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Lakeland Industries Blog

Do This, Not That When it Comes to Layering FR Clothing

Posted by Mike Schoonover

Aug 16, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Layering FR ClothingUnderstanding the do’s and don'ts of layering FR apparel is not always as straightforward as it may seem. We’ve taken the time below to outline some of the common facts and myths when it comes to layering flame resistant and arc rated clothing.

Don’t Assume When It Comes to Evaluating Your Arc Flash Rating

Safety on the jobs starts with understanding how to appropriately evaluate your arc rating. Determining the required protection level is not as simple as adding A + B together.

In many instances, the arc ratings may end up being higher than a simple A + B calculation. The increased APTV is a result of the air space that is created between two layered garments, which acts as another insulator and layer of protection.

Don’t Choose Cotton or Synthetic Materials for Your Base Layer

Instead of choosing your favorite cotton or performance tech t-shirt, opt for a moisture wicking garment. Why? An FR garment with permanent moisture wicking technology will pull moisture away from your skin to keep you feeling cool.

Don’t Think All FR Clothing Offers Permanent Moisture Wicking Capabilities

Not all FR clothes are created equal. Some garments offer moisture wicking “finishes” that will wash out or wear off over time. When possible, always select FR clothes with permanent moisture wicking technology to help you stay cool, no matter how many layers you are required to wear. Look at the tag to help you determine if you garment has permanent moisture wicking capabilities. It should have a blend of hydrophobic and hydrophilic fibers to effectively wick moisture away from your skin.

Do Select a Layering System with Moisture Wicking Technology

Moisture wicking garments are designed to pull moisture away from your skin, helping you feel cool and dry, quickly. As you add layers, make sure each additional garment adds moisture wicking capabilities so sweat will be pulled away from your skin through the fabrics, layer by layer, to dissipate on the outer surface.

Do Think About the Versatility of Dual-Certified Layers

By encouraging your team to wear an FR layering system from base-layer to outer layer, you can help ensure they are protected even when they move through various duties with different hazard ratings.

Don’t Assume the Weather Will Cooperate

If the weather changes unexpectedly, your team may be at risk if they need to add or remove clothing layers quickly and some of their layers are not FR garments. You can combat this risk by selecting FR clothing with moisture wicking technology -- it will offer the arc flash protection you need, should you be required to add or remove layers, and the moisture wicking capabilities you want to maintain your body temperature in variable weather.

Choosing an FR garment that lets you stay focused on the job is critical to help you manage occupational hazards. To learn more about combating heat stress by modifying your FR apparel, download our eBook: How to Combat Heat Stress with FR Apparel.

Take a look at our other articles that dive into the topic in detail:

Lakeland set out to create the industry’s only moisture management layering system that offers superior protection, performance and comfort. Lakeland FR performance apparel offers dual-certified protective apparel with advanced moisture wicking technology and a lightweight design. Learn more by following Lakeland on Facebook and Twitter, and be sure to #AskForLakeland.

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Topics: Moisture Wicking FR Apparel

Firefighter Fit Training Tips for Women – How to Prepare for FCC and FireFit

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Aug 14, 2018 2:30:00 PM

Lakeland_Fire_Keltie_Blog.jpgFirefighters are pushed to the limit on the job, whether it is during training sessions, or on a call; crews are constantly learning, adjusting and perfecting their physical and mental skills. Women are challenged to find different approaches to maintain fitness, strength and endurance in relation to their male counterparts.

So what techniques are helpful to maintain fitness and what tricks of the trade do women often share when it comes to on-the-job training, FireFit and the Firefighter Combat Challenge (FCC)?

We interviewed a FireFit and FCC competitor, asking specifically about training tips for women and how to succeed in what was once a male-dominated sport and profession. 

Firefighter fitness Introducing: Keltie-May Nicoll

Leduc Fire Services, Leduc Alberta, Canada

Firefighter / EMT

Keltie has been an active firefighter and EMT for in Alberta, Canada since 2012 and she started participating in FireFit and the FCC immediately upon joining the force. Typically she participates in 4-5 events across Canada and 1-2 in the United States annually, to qualify for FireFit and FCC National and World competitions. 

How the FCC Competition Differs for Men and Women

On paper, the combat challenge and FireFit competitions for men and women are exactly the same. Each competitor must complete the course in its entirety with the same weight specifications and often, male and female competitors will race side-by-side. But, there are some physical challenges that women face, which differ from their male competitors.

Wingspan and Upper Body Strength

It’s likely no surprise to hear that female competitors often cite sheer wingspan and upper body strength as the main difference between male and female competitors. The differences can be seen in a few key areas of the combat challenge course.

