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Lakeland Industries Blog

How to Improve Safety Culture with High Performance FR Fabrics

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Jul 13, 2017 10:00:00 AM

moisture-wicking-FR-garmentThe world’s top athletes wear clothing made from high performance, moisture wicking fabrics so they can focus on the next kick, play or catch coming at them and not be distracted by feeling too hot, cold or damp because sweat soaked uniforms are clinging to them. Keeping them focused on their primary task helps optimize their performance and increase their concentration over the course of the game or match.
 
Can the use of similar high performance FR fabrics in the workplace help keep employees better focused throughout their day and achieve a better safety culture because they aren’t distracted by their clothing?

The History Of Moisture Wicking Garments

High performance, moisture wicking technology has been around for over twenty years. The fabrics were originally created to help boost athletic performance in extreme outdoor situations by keeping athletes drier and cooler in hot conditions, while warmer and drier in cold weather. These fabrics have evolved dramatically over the last few years, creating a challenge for the consumer to understand their evolution and determine which fabrics provide optimal comfort and performance.

Moisture wicking fabrics originally started with a synthetic fiber, like polyester, and the application of a chemical finish which allowed moisture to spread. Eventually the finish would wash out and the fabric lost its wicking abilities. These “original” fabrics are still in the marketplace and can be easily identified. Checking the tag on a garment will reveal its blend of fibers. A garment with 100% of any fiber, along with claims of moisture wicking, identifies the presence of a fabric with a chemical finish. You can also check to see if the manufacturer guarantees wicking for the life of the garment. If they don’t, it likely means they have used a treatment that they know will eventually wash out.

What is the Optimal Moisture Wicking Fiber Blend?

Today, the latest generations of high performance fabrics are made from a combination of fibers. The best fabrics are typically a mix of hydrophobic, water hating, fibers and hydrophilic, water loving, fibers. Hydrophobic fibers can include modacrylic, aramids, and para-aramids, while hydrophilic fibers typically include rayon and lyocell. It’s the combination of these two fibers, blended together, that ensure permanent moisture wicking for the life of a garment. The big question then becomes: What is the optimal blend of these two fibers that creates the best performance and the softest hand?

Blends of these fibers can range from 90% hydrophobic / 10% hydrophilic, down to 55% / 45%. Testing has proven that a more balanced blend, in the area of 55% hydrophobic / 45% hydrophilic, allows for better skin side pickup and transport of moisture across the fabric. If you don’t have enough hydrophilic fiber, the fabric won’t absorb well. If you don’t have enough hydrophobic fiber, the fabric will not push the moisture to the front as well. It is mastering this “balance of the blend” that creates the highest performance fabrics.

Download our eBook now: Lineman Safety & Performance Guide Learn how you can climb stronger, work safer and prevent accidents.

How to Choose the Best Moisture Wicking Gear

High performance fabrics have some additional key criteria, which can be measured, beyond just the ratio of the blend. The vertical wicking rate measures how fast and far moisture spreads across the fabric. Back to front moisture transport rate can also be calculated, and is critical in helping clothes dry faster, which will lessen the chance of heat rash for the wearer. This also allows more heat to escape your body helping thermo-regulation and preventing heat stress. Water Vapor Transmission Rate, or “WVTR”, calculates the “breathability” of the fabric and was developed by designers to compare and quantify just how much moisture will move or “breath” through a fabric. Each of these factors we’ve described can be extremely important in selecting the optimal fabric for your workers, but one is not more important than another. Determining which high performance fabric is better comes from understanding how the various ratios and rates affect the amount of moisture a fabric moves, as well as how the fabric distributes that moisture across the garment.

Understanding these wicking properties of high performance fabrics becomes key when workers begin to layer garments of various fabrics to stay warmer or cooler throughout the course of the work day and over the four seasons.

How to Layer FR High Performance Apparel

Layering is an important benefit from the selection of high performance fabrics. Layering allows you to wear lighter weight garments that in turn keep the body drier, and either cooler or warmer, depending on the conditions. Several lighter weight garments “layer” to keep the worker drier and warmer than a traditional, single heavy winter garment typically would. Worker functionality and mobility increases by wearing multiple, thinner, lightweight garments, the combined weight of which is substantially less than that of traditional winter wear.

