contact and residual heat transmission. This offers an additional layer of protection from the heat and flames to the wearer. Enduro Advanced and Advanced+ materials are FR to the following ISO standards:

  • EN 14116:2015
  • EN 11612:2015

The fabrics in our Advanced and Advanced+ Baselayers also have anti-static properties. Anti-static protective wear protect the wearer from electrostatic discharge (ESD), preventing potential sparks. In certain environments and situations, these sparks could lead to fires, explosions or even injuries.

Meet the Standards

Our baselayers are designed to meet the following standards:

  • EN ISO 14116:2015 Index 3
  • EN ISO 11612:2015
  • EN ISO 9237:1995
  • EN ISO 11092:2014

 

To discuss any points made in this article, please call the Enduro Protect team on 01235 814112 or email us via [email protected]

Thermal burden and heat stress are significant concerns for firefighter health and safety, particularly during firefighting operations. Research shows that more than 75 per cent of firefighters experience heat-related illness symptoms such as headache, sudden muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea and fainting, and that sudden cardiac death accounts for almost half of all firefighter duty-related fatalities. In addition, heat stress negatively affects cognitive function and decision-making, raising the risk of making mistakes, which in a firefighting situation, can have tragic consequences.

Climate change poses an additional challenge to firefighters, including those working in the UK. In July 2022, firefighters told The Independent that battling fires in 40C temperatures was not something they had experienced before.

One firefighter stated:

“I went through the sweating stage into not sweating and then I felt cold even though it was 40C.”
“Normally if you’re at a fire and you go in hot areas, you can move away from that and cool down.”
“Yesterday, you could move away from it, but you weren’t able to necessarily cool down because the temperatures were so high. So, it was about taking on plenty of water and doing whatever you could to cool off.”

In this article, we look at the impact of thermal burden and heat stress on firefighters and how the Enduro Protect baselayer and other measures can help them manage the associated risks.

What Is Thermal Burden?

Thermal burden refers to the collective physiological strain the human body experiences when exposed to heat. In the context of firefighting, thermal burden encompasses the combined effects of radiant heat from flames, conductive heat from hot surfaces, convective heat from hot air, and high humidity levels. As firefighters work in hot environments, their bodies must continually disperse heat to maintain a stable internal temperature. Prolonged exposure to heat can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and other heat-related illnesses. The severity of the thermal burden depends on factors such as how long a firefighter has been subjected to heat exposure, the type of protective gear worn, the amount of physical exertion required to fight the fire, fitness levels, and heat acclimatisation.

What Is Heat Stress?

Heat stress occurs when heat exposure overwhelms a person’s ability to regulate their internal temperature. Heat stress can cause a variety of symptoms, including increased heart rate, sweating, elevated body temperature, dehydration, fatigue, and impaired mental function. Firefighters are particularly vulnerable to heat stress due to the very nature of their work, including the physical demands of fighting a blaze and the protective clothing and equipment they must wear, which can inhibit heat dissipation.

How Can Firefighters Manage Thermal Burden and Heat Stress?

Managing the risks associated with thermal burden and heat stress is essential to protect firefighters from heat-related illnesses and ensure their ability to perform their duties safely and effectively.
One crucial aspect of managing heat stress and thermal burden is providing firefighters with proper hydration. Firefighters must maintain adequate fluid intake before, during, and after firefighting activities to replenish fluids lost through sweating and to prevent dehydration.

Risk management hydration strategies should encourage firefighters to drink water regularly and provide access to hydration stations or water sources on-site. Additionally, electrolyte-replacement beverages may be necessary to replenish electrolytes lost through sweating, particularly during prolonged operations or in hot and humid conditions.

Another key component of heat stress management is plenty of rest breaks. Firefighters should be given regular opportunities to rest and recuperate during operations to prevent excessive heat exposure and thermal burden. Rest breaks allow firefighters to cool down, rehydrate, and recover from physical exertion, reducing the risk of heat-related illnesses.
Effective monitoring of environmental conditions is also essential for managing heat stress and thermal burden. Firefighters and incident commanders should closely monitor temperature, humidity, and heat index levels to assess the risk of heat stress and adjust work/rest cycles accordingly.

Training and education equip firefighters with the knowledge and skills to effectively recognise and manage heat stress. Firefighters should receive training on identifying the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and strategies for preventing and managing heat stress during firefighting operations.

Although using cooling strategies is another critical aspect of heat stress management for firefighters, they must be careful to avoid cooling down too rapidly, especially post-burn. If firefighters wear a simple T-Shirt or equivalent underneath their turnout gear, and this becomes drenched in sweat, their bodies can cool down too fast during doffing.

Finally, high-quality protective gear, including a baselayer, provides the ultimate protection against thermal burden and heat stress.