  • Hoist: Pulling a 45-pound donut to the top of a 5-story tower is a difficult task in full turnout gear, but this aspect of the course can be especially challenging for women because it relies heavily on upper body strength. Male competitors will often use sheer bicep pulling power in a hand-over-hand technique but that technique doesn’t always work for women, with a smaller wingspan.
  • Keltie’s Suggestions: “For women it less about the hand-over-hand motion and more about getting down low, reaching and trying to get as much of the rope behind you has possible. Many women I’ve spoken within the past have recommended using little quick pulls. Quick and smaller pulls help make up for smaller wingspans and allow us to use small bursts of strength, quickly, as opposed to the longer, dragging pull technique the men typically use.”
  • Dummy drag: Almost any competitor you ask will say that the dummy drag is one of the most challenging aspects of the course. By the end or the race, fatigue and exhaustion have set in, and it takes all the strength and endurance one can muster to drag the dummy across the finish line. Many male competitors have the height and upper body strength to grab the dummy quickly, pull it up and go. Females on the other hand, often have to grab the dummy, adjust it to the right position and then start dragging.
  • Keltie’s Suggestions: “The most important part of the dummy drag is to secure the dummy in a comfortable position that will last through to the finish line. Even if it takes you five extra seconds to secure the dummy, it is time well spent when compared to dropping the dummy and starting over. The technique that I use is to pull the dummy up high on my chest and lock my hands in the front to secure the dummy. While this takes a few extra seconds to do, it distributes the weight more evenly as I drag the dummy. More importantly, it also reduces the amount of dummy that drags on the ground, which can increase friction and make the dummy feel heavier.”

Size and Power

All competitors are tough, no doubt, but they do come in all shapes and sizes. Most men have no difficultly when it comes to climbing the stairs 2 by 2, or double-stepping, but that technique is not right for everyone. Double-stepping requires very strong quadriceps and at the top of the tower legs will often burn with fatigue. Single-stepping, on the other hand, requires faster finesse movements that fatigue the calf muscles. It is up to each competitor to determine which technique is right for them: power focused double-stepping or speed focused single-stepping.

Keltie’s Suggestions:

“I’ve fought with the dilemma concerning single or double stepping since I began in the competition years ago," Keltie said. "I recently received some great advice from another top female competitor — alternate the single and double-stepping technique. I have transformed my stair climb from one of my weaker events to one of my best by using this alternating technique, which allows me to work both my quads and calves equally, reducing fatigue once I reach the top of the tower.” 

Download your FREE Firefighter Fitness Guide to get top fitness results.

Top Firefighter Training Tips for Women

Whether it is a simple stature difference or sheer bicep and upper body strength, women often have different techniques to reach the same results for lifting, hoisting, pushing and pulling on the course and on the job.

We asked Keltie to share some of her top training tips with us, take a look below.

Focus on Technique

“One of the best pieces of advice I can offer is to focus on refining and perfecting your course specific technique," stated Keltie. "Most men add extra weight to the donut, or other strength based course segments in training, to help improve strength, but that doesn’t always translate well for me. Instead, I focus on perfecting my technique; the faster I can do things the faster my time will improve as well. For me, it’s not about building more strength — it’s about building more speed.”

Keltie’s Favorite Current Workout

“I find that sprint training is one of the best ways for me to stay in shape on the job and for competition," Keltie said. "It really helps me to improve my fast footwork technique and increase both my speed and agility. In addition, speed training really helps me build more explosive power in my hips, something I think more females are challenged with than males.”

To improve my explosive power and speed, here are my favorite workout techniques: 

  • Parachute running drills
  • Rowing sprints: 500 meters in under 2 minutes
  • Resistance band running drills
  • Hill spiriting
  • Interval sprints: 1 minute on, 1 minute off 

“Lastly, one of the best suggestions you’ll often hear from competitors is to train with your mask on to replicate the course conditions," Keltie added. "I find that when I train with my mask on it puts me in the competition mindset, so when the real competition comes, my nerves are calm and I am prepared because it is exactly like my training sessions.”

How Training Prepares Firefighters for Emergency Situations

There’s not a doubt that firefighters enjoy participating in firefighter competitions for the camaraderie, the competition and the fun, but their hard work and training also offers on-the-job benefits. Competitor’s train, lift and exercise regularly to stay fit, which helps to improve overall strength, endurance and conditioning.

As a new firefighter, Keltie specifically remembers how her FireFit training helped her on the job:

“During my very first winter on the job, we were called to what would be my first fire rescue," Keltie recalls. "I was required to trek a hose line through 3 feet of snow around to the back of a house, in freezing temperatures. I remember thinking as I pulled the hose with resistance through the snow – this is exactly like my training, this is exactly why I’ve been training. For me, it was really nice to see my hard work pay off in the line of duty, when every second counts and safety is on the line. In addition, I had to climb a ladder on the roof and remain composed under pressure, but I felt confident that thanks to my training, I was prepared.”

Click now to download your FREE Firefighter Fitness Guide.

Firefighter Training Nutrition Tips for Women

Keltie likes to keep her nutrition simple and clean. She believes that going into competition season, focusing on clean eating with high protein and lower carbs helps her stay fit and feel at her best.

  • Top Carbs: Potatoes, rice and sweet potatoes.
  • Key Proteins: Chicken, beef, fish, eggs, peanut butter and protein powders on the go.
  • Favorite food: Natural peanut butter: off the spoon, in protein shakes and on apples.