Water vapor transmission (WVTR) is critical to know for mid layers, as sweatshirts and outerwear becomes the conduit to transfer moisture from fabric to fabric and away from the wearer. The higher the “WVTR”, the more moisture is spreading to the next garment.

Choosing a high performance fabric shouldn’t be difficult. Data for all the performance factors we referenced is readily available for most fabrics. Ask for it. Understand the different blends of high performance fabrics and how they perform. Smart shoppers look at the tags to determine the blend of fabrics and will look for that optimal
55% / 45% blend.  


The same high performance fabrics that the world’s top athletes compete in are available to the industrial athlete as well. If you believe your team works harder over 8 hours than most athletes do for the 1 or 2 hours that they compete, then get your team into high performance wicking and layering fabrics and garments. Your team will stay focused on doing their job in the safest most efficient way possible throughout the entire workday and won’t be distracted because of the wet and clammy clothes they’re wearing.

The clothes
you wear on the job, matter — for your comfort, for your performance and for your safety. Shouldn't you choose FR gear with advanced technology and industry-leading design? It’s simple, just #AskforLakeland.

Interested in learning more lineman training and fitness tips, 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 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.

Lineman safety and performance guide

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Topics: Moisture Wicking FR Apparel

Lineman Safety & Performance Guide

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Jun 27, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Serious job hazards — they are just a part of the job. It’s why electrical power line installers and repairers are listed in the U.S. Bureau of Statistics most dangerous jobs in America.

But battling the changing elements and temperatures, staying focused on the job and knowing you get one chance with no room for mistakes ... that can be a challenge.

What can you do on the line to climb stronger, work safer and prevent accidents?

Learn lineman training and fitness tips, and how to layer FR clothing to optimize on-the-job performance. Download our eBook now: Lineman Safety & Performance Guide

lineman safety and performance guideWith Lakeland's FREE eBook, get exclusive access to:

  • Lineman Trade Secrets & Performance Training Tips
  • The Evolution of FR High Performance Gear
  • A Blueprint of Best in Class FR Performance Apparel
  • How to Layer FR Apparel
  • Lineman Rodeo Schedule of Events

The clothes you wear on the job, matter. Protection from arc-flash is your primary concern, but you no longer have to compromise comfort and performance for safety. High Performance FR apparel that combines moisture wicking technology with performance-tested design modifications can boost your comfort, safety and confidence on the job.

Click the graphic below, or follow this link to download your free lineman performance eBook now.

Lineman safety and performance guide

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Topics: Moisture Wicking FR Apparel

A Blueprint of Advanced FR Clothing Options for the Electric Utility Industry

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Jun 1, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Serious job hazards — they are just a part of the job. It’s why electrical power line installers and repairers are listed in the U.S. Bureau of Statistics most dangerous jobs in America.

But battling the changing elements and temperatures, staying focused on the job and knowing you get one chance with no room for mistakes ... that can be a challenge.

Start with your apparel -- is it designed to keep you drier and safer on the job? Take a look below at the newest, most advanced high performance FR apparel on the market. How does your lineman gear stack up?

View and download a PDF version of this graphic, now.

FR-Performance-Apparel.jpg

The Benefits of Choosing Lakeland FR Apparel

SHARP DESIGN FEATURES
You’ve been wearing stylish performance gear for years, now you can get it at work. Lakeland’s contrasting stitch design means you can go from safe-at-work to the gym, the trails or out on the town, with ease.


SEAMLESS UNDERARM GUSSETS
FR shirts designed to eliminate seam pull and shirt rise mean you won’t feel any restriction as you maneuver on the job. In fact, you’ll feel total arm freedom with our industry leading underarm gussets and seamless design. Less chafing and restriction, maximum comfort.


CONTOURED SHAPE FOR IMPROVED SAFETY
No matter what your size or shape, men or women, Lakeland has an FR performance shirt for you. Designed to provide functional fit for all, Lakeland apparel offers a sleek design to reduce bulk and keep you safe on the job.


SUPERIOR MOISTURE WICKING TECHNOLOGY
Our FR garments are designed to pull moisture off your skin to keep you cooler in the heat and warmer in the cold. With your body temperature in check, you’ll see a boost in your comfort and overall safety on the job.

TAG FREE BACK COLLAR
Lakeland FR Performance apparel is designed with your comfort in mind. The tag free back collar means you’ll never fight with an itchy neck tag again.