How Does the Enduro Protect Baselayer Protect Against Thermal Burden and Heat Stress?

The Enduro Protect base layer excels at controlling body temperature and reducing the potential for heat stress as it cools the wearer’s body at an even rate.
Due to heat exposure and the thickness of firefighter clothing, profuse sweating is inevitable. One of the key benefits of our base layer is its ability to wick sweat away from the body and quickly dry. This means that firefighters feel much more comfortable while performing their roles.

Other features of the Enduro Protect Baselayer include:

  • Protection from heat itself.
  • Breathable fabric to cool the wearer down.
  • Rapid dry to prevent steam burns.
  • Deals very effectively in bringing body back to normal temperature.
  • Manages body temperature post wear to manage temperature dips.

It is a common myth that wearing extra clothes adds to heat stress. This is untrue – the Enduro Protect Baselayer actually helps to manage thermal burden. Independent testing proves that firefighters experience less Heat Stress wearing the Advance Baselayer than wearing a lightweight T-shirt and shorts under your fire kit. This is because it boasts an Air Permeability test result of 943 and a RET test of 7.0. – results normally only achieved by the most breathable cycling tops.

By adopting Enduro Protect as a primary preventive measure, firefighters automatically shield themselves from the carcinogens in the fire but just as importantly, from, thermal burden and heat stress. This ensures they are healthy both during and after attending a fire, and able to protect themselves and their colleagues.

To discuss any points made in this article, please call the Enduro Protect team on 01235 814112 or email us via [email protected]

The question of whether firefighters are exposed to harmful chemicals that are absorbed through the skin is no longer in any doubt. This absorption occurs despite firefighters wearing full turnout gear. Evidence shows that this exposure can lead to firefighters experiencing increased risks of cancer and other serious illnesses compared to the general population. In this article, we answer your questions about the chemical hazards a firefighter’s skin is typically exposed to and the types of fires that increase absorption.

What Are the Key Chemicals Firefighters Are Exposed to During a Fire?

Chemical hazards that firefighters are exposed to include, but are not limited to:

  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) – PAHs comprise over one hundred chemicals, seventeen of which are known to cause major health problems in humans, including bladder, skin, lung, and gastrointestinal disease.
  • Naphthalene and Benzine – Naphthalene, the most volatile PAH, can penetrate the protective barriers of turnout gear more readily than less volatile PAHs. Benzene is also a highly volatile chemical that can penetrate turnout gear.
  • Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – PFAS are one of the major classes of carcinogenic chemicals that firefighters are exposed to at both the fire scene and fire station. Elevated levels of PFAS have been noted in firefighters’ blood serum in recent studies. Possible sources of occupational exposure to PFAS include turnout gear, aqueous film-forming foam, air and dust.

 

Are Firefighters Exposed to Chemical Hazards in House Fires?

House fires can be particularly dangerous when it comes to chemical hazards due to factors such as the chemicals contained in furniture, plastics, and wood. PAHs can be released during incomplete combustion of such materials. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) also present serious dangers. VOCs vaporise at room temperature and are commonly found in household products such as paints, solvents, and cleaning agents. These compounds can be released into the air and absorbed through the skin during a fire. Long-term exposure to VOCs has been associated with respiratory problems, neurological impairment, and other health issues.

Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury from various sources, including lead-based paints, electronic devices, and batteries, can also be released in a house fire. Leading to the metals being absorbed through the skin. This can result in neurological damage, and kidney and liver harm. Chlorine gas can be released from burning materials containing PVC (polyvinyl chloride), such as plastic pipes, vinyl flooring, or electrical wiring. Chlorine gas is highly irritating to the skin and eyes.

Finally, there is exposure to Formaldehyde and Hydrogen Cyanide gas, which can both be released into the air during a fire and absorbed through the skin. Formaldehyde exposure has been linked to respiratory irritation, skin allergies, and cancer. Exposure to hydrogen cyanide can occur through inhalation and skin contact and can lead to symptoms such as headache, dizziness, respiratory distress, and even death.

What Are the Worst Types of Fires for Chemical Hazards?

