From Europe to North America, fire service industries globally are seeing some exciting developments in stationwear trends that bode well for the future comfort and protection of end users. As manufacturers look to meet the demands for more accessible, protective, and affordable flame-resistant garment solutions, we’re breaking down the areas seeing advancement that fire departments everywhere should watch in the coming months and years.
Comfort and Protection
As in the rest of the FR garment industry, comfort is an increasingly high priority: you’re only as safe as you are comfortable. Particularly for firefighters facing high-risk situations, it is critical that they wear every protective garment the way that it is meant to be worn; if each garment is completely comfortable to wear correctly and move freely in, the wearer receives the full benefit of their gear while performing their duties. Greater comfort in stationwear looks like fabrics that are more lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking to mitigate heat stress while offering the highest levels of protection.
In the U.S., next-to-skin stationwear does not necessarily have to be flame resistant, but it does have to comply with the NFPA 1975 standard, which states that it must be made from thermally stable materials. This allows firehouses to choose between several options, such as 100% cotton, treated cotton, or inherent FR solutions. TenCate Protective Fabrics manufactures inherent FR fabrics in both the European and U.S. markets for application in stationwear, offering advanced protection alongside the latest developments in comfort.
Sustainability is a hot topic across industries around the world, and the fire service industry is no exception. However, there are differences in the levels to which various global markets are actively seeking out more sustainable solutions. Fire departments in Europe are explicitly looking for more eco-friendly options, whereas this trend is in early stages in the U.S. market. No matter where you are in the world, it is unlikely that sustainability will decrease in importance in the coming years in any industry, so we expect to see all markets place a greater emphasis on sustainable FR garment options in the future.
Stationwear is typically worn around fire stations as a uniform when firefighters are out of their turnout gear, so it needs to be professional in appearance: crisp, clean, and easy to maintain. Fire stations are looking for garments to be extremely durable and hold up to frequent laundering without wearing out, losing shape, or fading in color. Especially as departments face budget cuts, they want stationwear solutions that are less expensive and longer lasting. By investing in garments with excellent lifespans and low-cost maintenance, they can get more bang for their buck and reduce replacement costs.
As the fire service industry continues to innovate toward more comfortable, sustainable, and durable solutions, fire departments will have greater access to increasingly advanced stationwear that meets all these growing demands and more. Keep an eye out for what’s to come in stationwear that goes far beyond meeting minimum requirements. New solutions are on the horizon that will take your stationwear program to the next level; reach out to a TenCate Protective Fabrics professional to discuss how we can help your fire station get there.