Why FireFit and FCC Are Great for Women Firefighters

In recent posts, team Lakeland members Ryan and Sean have talked at length about the great community of friends and colleagues at FCC competitions. For women, the experience seems to be very similar.

“In my experience, the women and men participating in the competition offer a tremendous amount of encouragement and support,” said Keltie. “Everyone knows exactly how it feels, whether you are struggling or doing well, everyone is cheering for you and proud of what you’ve accomplished when you cross the finish line. They are always there to help you out; lift you up if you haven’t had the best race and pick you up, dust you off, and tell you you’ll get it on the next one.” 

Keltie’s Advice For First Time Competitors: 

“Every time you step out on the course you are proving that you are willing to challenge yourself and work hard to reach your goals," Keltie stated. "You get so much respect from your fellow firefighters and other competitors for even attempting to complete the competition course. You are only out there racing yourself. When you cross that finish line it makes it all worth it. Once you drop that dummy and you hear everyone cheering for you and cheering you on, you’ll be hooked. You’ll meet new people from around the world and learn about other departments. Best of all, you’ll build great friendships.” 

Advice if you are Struggling In Competition:

“Everyday just put one foot in the front of the other," said Keltie. "Just remember, this is the most rewarding this you’ll ever do. It will make you feel like you are fit for duty every single day. If you can do this course and this competition, you can do everything on the fire ground. The FireFit and Firefighter Combat Challenge competitions take all of the hardest things you have to do on the job, and they put them back-to-back. If you can do the course, you can do anything on the job.” 

Download Lakeland’s Firefighter Fitness Guide to get top fitness results.

Looking for more information on getting firefighter fit? Take a look at Lakeland’s Firefighter Fitness Guide, with training tips, nutrition advice and a tips to help you #GearUp for competition.

Lakeland Stealth™ Turnout Gear is the ultimate in fire protection technology. Advanced ergonomics combined with cutting edge materials give you superior protection with maximum freedom of movement. Learn more about Lakeland Stealth and #GearUp with Lakeland.

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Topics: Turnout Gear

How Moisture Wicking Apparel Helps You Stay Cool In Hot Weather

Posted by Mike Schoonover

Aug 9, 2018 11:03:00 AM

Wicking fabrics Lakeland

In the hot, humid summer months, the seemingly only concern on the mind of lineman and industrial workers is “how can I stay cool?”

The answer is simple. One of the most effective ways to combat heat stress is to modify your workwear.

But modifying workwear goes beyond just picking new FR clothing; it means finding FR clothing that is designed with permanent moisture wicking fibers that will help keep you cool by pulling moisture away from your skin.

How Does Moisture Wicking Work?

Wicking fabrics are designed to pull moisture from the body, through the fabric to the outer surface where it can evaporate. This process is what helps keep you cool, even as you sweat.

As a result, FR clothing that has been created using a blend of wicking fibers is your best chance at staying cool in hot weather. But the key here is to look at your garment tag. You must ensure that the garment you select has permanent moisture wicking capabilities, meaning, it’s not just a “finish’ that will wash out over time.

As you look at the tag, make sure it is a blend of hydrophobic and hydrophilic fibers, typically close to a 60/40 blend. This will show that the garment has permanent moisture wicking capabilities.

Looking for more information how your FR garment selection can help you stay cool in hot weather? Download a free ebook: eBook: How to Combat Heat Stress with FR Apparel.

Stay Cool with Lightweight Fabrics and Functional Design

As you seek to stay comfortable in hot weather, choosing an FR garment with a lightweight, functional design can make a big difference. But don’t always opt for what might be touted as ‘lightweight’ apparel. Just because a garment is Category 1 and deemed ‘lightweight’ doesn't mean it will actually keep you cooler. The Category or Cat level of protection has nothing to do with how well a garment wicks moisture or keeps you cool. A garment with moisture wicking fibers can provide greater benefits than those deemed ‘lightweight’, because it will help you stay cooler by pulling sweat away from your body.

Moreover, opt for an FR shirt that focuses on functionality, in addition to comfort. A properly constructed FR garment should offer a balance of safety, protection and fabric quality, without compromise. Look for things like, seamless underarm gussets, to eliminate seam pull and shirt rise; flat seam construction, so the seams are smooth and comfortable against your skin; an athletic cut for improved safety, and lastly, sharp contrast elements to be both functional and stylish at the same time.

Choosing an FR garment that lets you stay focused on the job is critical to help prevent heat stress and associated occupational hazards. To learn more about combating heat stress by modifying your FR apparel, download our eBook: How to Combat Heat Stress with FR Apparel.

Take a look at our other articles that dive into the topic in detail:

Lakeland set out to create the industry’s only moisture management layering system that offers superior protection, performance and comfort. Lakeland FR performance apparel offers dual-certified protective apparel with advanced moisture wicking technology and a lightweight design with maneuverability and comfort in mind. Learn more by following Lakeland on Facebook and Twitter, and be sure to #AskForLakeland.