The worst types of fires for chemical hazards are those involving the combustion of materials that release highly toxic substances or produce particularly harmful byproducts. These include:

  • Although rare, electric vehicle fires can result in the release of over 100 organic chemicals due to the intense heat caused by the burning of the Lithium-ion battery.
  • Fires involving plastics, synthetic materials, and other hydrocarbon-based substances can release toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and VOCs. These materials often burn at high temperatures and produce dense, black smoke which contains hazardous chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin.
  • Industrial fires in chemical plants, warehouses storing hazardous materials, or facilities handling toxic substances pose significant chemical hazards. These fires may involve the combustion of highly reactive chemicals, corrosive materials, or substances with acute poisonous properties.
  • Fires involving electrical equipment or wiring can release toxic gases and substances, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in older electrical equipment and heavy metals from electronic components. Combining heat and electrical arcing can generate hazardous byproducts, increasing chemical-related dangers.
  • Fires involving hazardous waste materials, such as those in landfills, storage facilities, or illegal waste disposal sites, can release a complex mixture of toxic substances, including heavy metals, pesticides, industrial chemicals, and solvents.
  • Fires in older buildings constructed with materials containing asbestos, lead-based paints, or other dangerous substances can release toxic chemicals into the air and produce dust, soot, and debris that can penetrate the skin.
  • Wildfires are fully carbonaceous fires and often produce complete combustion due to extremely high heat. Wildfires emit large amounts of black carbon and light-absorbing organic carbon, known as brown carbon, into the atmosphere. In addition to the chemicals produced by the fire itself, fire retardants that are often dropped from the air to control wildfires, contain chemicals that can be hazardous to first responders.

How Can Firefighters Protect Themselves from Exposing Their Skin to Hazardous Chemicals?

Firefighters must take substantial measures to safeguard themselves from contamination. Enduro Protect presents a durable, cost-efficient, and comfortable solution to ensure the long-term well-being of firefighters worldwide. Moreover, firefighters utilising Enduro Protect base layers demonstrate no statistically higher likelihood of cancer diagnosis compared to the general population.

One area of particular vulnerability highlighted in studies on firefighters’ chemical exposure is the neck region. This has been one of the key considerations in the design and development of our own protective flash hoods. The Enduro Protect Flash Hood has a unique design, featuring an ergonomic cut with an extended attached ‘pelerine’. This is the extra material which extends out from the neck across the top-half of the shoulders and chest. The pelerine is tucked under jacket or other protective wear providing perfect protection with no seams exposed. This ensures the highest levels of filtration of chemicals and other hazardous substances. Created from submicron-sized fibres, the material technology of the flash hood forms a protective shield that filters out 99.7% of toxic microparticles, aiding in the prevention of cancer among firefighters. Crucially, it fully covers the head and neck, providing protection against PFASs and PAHs.

The Enduro Protect Ensemble recently underwent independent testing by Professor Robert Chilcott and the University of Hertfordshire’s Toxicology Research Group. This evaluation assessed the protective capacity of the undergarment ensemble (R52R and R045N) worn by a robot in a smoke chamber contaminated with carbonaceous (soot) particles. During the trial, no turnout gear was worn over the baselayer, exposing it entirely to the elements.

The test results exhibited a statistically notable reduction in aerosol penetration throughout the one-hour exposure duration. By adopting the Enduro Protect Baselayer ensemble as a primary preventive measure, firefighters automatically provide themselves and extra shield from harm in all scenarios, substantially reducing the health consequences of long-term exposure to fire-induced chemical hazards.

To discuss any points made in this article, please call the Enduro Protect team on 01235 814112 or email us via [email protected]

What is the Clean Cab Policy?

The ‘Clean Cab Policy’ is a measure that was introduced to protect firefighters from dangerous carcinogens which have been shown to significantly increase the risk of cancer and other diseases. As we all know, research over the last 15 years has demonstrated the correlation between firefighting and increased risk in cancer.

The Clean Cab policy attempts to prevent these carcinogens from being transferred by raising awareness of contaminated equipment around the interior of the cab and increasing rigorous cleaning requirements. This introduced improvements in the decontamination process to ensure that these substances are not transferred from the clothing of firefighters to the seating and interior of fire-vehicles. Through the accidental transposition of these cancer-causing carcinogens from the scene of a fire to the vehicle, firefighters risk exposing themselves and others to potentially hazardous particulates and chemicals.

Why Does This Matter?

After an Incident, carcinogenic substances will have contaminated the external surface of the uniform of firefighters under their fire kit. This contamination then transfers to the Cab of the vehicle. Research has suggested that the absorption rate of human skin increases by 400% from a temperature rise of as little as five degrees Celsius. This increased absorption rate combined with cross-contamination of vehicle seats and equipment could introduce smoke and hazardous particulates onto the skin and therefore into the body, contributing to higher chances of illness.

It’s then apparent that whilst both DECON and the Clean Cab initiatives outline measures to reduce the risk of spreading toxic chemicals, action needs to be taken to increase protective and preventative measures. By only focusing on the aftermath, the harm could have already been done. So, what is the solution to keeping firefighters safe?

Why isn’t DECON enough?