MOBILITY OF ARM MOVEMENT
Designed to accommodate overhead reaching and side to side movements, the Lakeland apparel arm construction is a thing of beauty. With a singular seam that runs the length of the sleeve and body, the garment is both flexible and functional.

FLAT SEAM CONSTRUCTION
Never feel the scratch of thread again. Lakeland FR performance garment seams are smooth and comfortable against your skin, with fabric laid side-by-side and stitched flat, so the transition of fabric is almost, well, seamless.

FUNCTIONALITY IN THE DESIGN
A properly constructed FR garment should balance safety, protection, fabric quality and comfort, without compromise. Designed specifically to outlast the elements and maximize moisture wicking and comfort, Lakeland’s FR performance apparel is designed with safety and maneuverability in mind.

The clothes you wear on the job, matter — for your comfort, for your performance and for your safety. Shouldn't you choose FR gear with advanced technology and industry-leading design? It’s simple, just #AskforLakeland.

Interested in learning more lineman training and fitness tips, 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 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.

Lineman safety and performance guide

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Topics: Moisture Wicking FR Apparel

4 Things Line Mechanics Should Look for in Moisture Wicking FR Apparel

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

May 31, 2017 10:00:00 AM

lineman FR apparelThe clothes you wear on the job, matter. Protection from arc-flash is your primary concern, but you no longer have to compromise comfort and performance for safety.

High Performance FR apparel that combines moisture wicking technology with performance-tested design modifications can boost your comfort and confidence on the line.

This article will cover the key information every lineman should know before they select their next FR garment, including:

  • The science of moisture wicking technology
  • How FR clothing can help maintain core temperature
  • New FR shirts design modifications for linemen
  • How clothing can improve lineman safety on the job
  • Tips to select the right FR garment

1. Choose Apparel with Moisture Wicking Technology and the Data to Back it Up

Your apparel choice can greatly affect your safety on the job. Choosing an FR garment that lets you stay focused means your safety will never be compromised by the distraction of clothing discomfort. Moisture wicking technology in apparel is the use of specific clothing fibers designed to pull moisture off the skin, transporting it through the fabric, improving clothing comfort, cooling and insulation.

A garment with superior moisture wicking capabilities can:

  • Pull moisture off of your skin into the clothing fibers to ensure you don’t feel bogged down with dampness.
  • Transport the moisture from the interior of the fabric to the exterior of the fabric, quickly.
  • Spread the moisture on the exterior of the fabric so it can dissipate, to help you feel drier, faster.

This combination of actions is the act of vertical moisture wicking, and the speed at which a garment moves through the stages of wicking from garment to garment is called the water vapor transmission speed. The faster a garment can wick moisture away from your body, through the fibers and spread it on the exterior surface, the drier and more comfortable you’ll be on the job.

LAK_blog_bar-graph-wicking_2017.jpeg

2. Select FR Clothing That Can Help Maintain Core Temperature

Understanding the science of moisture wicking is one thing, understanding how it can improve your job performance is another important consideration.

Research performed in a controlled lab environment shows that Lakeland FR performance apparel, powered by Polartec PowerDry:

  • Absorbs moisture 7X faster than FR cotton and 3X faster than all other competitive blends
  • Moves an average 50% more moisture to the exterior of the fabric creating a drier zone next to the skin
  • Maintains moisture movement capabilities at a rate 5X faster than competitors

What does this mean for you? It means that if you choose Lakeland FR, you will see the benefits of the industry’s best moisture wicking technology.In heat and humidity, your FR performance shirt will pull moisture off of your skin and it will dissipate quickly helping you stay dry. In the winter, your FR shirt will be a base layer, but it won’t get soaked with moisture making you feel cold as soon as you stop activity. Instead, it will pass moisture through the fibers to the next layer, keeping you both insulated and dry.

3. Choose FR Shirts Designed Specifically for Lineman

Not only is Lakeland FR performance gear designed to boost your performance, it also features a number of design details specifically requested by linemen. Lakeland FR garments were created for linemen, by linemen, so we took their feedback into consideration.