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Topics: Moisture Wicking FR Apparel

How to Build Your Own Firefighter Combat Challenge Training Course

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Aug 6, 2018 1:24:09 PM

diy-FCC-training-course-tips.jpgIf you are preparing for the Firefighter Combat Challenge (FCC), FireFit or doing your best to become firefighter fit, you are likely no stranger to grueling training hours at the gym. Creating a dedicated FCC or FireFit training course is a key component to training success. Whether in your own backyard or at your department, creating your own DIY Firefighter Combat Challenge course may just be the piece that’s missing from your training routine.

Here are some resources to help you build your own DIY FireFit training course and help prepare your mind and muscle memory to succeed in competition.

Looking for more ways to upgrade your fitness training routine? Download our Firefighter Fitness Guide

DIY Stairs Training:

The key to being successful on the stairs is perfecting your climbing technique and timing — when you grab the rail, how you grab the rail and how to ascend and descend the stairs in rhythm. The first part of your training course should to find a way to simulate climbing six flights of stairs carrying a high-rise pack. 

Team Lakeland Suggestion:

  • Step-up on two rolled sections of 4" hose for 2 minutes while wearing full gear and shouldering a high-rise pack.

DIY Hoist:

In the competition, once you have ascended the stairs, you are required to hoist a hose weighing 42-pounds to the top of the 5-story stair-tower. The key to success on the hose hoist is to get the timing and rhythm down on the hand over hand pulling technique.

Team Lakeland Suggestion:

  • Use kettle bells lifts to simulate hand over hand motion.

DIY Forcible Entry Keiser:

Once you’ve descended the stairs, your next challenge is to hammer a 160-pound beam a distance of 5-feet on a Keiser.

Team Lakeland Suggestion:

  • Place three railroad ties side-by-side. Stand on the two outer ties and hammer the middle tie to simulate the Keiser.

DIY Hydrant Agility Run and Hose Advance:

Upon completion of the Keiser, you’ll be required to run through a slalom agility course measuring 140 feet and then pick up a 1.75 inch pressurized hose. You will then drag the hose 75-feet through a set of swinging doors, open the nozzle to spray a small target, close the nozzle, and drop the hose.

Team Lakeland Suggestion:

  • Simulate the hose advance with a drag sled.

DIY Dummy Drag:

The last section of the FCC course requires participants to lift and drag a dummy, weighting 175-pounds, backwards a distance of 106 feet.

Team Lakeland Suggestion:

  • Use old tires attached to a rope and pull backwards to simulate course conditions.

Looking for more ways to upgrade your fitness training routine? Download our Firefighter Fitness Guide filled with firefighter approved training tips, nutrition facts and fitness fundamentals. Start seeing enhanced performance results, now.

Lakeland Stealth™ Turnout Gear is the ultimate in fire protection technology. Advanced ergonomics combined with cutting edge materials give you superior protection with maximum freedom of movement. Learn more about Lakeland Stealth and #GearUp with Lakeland.

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Topics: Turnout Gear, LLF

Case Study: Firefighter and FireFit Competitor Talks Training and Gear

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Aug 2, 2018 1:00:00 PM

Every firefighter has a different story about what drew them to the profession. From the camaraderie, to family history and community connection, there are many reasons why brave men and women make the choice to become firefighters.

At Lakeland, we support many firefighters and fire departments with lifesaving turnout gear. But beyond the bunker gear, we support firefighters and their mission to save lives. We have had the opportunity to meet firefighters from around the world, some of whom compete with Team Lakeland in competitions. In the interview below, learn more about one of our incredible competitors, how she got where she is today, and about her role in the toughest two minutes in sports.

Get to Know Keltie May Nicoll

Firefit lakeland stealth firefighter turnout gearKeltie is a female firefighter from Leduc, Alberta, Canada. She become interested in the profession after she attended a leadership camp in highschool that had a firefighter focus. As an active youth who enjoyed playing sports, Keltie thought it would be a great career fit for her. A focus on physical fitness, teamwork and community was something that really drew her to the profession.

Now, six years into her successful career, Keltie is passionate not only about her job, but also how it has helped shape many aspects of her life.

“Being a firefighter is more than just a job. It’s really who you are,” says Keltie. “Every day is different and the people you work with become your family.”

For those interested in becoming a firefighter, she says, just go for it!

“It can be tough to get on a department, but don’t give up,” Kelted stated. “Work hard, prepare yourself, talk to other firefighters and educate yourself.”

She even suggested taking some time to go and talk with your local department. They are always willing to provide advice and information and it can’t hurt to start building relationships with other firefighters. Most importantly, she advises, stay on top of your physical fitness.

“Try and over prepare and keep your physical fitness in check all the time,” she said. “Fitness is a critical aspect of the job – especially when you are trying to get on a department.”

How Do Firefighters Stay Fit?

Physical strength and fitness training is an everyday reality for firefighters. The ability to perform effectively in an emergency situation stems from disciplined training and practice. Firefighters continually hone their skills and strength in job specific tasks to help prepare their minds and bodies to react in critical circumstances. Whether it is training at the station on-shift, or at the gym during off-hours, firefighters are used to incorporating physical fitness into their everyday routines.