A fundamental component of DECON is removing the contaminated fire kit, safely bagging it and cleaning the skin and hair with specialist wipes at the scene including washing all possible clothing and equipment. This is absolutely essential to ensure the contamination is removed off the skin as soon as possible, but you are actually only cleaning off, what didn’t go in! The rest of the contaminants have gone inside the body – to be sweated out later – or some of it.

Additionally, some firefighters are required to wear their uniform home after a call-out and washing it with their families washing, thus potentially spreading the contaminants. This can lead to family members suffering the same dire consequences of harmful chemicals, without ever encountering a fire themselves. Flaws with decontamination processes and the Clean Cab policy can mean that equipment which is re-used and harder to clean, such as helmets and gloves, can serve as a receptacle for the transference of contaminated particles. With the use of our protective baselayers a fundamental step is added into DECON and the Clean Cab policy to shield firefighters and loved ones from carcinogens.

What Are the Risks Associated with Contamination?

It is estimated that approximately 15 million firefighters around the globe are regularly exposed to extremely dangerous carcinogenic contaminants. It is due to this that firefighters are four times more likely to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime than the general public. It’s well known that cancer is the number one cause of death in the field.

Once contaminants reach the skin, the damage is done.

Studies have shown that skin cancer and testicular cancer are the most common cancers that affect firefighters. In order to reduce these severe illnesses, preventative measures need to be facilitated alongside DECON and the Clean Cab policy. Unfortunately, the nature of fighting fires requires a lot of exposure to these contaminants, so, instead of simply decontaminating after the fire, a head-to-toe preventative measure must be implemented.

We recognise that there are also a myriad of health problems that arise from the contamination of ‘forever chemicals’. These ‘forever chemicals’, such as PFAS and PFOS, are man-made and are resistant to water, grease and heat and are currently in firefighters fire kit. The carbon-fluorine bonds of PFAS are amongst the strongest in nature, meaning that they do not organically break down for a multitude of years.

The danger of contamination from these ‘forever chemicals’ include cancers, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, fertility problems and even newborn death. To limit exposure to these forever chemicals, Enduro Protect wear does not contain PFAS and PFOS.

Isn’t it our duty to protect those who protect so many?

Protection Through Prevention: How Does Baselayer Protection Protect Firefighters?

Enduro Protect Baselayer is designed to be donned over the top of an Operational Firefighters Stationwear. The leggings are pre-positioned in the outer leggings and the zip top on the hook at their position. On a Call-Out, the Firefighter will put on the zip top and pull up the leggings with the outer leggings. This creates the seal from contaminants. They then don the outer Tunic and depart from the Station. After the fire Incident, whilst on the fireground, they will doff their contaminated PPE and bag it.

They then doff their contaminated Baselayer and bag it and climb into the cab in their clean uniform (that hasn’t suffered the usual contamination). This will reduce the contamination in the cab and of course, back at the Station. With our head-to-toe protection from our Flash Hood, Baselayer, Liner gloves and socks, our baselayers are designed protect you, your colleagues and your family.

The work to protect our firefighters from carcinogens is in prevention. By stopping contaminants entering the skin, the chance of illness and cross-contamination is decreased. The standard baselayer used by firefighters does not insulate the wearer against the absorption of carcinogens into the skin. Any time a firefighter can smell the smoke of a fire on their skin, the carcinogens have penetrated the skin too.

Enduro Protect’s Baselayers protect the wearer from 98.34 – 99.99% of cancer-causing harmful smoke and particulates.

One of the considerations Enduro Protect has made in the construction of our own baselayers is to ensure its longevity. After three years of rigorous development, our baselayers will remain at a high blocking efficiency even after 100 wash/dry cycles.

At Enduro Protect, we are passionate about protecting those that protect us.

As it stands, the astronomical risk of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses that are not adequately safeguarded against, is a mountainous problem. With the Enduro Protect Baselayers we effectively protect firefighters from head to toe. Our Flash Hood has all-over head protection from the carcinogens and an extended pelerine to provide better protection over the neck. Our Liner gloves mean that you can keep your hands clean without wearing nitrile gloves – they can be washed and re-used too! Our socks provide the same protection, so with the Enduro Protect Baselayer Ensemble, the firefighters body is completely protected.

All of the baselayers are ergonomic garments that combine safety with comfort and style. Keeping the core body temperature at safe levels is a significant issue when it comes to fighting fires; to combat this, our Baselayer will protect you from the heat and manage your body temperature post-wear to reduce the affect of heat stress.

The accepted status quo is that a firefighter is 4 times more likely to get cancer than persons working in non-hazardous occupations. Our mission, is that with prevention prior to exposure and strong Decon principles a firefighter should be no more likely to suffer cancer or other terminal illnesses.