  • Dual-certified protection with safety and maneuverability in mind
  • Flat seam construction to maximize comfort
  • Tag free back collar to eliminate annoying labels
  • Designed with arm mobility to accommodate overhead reaching and side to side movements
  • Seamless underarms designed to eliminate seam pull and shirt rise and chafing
  • Contrasting stitch design offers sharp contrast and a great look for at-work, at the gym and out on the town
  • Designed to provide a functional fit for all, with contoured shape and a sleek design to reduce bulk

4. Consider How Clothing Can Improve Lineman Safety On the Job

Choosing an FR garment is important to protect you from the dangers on the job. Choosing FR garments with superior moisture wicking technology will protect you in other important ways. Choosing FR apparel that wicks away moisture will:

  • Help Prevent Heat stress. Staying cool in hot temperatures will keep you safe from overheating and heat stroke.
  • Help Prevent Loss of Concentration. If your clothes are full of sweat and bogged down, you may focus more time on managing your clothing than on the task at hand.
  • Help Prevent Loss of Focus and Ability. If your clothes are heavy, restrictive and uncomfortable, your fine motor skills can diminish.

If you don’t have to spend your time worrying about your clothing, you can improve your job performance significantly.

Simple Tips To Help You Choose Your Next FR Lineman Shirt

Why #AskForLakeland? Lakeland has an extensive background in the production of protective clothing for the chemical, oil, gas and fire industries. Our expertise in protective clothing is now available for utility workers in the form of high performance FR apparel. We may be new in the utility community, but we took the time to ask linemen for their feedback on what utility apparel should look and feel like.

Our line of FR performance gear is the new industry leader in terms of comfort, moisture wicking and style. But don’t just take our word for it, ask for the data and you’ll see that Lakeland outlasts the competitors in every category.

In Conclusion, What Should You Look for in A Moisture Wicking Garment?

  • Always look at the garment tag to verify a blend of synthetic and natural fibers
  • Look for a garment that offers permanent moisture wicking technology
  • Look for a tag with a 55/45 blend for optimal moisture wicking
  • Don’t always opt for lighter weight! Just because a garment is Category 1 and deemed ‘lightweight’ doesn't meet it will actually keep you cooler

The clothes you wear on the job, matter — for your comfort, for your performance and for your safety. Shouldn't you choose FR gear with advanced technology and industry-leading design? It’s simple, just #AskforLakeland.

Interested in learning more lineman training and fitness tips, 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.

Lineman safety and performance guide 

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Topics: Moisture Wicking FR Apparel

Understanding the ANSI 107-2015 Updates

Posted by Kyle Kerbow

Jan 17, 2017 9:18:44 AM

ANSI/ISEA 107-2015 Standard Updates will be approved by ANSI Feb 1, 2016. The new ANSI/ISEA 107 standard will be available for download on the ISEA website this week. It combines the ANSI/ISEA 107 Standard and the ANSI/ISEA 207 standards into one.

4 Key things to Note

1. Current ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 and ANSI/ISEA 207-2011 garments are still acceptable and compliant.

•    There is no requirement to change any of your existing garments. This standard offers enhancements and clarification that will evolve High Visibility over the coming years.

2. New Garment HVSA Types added to Class Definitions

NEW HVSA Types
•    Type O = Off Road - Non Roadway
•    Type R = Roadway
•    Type P = Public Safety (ANSI 207 merged)

NEW HVSA Class Definitions
•    Type O - Class 1O
•    Type R - Class 2R and Class 3R
•    Type P - Class 2P and Class 3P
•    Type Supplemental - Class E

3. Smallest Size Garments Type R

•    Small size workers wearing oversize garments can be a safety hazard. While NSA has always offered Small sizes we are pleased the standard now allows for less background material required for the “smallest” size for both ROADWAY type Classes.

Smallest size garment may have LESS background material
•    Class 2R = 540 instead of 775 square inches
•    Class 3R = 1000 instead of 1240 square inches

4. Non FR labeling Now Required

•    “This garment is non flame resistant as defined by ANSI/ISEA 107-2015 Section 10.5”
•     Garments not tested to meet Flame Resistant performance criteria of standards listed in ANSI are required to have Non FR labelling.  ASTM D6413 and NFPA 701 are NOT accepted as they allow fabrics that melt and drip.

Acceptable test methods for FR classification are as follows:

ASTM 1506

ASTM F1891

ASTM F2302

ASFM F2733

NFPA 1977

NFPA 2112

*Note:  High Visibility garments marked as flame resistant shall comply with the requirements of ONE of the above methods in its entirety.