Looking for more firefighter fitness information? Download your free firefighter fitness guide.

FireFit and the Firefighter Combat Challenge

One activity many firefighters have found to help boost fitness that is unique to their field, is FireFit or the Firefighter Combat Challenge. Touted as the toughest two minutes in sports, these fire specific competitions task firefighters with physical tests that mimic their life saving efforts on the job -- climbing stairs, hoisting and dragging hoses, hammering with a sledgehammer and dragging a dummy to safety. Keltie credits these competitions with helping her refine the physical aspects of her job that can really make a difference in an emergency.

“FireFit competitions are events based off of things you would do on a fireground,” says Keltie. “Training for these competitions is basically training for your job in a really fun, competitive way. I have had emergency situations on the job where I knew exactly what to do because of my training. I felt confident thanks to my training, I was prepared.

So what does Keltie recommend for training? Her go-to of late includes lots of hard cardio training and high intensity interval training. As a firefighter, Keltie advises, it is important to train yourself for the competition and for the job. If you have access to a dummy, use a dummy -- if you can train on stairs regularly, that is also important.

Keltie states, “My motto is: it’s all about getting comfortable with uncomfortable.”

What is the best part about competing as a FireFit athlete?

“Definitely the camaraderie of the sport,” said Keltie. “The other athletes are some of the best people you’ll ever meet in your life. All like-minded, and crazy enough to put our bodies through what we do on the course. Your biggest competitors are also your biggest fans. Even though we are all competing, we are really just competing against our own time. We all want to root for each other, share tips and tricks – and that is what is so fantastic about it.”

Check out Keltie’s advice just for women firefighters and first time competitors.

How Your Turnout Gear Can Improve Performance

The way turnout gear is constructed, the way it is designed to move as you move, can make a big difference in the line of duty. All turnout gear is designed to meet NFPA 1971 standards, but that does not mean it has been designed to help you crawl in tight spaces, maneuver quickly with ease, and improve function and visibility on the job.

We asked Keltie about her thoughts on Lakeland’s Stealth turnout gear, which she wears in competition.   

“My gear moves like it is supposed to,” said Keltie. “It’s really lightweight – way lighter than any other gear – and I find that it doesn’t bind or restrict me. The best part is that I don’t have to think about it, I can just compete and keep my mind focused on the task in front of me.”

In addition to its lightweight design, Lakeland Stealth firefighter turnout gear has unique elements designed to help firefighters optimize their performance and visibility in emergency situations.

LazerMax Trim™ is a patented silver reflective seam, located on the arm, shoulder and pant which allows for increased visibility -- an essential need for fire crews and emergency responders. 

“The reflective piping makes you way more visible at night,” says Keltie. “It is very important in the work we do.”

Stealth’s patented Black-Ops™ Multi-Adjust Suspender System is designed to improve fit for all firefighter shapes and sizes.

“I really like that Lakeland’s gear has an athletic cut,” Keltie stated. “It seems to fit women’s bodies really well, it doesn’t feel cookie cutter, and it offers better movement and maneuverability.”

Interested in trying out Lakeland Stealth gear in your next competition or at your department? Contact Lakeland today to learn more.

Lakeland Stealth™ Turnout Gear is the ultimate in fire protection technology. Advanced ergonomics combined with cutting edge materials give you superior protection with maximum freedom of movement. Learn more about Lakeland Stealth and #GearUp with Lakeland.

Looking for more firefighter information? Take a look at our firefighter fitness guide to get the latest information on how to upgrade your firefighter fitness routine.

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Topics: Firefighter Combat Challenge

3 Important Reasons Why Reducing Heat Stress is Vital for Lineman Workers

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Aug 2, 2018 10:00:00 AM

linemanappreciation.jpg

Heat stress is a known occupational hazard for many industrial and utility workers, contributing to preventable work related accidents and injuries. As if working with high voltage electricity 50 feet in the air wasn’t dangerous enough, linemen workers must also be conscious of how their body temperature and the temperature outside may be affecting their job performance.

Understanding the dangers of heat stress and how reducing heat stress can improve focus, performance and overall safety is extremely important.

What is Heat Stress?

Heat stress occurs when body temperatures rises and the body’s natural cooling mechanisms fail to properly cool the body down. What can start as heat rash, can escalate to heat exhaustion and the most dangerous illness, heat stroke, can quickly follow.

Why Is Heat Stress A Concern for Lineman?

heat stress

Lineman are constantly working outdoors in variable conditions. Whether you are fighting heat and humidity, or the cold weather, bundled in layers of protective apparel, heat stroke can become a real concern. Moreover, the protective clothing required by law for lineman can often be hot with limited breathability and moisture wicking capabilities, keeping workers hot, sticky and uncomfortable.

3 Important Reasons Why Reducing Heat Stress is Vital for Lineman Workers

1. Heat Stress Can Reduce Job Performance

When the body is dehydrated, which can be brought on by heat stress, mental performance and decision-making capabilities are often compromised. A study focused on the effect of dehydration on workers showed that dehydration could cause a decline in visual motor tracking, short-term memory and attention span, and a reduction in reaction time and arithmetic efficiency.