Head-to-toe protection against carcinogens and forever chemicals should be non-negotiable when it comes to the safety of firefighters. With the combination of DECON, the ‘Clean Cab’ policy and our unique Baselayer, we can work together to prevent occupational related cancer and disease in the workplace.

Keep clean and save lives with Enduro Protect. Call our experts today on 01235 514290 or view the Enduro Baselayer

Firefighters face greater dangers than those simply resulting from fire itself, for example, burns, smoke inhalation, or being injured by falling debris. They are also exposed to insidious, often invisible dangers from chemicals and substances resulting from fire, smoke, combustion products, fire station dust, diesel exhaust, and contaminated fire equipment and gear.

One of the most significant risks firefighters face is exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, which are a family of chemicals that are known to have the potential to cause cancer. Having high-quality PPE is crucial to protecting firefighters from contamination. In this article, we list some of the most harmful chemicals and substances firefighters come into contact with regularly.

Benzine C6H6

A recognised carcinogenic is a natural constituent of petroleum. It is colourless and highly flammable. It is linked to bone marrow failure, leukaemia, and heart disease. As early as 1948, the American Petroleum Institute declared that there was no safe level of exposure to Benzine.

Exposure to high levels of Benzine can result in a person suffering the following signs and symptoms within minutes to several hours:

• Drowsiness
• Dizziness
• Rapid or irregular heartbeat
• Headaches
• Tremors
• Confusion
• Unconsciousness
• Death (at very high levels)

Toluene C6H5CH3

Absorbed through the skin and through inhalation, Toluene is irritating to the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. Exposure can cause Toluene poisoning. Symptoms include:

• Headaches
• Dizziness
• Drowsiness
• Hallucinations
• Seizures
• Coma

Long-term toluene exposure is often associated with effects such as psychoorganic syndrome; visual evoked potential (VEP) abnormality; toxic polyneuropathy, cerebellar, cognitive, and pyramidal dysfunctions; optic atrophy; hearing disorders, and brain lesions.

Although less toxic than benzine, even low to moderate inhalation levels can result in tiredness, confusion, weakness, and nausea, none of which are conducive to the energy and concentration levels needed by firefighters to ensure their own safety and that of others.

Sulfur Dioxide SO2

Firefighters are regularly exposed to Sulfur Dioxide, especially when fighting industrial fires. Research shows that even low-level exposure to the gas (which is used as a chemical weapon of war) can result in respiratory mortality.

Hydrocarbons

Hydrocarbons are colourless and almost odourless organic compound consisting of hydrogen and carbon. Types of hydrocarbons include:

• Methane
• Ethane
• Propane
• Hexane
• Octane
• Dodecane

Particulates

Firefighters can be dangerously exposed to small particles found in soot and smoke. The International Agency for Research on Cancer recognises soot as a Group 1 carcinogen.
Particulates enter the body through inhalation and the skin. The face and neck are particularly vulnerable to exposure.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Comprising over 100 chemicals, 17 PAHs have been identified as causing significant health problems in humans. These are:

• acenaphthene
• acenaphthylene
• anthracene
• benz[a]anthracene
• benzo[a]pyrene
• benzo[e]pyrene
• benzo[b]fluoranthene
• benzo[g,h,I]perylene
• benzo[j]fluoranthene
• benzo[k]fluoranthene
• chrysene
• dibenz[a,h]anthracene
• fluoranthene
• fluorene
• indeno[1,2,3-c,d]pyrene
• phenanthrene
• pyrene

PAHs are usually not found singularly but as mixtures with many different types present simultaneously.

Long-term studies of people exposed to PAHs alongside other workplace chemicals have shown an increased risk of:

• skin cancer
• lung cancer
• bladder cancer
• gastrointestinal disease

A 2023 study looked at the effects of PAH and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on firefighters’ exposure to liver function and serum lipids. It concluded the following:

“The findings from studying both the effects of individual compounds (through linear regression) as well as the effects of complex mixtures (by means of Bayesian weighted quantile sum regression) suggest that increased exposure to these compounds, typical in firefighters, is associated with increased levels of bilirubin (a potent antioxidant with a proposed U-shaped dose-response curve) and increased levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (risk factors for developing cardiovascular diseases).”

Can chemicals and substances caught up in turnout gear increase firefighters’ cancer risk?

Studies have shown a significant amount of PFAS remains on every layer of turnout gear. These migrate to untreated layers, including the turnout layer. Therefore, turnout gear itself can be a potential source of PFAS exposure.

Fire Contaminates and Harmful Chemicals

The number of harmful chemicals and substances firefighters are exposed to has been shown in several scientific studies, as have the corresponding health consequences. Therefore, firefighters must take significant steps to protect themselves from contamination. Enduro Protect offers a long-lasting, cost-effective, comfortable, and highly effective way to protect the long-term health of firefighters around the globe. In addition, firefighters who use Enduro Protect base layers are statistically no more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than the general population.