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Protecting Firefighters’ Mental Health: Q&A with Jeff Dill of FBHA

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Dec 12, 2016 10:02:32 AM

blogImage.jpgAs a firefighter and first responder, grit and determination define many aspects of your job. While physical preparation is oftentimes a top priority for individuals in this profession, the importance of becoming mentally prepared to handle the fiercest conditions a firefighter faces is oftentimes overlooked.

I talked with firefighter behavioral health expert and founder of the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance, Jeff Dill, about the challenges experienced within this demanding profession in regard to mental health and stress. In the Q&A below, Jeff will touch on how to manage some of the profession’s top stressors and the resources available for fire and EMS leadership teams.

1. As a retired fire captain, what motivated you to establish FBHA?

My motivation began in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. Firefighters from my district were dispatched to New Orleans and experienced horrific destruction and devastation. These men and women went to their counselors after their experience, and the trained behavioral health professionals couldn’t comprehend, relate to or understand what these first responders were talking about. In 2009, I became a licensed counselor and began training other counselors and chaplains. Following my training, I began receiving so many questions about what I, along with my network, do for firefighters and first responders. 

In 2011, the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance was established to directly educate firefighters/ Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel and their families about behavioral health issues such as depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and addictions, as well as firefighter suicides. 

2. What are some of the major causes of stress firefighters face in their profession today? 

Some of the major causes for stress include calls and management issues. But the top stressors reported to us are marital and family relationships, medical issues, PTSD – they are all wrapped up together. There is a lot of cultural brainwashing in our society – where we are trained to be the best we can, however, we’re not prepared for some of the images we’ll carry for the rest of our life. 

Brainwashing refers to the pressure to always act strong and handle issues on your own. Without an outlet to positively communicate about or re-direct these stressors, a build up takes place and at times, individuals will turn to addictions.

3. Are fire departments required to provide training and workshops to help their employees manage the stressors of their profession?

Chiefs are encouraged to go out into the community to look for Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that offer mental health resources and have a connection with the firefighter community.

Many districts have a board of trustees and one of their responsibilities is to try to establish a relationship with an EAP. In bigger communities and cities, this is a role for human resources with the fire chief’s continued involvement. In all communities, chaplain and peer support is encouraged as well.

In my opinion, many counselors are good people but may not be trained to work with fire and EMS. This profession is very different from others. Unfortunately, there are not enough qualified counselors to work across this sector. The shortage of resources and the inability to connect leave firefighters lacking the help that they need.

My organization, FBHA, now offers 7 different mental and behavioral health workshops. Our most popular focuses on how to create a successful behavioral health program for your team.

4. What are some of the warning signs that a first responder may be having a difficult time dealing with job-related stress?

I’ve interviewed over 800 firefighters and EMTs and the biggest warning signs are:

  • Recklessness
  • Anger
  • Isolation
  • Lost of confidence and skills
  • Sleep depravation

It’s important to recognize warning signs with a colleague and understand that it’s not infringing on their privacy or intruding to offer help. 

Lack of sleep can be another risk factor for behavioral health issues with firefighters and EMTs. There is not much getting around having to run calls at night, but getting naps in during the day can have a tremendously positive impact on your body and stress level.

5. Do you feel like physical activity and good nutrition play a critical role in the mental health of first responders and firefighters? 

Fueling your body with nutritious food and fluids has taken on a major role in the overall health of firefighters. When I started 22 years ago – we all pitched in on the cooking duties and we ate (what we thought) was very well. As the years passed, we saw a bigger push towards a focus on overall nutrition and physical fitness to support our bodies need to handle a high level of physical and mental demands. I would like to see the focus on behavioral health in our profession grow as fast as nutrition and physical fitness have done so over the years.

When I did my first presentation in 2011, you would think I had horns growing out of my ears based on the reactions I received. Now, the growth of this important topic is substantial and we are seeing many firefighter communities coming up with awareness programs. But what price have we paid in the meantime? It is so important that the programs being implemented are effective.

6. What role does a firefighter’s gear play in both physical and mental preparedness?

Many concerns and stressors related to gear is due to aging equipment. Some small to middle sized fire departments and volunteer departments are using turnout gear that is 15 years old. They may be only running 300 calls a year, but they are still running calls. It can be difficult to get funding for new gear, but it is important that these men and women have the appropriate protection when putting their lives at risk to protect their community.

7. What resources can you recommend for firefighters, EMS and other first responders looking for more information about maintaining optimal mental health? 