These factors can reduce overall job performance and affect your ability to function properly on the line. Learn how the moisture wicking fabrics in your FR garments can keep you cool and comfortable on the job.

2. Heat Stress Can Cause A Loss of Focus and Concentration

When the body is taxed for any reason, it can drastically affect focus and concentration. If linemen are continually required to adjust uncomfortable apparel, or if they feel damp and uncomfortable, focus will not be 100-percent on the task at hand.

In fact, a NASA study using telegraph key operators in warm working conditions concluded that as the working temperature increased, the job-related errors increased as well. In 80 degree temperatures, the operators made 5 errors in one hour hour, and 19 errors after three hours. At 90 degrees, the errors increased to 9 the first hour, and 27 in three hours. At 95 degrees, mistakes were drastically higher, at 60 in one hour and 138 in three hours.

This experiment shows that rising temperatures can affect focus and concentration and increase the likelihood of worker-related errors.

Learn more about apparel that can help regulate body temperature.

3. Heat Stress Can Reduce Overall Worker Safety

Body temperature regulation is another important factor for on-the-job safety. If utility workers are unable to manage their core temperature, their performance, concentration and safety will all be negatively affected.

  • Maintaining a consistent body temperature, even with variable outdoor temperature, can help improve worker comfort
  • An improvement in temperature regulation will improve focus and concentration

Being proactive by selecting FR apparel that can better control body temperature can help workers maintain a consistent body temperature and reduce the risk of heat stress.

How FR Garment Selection Can Help Reduce Heat Stress

The clothes you wear on the job can make a big difference in how you feel in your daily tasks. As a lineman, if your apparel is uncomfortable, hot and sticky, it will likely impact your daily tasks and overall efficiencies. A garment that allows you to better control your body temperature means you can focus on the job at hand and moisture wicking plays an important role in thermoregulation.

Moisture wicking technology is vital, when moisture is left in a garment...

  • It blocks heat from escaping.
  • It leaves you more susceptible to heat illness.
  • Your body temperature rises quicker.
  • You become uncomfortable.
  • You have less focus on the task at hand.

An FR garment with moisture wicking technology can help pull moisture off of your skin and through the fabric, where it will spread and dissipate from the outer surface.

You can watch a video explaining how to combat heat stress with FR apparel here.

The superior moisture wicking fabrics used by Lakeland combine two types of fiber together:

  1. Hydrophobic (water hating) Fibers
  2. Hydrophilic (water loving) Fibers

hydro

Superior Moisture Wicking Lineman Apparel Will:

  • Pull Moisture off your skin.
  • Transport moisture and sweat through the garment to the outside surface, quickly.
  • Spread moisture on the exterior of the fabric so it can dissipate, to help you feel drier, faster.

The absorption rate and spreading speed of your lineman apparel can drastically affect your body temperature. If you FR shirt absorbs your sweat and moisture and spreads it quickly, it means you are less likely to become overheated and dehydrated on the job due to heat related stress.

absorption_spreading_speeds.png

Learn more about superior moisture wicking fabrics and how to select the right one for your team of linemen.

Be aware of the risk factors for heat illness:

  • Hot temperatures, humidity and direct sun
  • No breeze
  • Physically demanding labor
  • Not enough water consumption
  • Heavy apparel

Symptoms of heat illness:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Confusion
  • Thirst, nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Fast heart rate
  • Increasing body temperature
  • Excessive sweating or red, hot skin

FR performance apparel that wicks away moisture has the ability
to keep you drier and more comfortable on the job.

Choosing an FR garment that lets you stay focused on the job is critical to help prevent heat stress and associated occupational hazards. To learn more about combating heat stress by modifying your FR apparel, download our eBook: How to Combat Heat Stress with FR Apparel

Interested in learning more lineman training and fitness tips, the science of protective clothing and how to layer FR clothing to optimize on-the-job performance? Download our eBook now: Lineman Safety Performance Guide. Learn how you can climb stronger, work safer and prevent accidents.

Lakeland set out to create an FR performance line that could exceed FR safety requirements, outlast the elements, maintain lineman body temperature and still be comfortable enough for everyday wear. Lakeland FR performance apparel offers dual-certified protective apparel with advanced moisture wicking technology and a lightweight design with maneuverability and comfort in mind. Learn more by following Lakeland on Facebook and Twitter, and be sure to #AskForLakeland.

how to combat heat stress with fr apparel

Sources:
Occupational Health and Safetyhttps://ohsonline.com/home.aspx
Safeopedia https://www.safeopedia.com/
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Topics: Moisture Wicking FR Apparel

5 Critical Flaws In Your Firefighter Turnout Gear

Posted by John Therrien

Jul 26, 2018 11:00:00 AM

As a firefighter, there are certain tasks you must complete every time you put on your gear, strap on your SBCA and arrive at the scene of an emergency. You understand the importance of saving time, even just seconds, as you complete these necessary tasks, but does your turnout gear offer you the flexibility and maneuverability to perform at your best? What flaws in your turnout gear design slow you down and reduce your efficiency?