A particular area of vulnerability identified in research on firefighters’ exposure to chemicals and substances is the neck. Due to its unique construction, the Enduro Protect Flash Hood guarantees the highest filtration levels. This woven fabric is constructed with the finest fibres in the submicron size and creates a protective barrier that filters 99.7% of toxic microparticles, helping to prevent firefighters from getting cancer as part of their occupation. Most importantly, it covers the head and neck completely to protect the wearer against PFASs and PAHs.

Enduro Protect – Tried and Tested

We have had the Enduro Protect Ensemble independently tested by Professor Robert Chilcott and the University of Hertfordshire’s Toxicology Research Group. The test involved identifying the protection factor of the undergarment ensemble (R52R and R045N) when worn on an animated robot in a smoke chamber contaminated with carbonaceous (soot) particles. Notably, no turnout gear was worn on top of the baselayer, which meant it was fully exposed to the elements.
The test showed a statistically significant reduction in aerosol penetration, achieved over the one-hour duration of exposure.

Using Enduro Protect as a primary prevention means firefighters are automatically protected from harm in all situations, and the amount of skin decontamination necessary is considerably reduced or removed entirely. This simple measure can make the difference between suffering a severe and life-threatening illness in later life due to short and long-term exposure to harmful chemicals and substances and remaining free from disease.

To discuss any points made in this article, please call the Enduro Protect team on 01235 814112 or email us via [email protected]

It is well known that the standard issue firefighting equipment worn by firefighters in the UK does little to prevent toxic carcinogens from reaching the skin, significantly increasing the risk of long-term and fatal health conditions within the profession. Given that a clear correlation between firefighters and cancer was established by researchers in 2022 and an estimated 15 million firefighters around the world are exposed to extremely harmful carcinogenic contaminants, more needs to be done to keep those who place their own lives at risk safe from harm.

This is precisely why we developed the Enduro Protect baselayer. The baselayer has been extensively proven in the field around the world to stop harmful toxins, including smoke particles and forever chemicals, from reaching the skin. In this article, we will explain why particulate blocking is so important and just how effective our products are in protecting the long-term health of firefighters.

The new challenge – forever chemicals

Much has been said in the media about the growing problem of forever chemicals ‘Forever chemicals’ are man-made chemical compounds that do not break down within the environment or in our bodies. The most well-known type of forever chemicals within our environment called ‘per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances’ or PFAS, are resistant to water, grease, and heat. PFAS are incredibly robust due to their strong carbon-fluorine bond and are currently used in the Firefighter Turnout gear.

Once ingested or absorbed into the body, PFAS can cause a wide range of health problems, including cancers, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, liver damage, asthma, and allergies. In mothers and children, PFAS are known to cause decreased fertility, newborn death, and serious birth defects. Thankfully, some PFAS, including PFOS and PFOA, are now banned due to their known adverse health impacts, but they remain at high levels in the environment.

Firefighters are also particularly vulnerable to a type of PFAS called ‘aqueous film-forming foam’, or AFFF. AFFF was introduced in 1979 as an effective fire suppressant and is still widely used in fire departments and airports due to its strong compounds. The risks of AFFF have been known for some time. So much so that the Pentagon in the United States has banned the use of fire foam containing PFAS in its military establishments.
Keeping the level of harmful exposure as low as possible

Key to understanding the science of filtration and how to keep firefighters protected from harmful substances is the idea that a substance must reach and exceed a certain dose threshold before it becomes toxic. This was discovered by Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (1493-1541), a Swiss physician, alchemist, lay theologian, and philosopher of the German Renaissance who is credited as the ‘father of toxicology’. He famously coined the phrase, “the dose makes the poison”. Take, for example, the seemingly harmless spice nutmeg. In higher doses, nutmeg is highly toxic and can lead to tachycardia, nausea, vomiting, agitation and hallucinations. However, in small amounts, the toxicity can be adequately processed and metabolised by our bodies. Another such toxin is cyanide, which is contained in apples. The human body has enzymes which are capable of metabolising cyanide into non-toxic by-products. As a result, a certain amount of cyanide must be ingested before it becomes toxic.

The same is true of the contaminants encountered by firefighters. In minute doses, there may be little or no risk to health, hence why protecting the skin as much as possible is paramount.