Below are some fantastic resources for firefighters, EMS and first responders to get the critical information needed to maintain optimal physical and mental health. Additionally, the organizations referenced provide downloadable tools, workshops and seminars that can provide further assistance.

About Jeff Dill:

In 2011, Jeff Dill founded the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance to directly educate firefighters/ Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel and their families about behavioral health issues such as depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and addictions, as well as firefighter suicides. Through businesses, community support and sponsorships, it is the organization’s hope that the workshops and services will be offered at no charge to those in need. 

Jeff holds a Master’s degree and is a Licensed Counselor. He is a retired Captain from Palatine Rural Fire Protection District in Inverness, Illinois and is a member of the American Counseling Association, National Board of Certified Counselors, International Associations of Fire Chiefs, and is an alumni member of the International Association of Fire Fighters. 

Jeff Dill, and those working with FBHA are dedicated to educating firefighters and emergency service personnel on the importance of behavioral health. 

For more information about FBHA and upcoming workshops, contact Jeff here.

Firefighter Mental Toughness ebook guide 

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Topics: Turnout Gear, Firefighter Combat Challenge, Firefighter Mental Health

Highlights From the World Firefighter Combat Challenge XXV

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Nov 11, 2016 3:01:34 PM

Sean Sullivan2.jpgThe annual World Firefighter Combat Challenge (FCC), also known by ESPN as the “toughest 2 minutes in sports,” is a representation of the dedication and grit it takes to prepare appropriately for the life-saving risks firefighters face each day. The FCC events are designed to showcase the tremendous physical fitness abilities of America’s first responders. Wearing full turnout gear and a self-contained breathing apparatus, individuals and relay teams race head-to-head and against the clock through a multi-level obstacle course.

With over 25 events taking place throughout the year, the FCC events are held in the U.S., Canada, and have recently expanded onto the international level. As a 2016 sponsor, Lakeland Industries supported two incredible competitors who participated on Lakeland’s U.S. team. Each member had an impressive finish to the season at the World Firefighter Combat Challenge XXV which took place in Montgomery, Alabama October 23 – 29, 2016. 

ryan-image.pngRyan Fitzgerald

Department: Mankato, Minnesota (IAFF Local 579 out of Mankato, MN)

Turnout Gear: Lakeland Stealth

World Firefighter Combat Challenge XXV Highlights:

To date, Ryan has recorded the fastest time of the over 30,000 American firefighters who have competed in the FCC since the competition’s inception. During the FCC finals, Ryan achieved second place overall among male participants and first place for his participation on Team USA among all international teams.

sean-image.pngSean Sullivan

Department: Frankfort, Kentucky (Frankfort Fire & EMS)

Turnout Gear: Lakeland Stealth

Sean won the male over 40 category Grand National Championships and Ted Overcash Grand National Award before heading to the World Firefighter Combat Challenge. During the World FCC finals, Sean achieved 18th place among male participants over 40, 8th overall in the male tandem over 40 category, 9th in the co-ed tandem category, and top 8 in the hybrid relay. 

Lakeland Industries would like to extend our congratulations to the Team Lakeland members and all who participated in the 2016 FCC events.

As the 2016 sponsor of FFC Team Lakeland, Lakeland Industries has aided its team members and others interested in improving their physical health by offering free, downloadable performance guides inspired by the men and women who dedicate their lives to saving others. The guide is the perfect resource for not only firefighters, but also any man or woman who would like to improve their lifestyle.

For more highlights, photos and video of the World Firefighter Combat Challenge XXV, visit our Facebook page.

Firefighter Mental Toughness ebook guide 

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Topics: Turnout Gear, Firefighter Combat Challenge

Prepare Your Mind By Fueling Your Body with These Firefighter Tips

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Oct 12, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Fuel_your-body_blog.jpgIt only makes sense that mental fitness, much like physical fitness, starts with a healthy body. If your body is well-nourished and operating efficiently than the rigorous physical and mental tasks you put it through will prove that much more effective.

This simple analogy perhaps says it best: “Like an expensive car, your brain functions best when it gets only premium fuel.” In fact, multiple studies show a link between poor diet and a reduction in mental processing, mental performance and mood disorders.

So how, exactly, does good food fuel our minds? 

Mental Health Starts In Your Stomach 

It may be hard to believe, but 95% of the body’s serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract. Why is that important to you? Well, serotonin helps regulate sleep, mood and pain sensations. As a result, what you eat directly affects the amount of serotonin your body produces and sends on to fuel your brain.