Design features that improve performance, reduce time to gear up and increase your efficiency should naturally be included in your turnout gear, but this is not always the case.

Take a look at the top 5 critical flaws of firefighter turnout gear. How does your gear stack up?

stealth_gear1. It’s Not Lightweight Turnout Gear

Firefighters are required to gear up for every emergency, which often entails adding 60 or more pounds in the form of turnout gear, SBCA, boots, a mask and vest. Consider the benefits of selecting turnout gear designed to be more than 10 pounds lighter than traditionally designed gear that has been used during the last decade. Lightweight turnout gear can be the difference between finesse and fatigue in the line of duty.

 

stealth_dynamic-knee2. It Doesn’t Offer High Visibility and High Performance Features

When seconds are critical, high-performance design and small details become the difference between success and failure. Bunker gear that offers high visibility reflective seams to keep firefighters visible in dark conditions, for example, is an absolute must. Moreover, small design features, like a universal flashlight holder, adds both versatility and functionality for firefighters. If a firefighter is tasked with crawling in tight spaces, a flashlight can illuminate the way and high visibility seams will ensure they are always seen.

stealth_cinch_waist3. It Doesn’t Have A Cinching Lower Back

Required for many aspects of the job, an SBCA can make a loose turnout jacket feel bulky and bunched, reducing movement and function. Improve comfort and efficiency with a drawstring cinch in the lower back. This unique design feature included in premium turnout gear allows for extra material to gather in the back of the jacket, behind the SBCA, leaving the front of the jacket straight for increased movement.

 

stealth_shoulder4. Inflexible Shoulder and Knee Construction

A poorly constructed jacket sleeve can be a safety and time issue in the line of duty. If sleeve design prevents a firefighter from lifting their arms, or if raising their arms causes the jacket to pull up, this can cause problems at the scene of an emergency. A properly constructed jacket shoulder should include both back pleats and underarm gussets to allow for maximum movement. In addition, the shoulder should be set into the coat, with the shoulder seam located close to the neck seam. A correctly placed shoulder seam, near the neck, will allow a firefighter to lift and extend their arms with freedom and without causing their coats to rise or pull up.

The same can be said about knee construction. Traditional turnout gear includes a static knee construction, with a fully extended pleat below the knee. Not only does the clumsy design and extra material cause knee knocking, before a firefighter can climb stairs or drag a hose, they’ll be required to waste precious time hoisting up their pants. Instead, opt for a turnout pant designed to optimize performance on the job. A turnout pant designed with a dynamic knee expansion pleat located above each knee, as opposed to below the knee, allows for improved maneuverability, movement and flexibility. In addition, a turnout pant that offers extra protection when using the side of your knees to push offš or feel your way through a dark environment is an added bonus.

stealth_suspenders5. Suspenders That Don’t Stay Put

Freedom to move with ease is one of the essential requirements of turnout gear, but when movement causes suspenders to slip off the shoulder, it can be both distracting and dangerous. A suspender system that is designed to move and that’s constructed in a way to make adjustments simple, is ideal. Suspenders certainly won’t save a life in an emergency, but poorly constructed suspenders can distract and disrupt a firefighter in moments when focus and attention are essential.

 

How does your firefighter turnout gear stack up?

Lakeland Stealth™ Turnout Gear is the ultimate in fire protection technology. Advanced ergonomics combined with cutting edge materials give you superior protection with maximum freedom of movement. Learn more about Lakeland Stealth and #GearUp with Lakeland.

Looking for more firefighter information? Take a look at our firefighter fitness guide to get the latest information on how to upgrade your firefighter fitness routine.

firefighter fitness guide

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Topics: Turnout Gear, LLF

A Blueprint of Lakeland Fire Premium Turnout Gear

Posted by Mike Schoonover

Jul 19, 2018 5:34:12 PM

Designed to protect firefighters in dangerous conditions, turnout gear plays a critical role in departments across the nation. But when every second counts, wouldn't you prefer to be in athletic cut, strategically designed bunker gear that offers superior fit, function and maneuverability?

Not all turnout gear is created equal. At Lakeland, we understand the nature of tough days on the job and we've designed turnout gear that maximizes both comfort and performance. And because we understand that the little things can make a big difference in an emergency situations, we've added new features that come standard. Take a closer look at some the superior design features Lakeland’s Stealth™ Premium Turnout Gear has to offer.