Firefighter Equipment and Protection from airborne carcinogens and forever chemicals

Graph displaying results from test

Enduro’s Protect baselayer prevents harmful carcinogens and forever chemicals such as PFAS from reaching the skin in the first place. Recent laboratory tests show that the Enduro Protect baselayer is between 98.34 and 99.99% effective at filtering particulates of 2.5 microns or above.
According to a study by the toxicology department of Hertfordshire University, the filtration efficiency of FFP3 masks dips to below 50% or even 0% in some cases, depending on the size of the particulate. By comparison, the researchers showed that the performance of the Enduro Protect baselayer is much more consistent across all micron sizes compared to FFP3 masks and is highest for particulate sizes of 2.5 microns. The study involved the use of a robot in a smoke chamber wearing an Enduro Protect baselayer, with samples being taken from the chest, head, arms, and legs.

An added focus on prevention – Awareness, prevent, DECON

All firefighters are trained on the health protection principles of awareness and DECON. DECON includes the measures to be taken before the incident, at the incident, at the station, and when going home to prevent toxic contamination. But while DECON provides an excellent model for derisking exposure to toxic contaminants released during fires, it doesn’t, however, prevent toxic contaminants from getting onto the body in the first place; rather, it is about cleaning the contaminants that have already reached the skin. This is problematic because once the toxins have touched the skin, even if only for a short time, they may have already been absorbed into the body before they are cleaned off.

At Enduro Protect, we believe that a third principle should be added to awareness and DECON; that of ‘prevent’. Using our baselayer as a form of primary prevention means that firefighters are automatically protected from harm in all situations, and the amount of decontamination necessary is considerably reduced. This simple measure can make the difference between suffering a serious and life-threatening illness in later life due to short-term exposure to carcinogens in the workplace and remaining cancer-free.

Final words

The statistic that firefighters are four times more likely to get cancer in their lifetime is a wake-up call to the whole profession. With 2024 being the 200-year anniversary of the first fire brigade, we should turn our attention to cancer prevention. Let’s make 2024 the year we protect those that are protecting us. Of course, that works starts now with budgeting.
Enduro Protect offers a long-lasting, cost-effective, comfortable, and highly effective way to protect the long-term health of firefighters around the globe. What is more important, firefighters who use Enduro Protect baselayers are statistically no more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than the general population. Together, we can stop occupational cancer with firefighters.

To discuss any points made in this article, please call the Enduro Protect team on 01235 514290

This year marks 200 years since the first organised municipal fire brigade in the world. Founded in 1824 by James Braidwood, the Edinburgh Fire Engine Establishment originated in Edinburgh, Scotland. In the early days, firefighters wore wool clothing and rubber boots to protect them from heat, cold, and water and Jacobus Turck developed the first ‘modern’ helmet between 1821-36.

Nowadays, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) sets out performance specifications for firefighters’ PPE. Whilst the protective clothing has certainly improved, one thing hasn’t changed over the last two centuries: the need for Fire Brigades to budget carefully for life-saving protective gear.

Budgeting for protective clothing (such as base layers) should be a top priority for fire brigades who are committed to protecting their team from cancer and other diseases caused by exposure to smoke and toxins.

The Role of Protective Baselayers for Firefighting in 2024

Protective clothing is a cornerstone in ensuring the safety and well-being of firefighters who courageously confront a myriad of hazards in the line of duty. Beyond being a uniform, these garments are a lifeline, shielding firefighters from life-threatening dangers associated with their challenging profession.

The primary role of protective clothing is to safeguard firefighters from a range of hazards, including intense heat, flames, dense smoke, and exposure to hazardous materials. These garments act as a barrier, preventing direct contact with flames and extreme temperatures, reducing the risk of burns and heat-related injuries. Moreover, protective clothing, equipped with advanced materials and design, serves as a vital defence against toxic fumes and substances encountered in various emergency scenarios.

Amid the valour exhibited by firefighters, research has uncovered a causative link between firefighting and an increased risk of cancer. The exposure to carcinogens during firefighting operations underscores the critical importance not just of any protective clothing, but choosing the right protective clothing.

Protective baselayers provide the first, and often the only, effective defence your team has against cancer causing carcinogens and fine particulates – and thus they play a pivotal role in minimizing the long-term health risks faced by firefighters.

How does an effective baselayer protect firefighters?

The most recent study, featured in the January 2023 issue of the Scientific Reports section within the Nature Journal, determined that:

  • Firefighters with over 15 years of service had a 1.7 times higher likelihood of developing cancer compared to those with less experience.
  • Firefighters faced at least double the risk of cancer diagnosis if they observed soot in their nose/throat (odds ratio (OR) = 2.0, 1.1–3.5) or remained in their personal protective equipment (PPE) for more than four hours after responding to a fire incident (OR = 2.3, 1.1–5.2).

Statistics about fire fighters and cancer

Extensive research is constantly being conducted throughout the UK. For example, more than 100 retired firefighters recently participated in a study led by the University of Central Lancashire. Researchers aim to understand better the increased diagnoses of cancers and diseases in firefighters and identify the association between occupation and exposure to fire effluents and residues. Replace with the screening of firefighters and all of them having toxins in their blood and 4% diagnosed with cancer.

