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What Materials Do Firefighters Wear?
Firefighting is a hazardous job that requires specialized equipment and clothing to ensure the firefighter can do his job and stay protected from dangerous environments. The different types of materials used to construct a firefighter's clothing are chosen because of their heat resistance and high strength.
Firefighter Jacket and Trousers
The jacket and trousers worn by a firefighter have to be constructed from materials that will withstand intense heat. Aramid fiber is a synthetic fiber that is highly regarded for its strength and heat resistance. Nomex is the trade name for arimid fiber clothing, and this type of material is used in the construction of a firefighter jacket and trousers. Nomex is often combined with Kevlar to increase the strength of the material.
A firefighter’s helmet is made from materials that favor protection from hard impacts. It is designed to protect the wearer from head injury which can be caused by falling objects within a collapsing building. To keep the helmet light, the shell is made of carbon fiber and plastic combined with a Kevlar lining for extra strength. Inside the helmet is a shock-absorbing rubber cushion lined with cotton and Nomex.
The boots worn by firefighters are constructed of either leather or rubber, and are chemically treated so that they are fire-retardant. Firefighter boots are fitted with a steel toe insert to protect the wearer from anything falling onto his feet. They also feature a reinforced sole that is designed to be able to withstand a puncture from a sharp object that could otherwise injure the wearers’ foot.
Depending on what type of situation a firefighter is dealing with, he will either wear work gloves or structural firefighting gloves. For work that does not involve high temperatures, work gloves made of leather are used. When directly battling a fire, structural firefighting gloves are used. These are made of Kevlar and often use a spandex liner for improved flexibility.
Based in the U.K., Jack Taylor has been writing environmental, sports and travel-related articles since 2006. His writing has been featured in publications such as "Drift" magazine, the "Journalist" magazine and the "Newquay Voice" newspaper. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from University College, Falmouth.