FireFitness_Blueprint

  • LazerMax Trim™ Our patented silver reflective seam on the arm and around the shoulder of the jacket allows for increased visibility. LazerMax Trim™ is also located on the pants around the 1-piece knee seam, for increased visibility.
  • Cinching Lower-Back Drawstring Cord This feature means extra coat material can gather in the back of the jacket, behind the SBCA, leaving the front of the jacket straight for increased movement.
  • Radio Packet Flaps Easily access your radio with our velcro-release pocket, notched on either side to accommodate your antenna.
  • 7” Black Kevlar® Thumbhole Wristers 100% Black Kevlar® Thumbhole Wristers provide comfort and thermal protection to the sleeve/glove interface area.
  • Flexible Shoulder Construction A properly constructed jacket shoulder should include both back pleats and underarm gussets to allow for maximum movement with less coat rise.
  • Beveled Hem Design Shorter in the front, longer in the back means increased maneuverability and safety on the job.
  • Multi-Adjust Suspender System Stealth’s patented Black-Ops™ suspender system is a step above the competition and stays put through even the most rigorous tasks.
  • Universal Flashlight Holder Designed to accommodate every flashlight on the market, the new flashlight holder on the right chest adds both versatility and functionality, allowing you to crawl in tight spaces with your flashlight illuminating your path.
  • Belt Loop / Pant Grip Handles Pants designed with belt loops that tactically extend into pant grip pull-up handles make it seconds faster to pull on your gear in an emergency.
  • Rectangular Crotch-Gusset No other turnout gear is ergonomically cut and designed with athletic movement in mind. When you are bending or kneeling, the rectangular crotch-gusset eliminates twisting of the knee and pant, improving your maneuverability.

  • Sidekik™ Knee Reinforcement Extra knee protection is critical in the line of duty. This added protection covers a wider area and features a “bump-out” to the outside of the leg for extra protection when using the side of your knees to push or feel your way through a dark environment.

  • One-Piece Lower Leg Construction Designed to increase mobility, our unique turnout pant contours around the lower leg and is comprised of a singular lower panel with no side seams.

Lakeland Stealth firefighter turnout gear adheres to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards but exceeds performance expectations when it comes to maneuverability, comfort and functionality.

Are you ready to #GearUp?

Looking to upgrade your fitness training routine? Our Firefighter Fitness Guide is filled with firefighter approved training tips, nutrition facts and fitness fundamentals to get exceptional fitness results, now. Download your free guide today!

firefighter fitness guide

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Topics: Turnout Gear

How Moisture Wicking Protects Against Heat Stress

Posted by Mike Schoonover

Jul 12, 2018 9:23:30 AM

Linemen can’t control their work conditions. But they can choose the right apparel to help them stay cool and dry on the job. The Bureau of labor Statistics lists electrical powerline installers and repairers as one of the deadliest occupations in the U.S. Weather related afflictions such as overexertion, heat stress and bodily reactions, are the most common non-fatal accidents on the job.

One of the most effective ways to combat heat stress is to modify workwear. So how do you select the right FR apparel? How do you know what to look for in a moisture wicking garment? Watch our short video to learn more.

Permanent Moisture wicking FR Apparel Can Help Combat Heat Stress

Superior moisture wicking fabrics combine two types of fibers together:

  1. Hydrophobic (water hating) fibers
  2. Hydrophilic (water loving) fibers

hydro-1

A Superior moisture wicking garment will:

  • Pull moisture off of skin.
  • Transport moisture and sweat through the garment to the outside surface, quickly.
  • Spread moisture on the exterior of the fabric so it can dissipate, to help you feel drier, faster.

How To Select The Right FR Garment

Consider the following features:

  • Look for a garment that offers permanent moisture wicking technology.
  • Designed with arm mobility to accommodate overhead reaching and side to side movements.
  • Dual-certified protection with safety and maneuverability in mind.
  • Check garment fabric composition to ensure a 60/40 fiber blend.
  • Flat seam construction to maximize comfort.
  • Seamless underarms designed to eliminate seam pull and shirt rise and chafing.
  • Tag free back collar to eliminate annoying labels.

One of the most important decisions you can make to combat heat stress and other weather related ailments is choosing the right FR clothing. Download Lakeland’s free apparel guide and get the facts on heat stress and find the FR apparel best suited to protect your people.

An upgrade in apparel could mean an upgrade in performance, protection and comfort. Lakeland FR high performance combines superior moisture wicking fibers, style and functionality. Take the first step towards proven protection with Lakland’s FR dual certified high performance apparel.

how to combat heat stress with fr apparel

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Topics: FR Fabric, Moisture Wicking FR Apparel, Heat Protective Clothing

Firefighter Fitness Guide

Posted by Mike Schoonover

Jul 5, 2018 3:00:00 PM

Firefighters are challenged physically everyday on the job. The innate ability to maintain focus and drive, mental toughness, and physical strength to get the job done, is something unique to firefighters.

14906926_10153839821591682_3286268347397578859_nIf you are looking for a boost in your fitness level, training for FireFit, or just hoping to boost your job performance, you’ll want to dive into our Firefighter Fitness Guide.

Because getting firefighter fit starts with you.

Upgrade your fitness training routine with firefighter approved training tips, nutrition facts and fitness fundamentals to get exceptional fitness results, now.

Your free firefighter specific fitness guide includes:

  • How-to build your own FireFit training course
  • How to choose the best gear
  • Firefighter performance case study
  • And more…

Get started on your path to firefighter fitness, today.

firefighter fitness guide

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Topics: Turnout Gear