The Enduro Protect base layer is a specialised protective workwear designed for firefighters. Our meticulously crafted protective flash hood, top, and jogging bottoms result from three years of intensive research conducted in close partnership with the firefighting industry. At its essence lies a patented fabric mesh that prioritises breathability while effectively preventing the infiltration of fine, harmful particulates that the skin could absorb. Enduro Protect base layers provide substantial advantages to firefighters, offering long-term health and cancer protection and enhanced comfort during their operational duties.

What should I consider when budgeting for a baselayer

We believe that choosing the right baselayer for firefighters involves two key considerations:

  • Scientific Support: A baselayer is only as good as the protection it provides. Opting for a baselayer that has scientific evidence to support it’s protective claims will assure you that it will do the job you need it to do.
  • Lifespan and Durability: Baselayers that require frequent replacements will result in the need for a higher annual budget. Thinking about the lifespan (or amount of washes) the product will last for can significantly reduce the long-term cost.

At Enduro Protect, we have extensively investigated the protective capabilities of our baselayer in preventing firefighters from absorbing carcinogens that can permeate standard personal protective equipment (PPE) and come into contact with the skin. Our team has conducted comprehensive biological studies comparing the absorption of carcinogens with and without our baselayer. The results were startling – see below. 

BIOLOGICAL MONITORING TESTS ON FIRE INSTRUCTORS

Biological monitoring test results on fire fighters

To confirm the above theory that a substance has to pass a certain threshold before it becomes toxic, we carried out the following test on some Fire Instructors.

  • What we were looking for was evidence of PAH’s in the Instructors urine as a result of doing hot fire FBT training. (PAHs are the largest class of chemical compounds known to be cancer-causing agents).
  • Urine samples were taken Pre-Burn and Post-Burn. (This was only a ‘Clean Burn’ using pallets, which would be mild compared to the contaminants in a House Fire).
    Fire Instructors A, B and C were all wearing our Baselayer.
  • Instructor C was the most exposed as feeding the fires.
  • Fire Instructors D and E were not wearing our Baselayer. They were wearing their usual Baselayer and undergarments with their firefighter PPE.
  • The results show that the Instructors that were only wearing their usual Baselayer and Fire Kit and not the Enduro Protect Baselayer, suffered from the PAH’s entering their bodies very rapidly.
  • The Fire Instructors wearing Enduro Protect Baselayer showed no perceivable difference in the toxic levels in their bodies. There was also no smell of smoke on them and their hair and skin was clean.

Notably, many fire brigades opt not to invest in these alternative baselayer options, aside from Enduro Protect, as firefighters often find them uncomfortably hot to wear. We all know that Heat Strress is another major issue for the fire brigades and the Enduro Protect Baselayer deals with it on 3 fronts.

  • Excellent protection from the heat
  • A garment that breathes with you at 90CFM’s
  • A garment that prevents you going through the ‘cold phase’ after coming out from a hot wear by managing your body temperature back to normal and not letting go through ‘the dip’.

To perfect our product, we developed up to ten iterations and conducted extensive testing over several years in collaboration with key industry leaders and laboratories in the UK and USA. This rigorous process led us to identify and settle on the best three baselayer options.

How much should I budget for protective base layers?

The durability of a product significantly impacts its cost-to-benefit ratio. Conventional baselayers typically have a lifespan of up to six months, leading most firefighter instructors to cycle through six sets annually. An average set cost of £110.00 results in an expenditure of £660.00 per year or £2640.00 every four years.

In contrast, Enduro Protect boasts a lifespan ranging from two to five years. Despite the higher initial cost between £300.00 and £714.00 per set (depending on the type), each instructor would only require a maximum of three sets over 4 years bringing the total average investment down to £2142.00

A noteworthy example is the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, which acquired our inaugural 2019 baselayer, and their team continues to wear it, exemplifying the enduring quality of our product.

Wrapping up

Protective clothing is not merely an outfit; it is a shield that stands between firefighters and cancer causing carcinogens and PFAS. As we celebrate 200 years of bravery of those who rush into danger, it is important to recognise the indispensable role these garments play in their health and safety.

January to March are critical months when it comes to setting budgets for 2024. Protecting your team by investing in high-quality, and rigorously tested baselayer protection must be a budgeting priority. Our team are happy to discuss your protective base layer requirements to ensure your brigade’s firefighters’ health and best interests are fully protected – and (of some importance) it will be an excellent PR piece for the brigade, drawing true admiration from the public for answering to the call to action publicly to stop firefighter cancer.

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