Now keep in mind, there is conflicting evidence as to what kinds of foods promote the production of serotonin. Evidence suggests that you can’t eat serotonin-dense foods, like bananas, walnuts and pineapple, and see direct results because the chemical doesn’t cross over to the brain. 

Instead, the science seems to suggest that eating carbs with a combination of tryptophan can help boost mood. If you think about it more, there’s a reason why so-called comfort foods (aka. mood boosters) are dense, carb rich foods.

At the end of the day, we can take this key point simply to mean that choosing healthy foods (and avoiding fast-food and foods high in fat and sugar) can positively affect our GI tract, and thus, improve our overall mental health.

Healthy Foods Improve Brain Processes

What we eat each day acts as the building blocks for how the brain functions and how information is transferred between various parts of the brain and body. Doctors and nutritionists alike have been saying for years that the vitamins and nutrients consumed daily directly affect improvements in mood and mental health. 

  • Tip: Stock up on pumpkin seeds to increase your zinc intake. Zinc has been shown to enhance memory and thinking skills, and that it can also help manage stress levels.
  • Tip: Eat broccoli to boost vitamin K. This vitamin is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower.
  • Tip: Eat foods rich in B-vitamins, like chicken, leafy greens and eggs. B vitamins have been linked to improved mood and a reduction in cognitive decline. 
  • Tip: Try adding sage to the top of your favorite dishes. Sage has been linked to improved memory and concentration. 
  • Tip: Eat fish, seeds and nuts to boost omega-3’s in your diet. Omega 3’s have been shown to improve thinking and memory.

Before you switch up your diet too dramatically, talk to you doctor about the best choices for your body and your particular nutritional needs. You may find that an adjustment in your diet is just the thing to help you improve mental preparation and mental health.

At Lakeland Fire, we’ve pulled together resources on top workouts, healthy eating and physical fitness in the past, but we are really proud of our recent comprehensive Firefighter Mental Toughness Guide covering everything from mental preparation skills to healthy sleep habits, and resources designed specifically for firefighters.

Interested in learning more about mental preparation and how what you do in your down time can help improve your on-the-job and on-the-course performance?

Download Lakeland’s Firefighter Mental Toughness Guide Now

Lakeland’s guide is filled with resources that stretch beyond just physical fitness, focusing on the importance of mental preparation and health to help you on the job and on the training course. 

You can also #GearUp with Lakeland Fire. 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.

Firefighter Mental Toughness ebook guide

Sources:
http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626
http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20150820/food-mental-health
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/10-foods-boost-your-brainpower 

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Topics: Turnout Gear

The Critical Role Turnout Gear Plays in Mental Preparation and Success

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Oct 5, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Mental-Prep-Turnout-Gear_blog.jpgYour turnout gear is designed to protect you in the line of duty, but it should also provide you with a sense of confidence that you will be protected, no matter what type of emergency situation you face. 

  • Does your current turnout gear give you confidence in your ability and offer the flexibility and maneuverability to perform at your best?
  • Which flaws in your turnout gear design slow you down and reduce your efficiency? 

At Lakeland Fire, we make it our mission to design athletically cut turnout gear with movement in mind. Your confidence in your gear matters to our team and here’s why it should matter to you.

Firefighter Safety On the Job  

Studies show that the majority of firefighter work-related injuries and deaths are not a direct result of fire, but rather, overexertion or cardiac incidents.

Creating lightweight turnout gear with a maneuverable design can help protect firefighters from overstress, fatigue and exhaustion in the line of duty.

More importantly, how your turnout gear moves with you and allows you to react in emergency situations is critical to safety. 

“Understanding your gear, how it works and why it works helps to build confidence on the scene of an emergency.” – Sean Sullivan

Turnout Gear Designed with Breathability

Responding to an emergency call means gearing up with 60 or more pounds of protective gear, including an SBCA, boots, mask and vest. If your turnout gear is designed specifically to be lightweight, it could make a big difference in your fatigue and exertion at the scene of a call.

Designed of a lightweight yet durable material, Lakeland Stealth turnout gear is more than 10-percent lighter than standard issued gear. 

Finding the perfect balance of thermal protective performance and total heat loss is the key to creating premium turnout gear. In many instances, older turnout gear is built with great thermal protective performance (thicker layers) but as a result, the gear has low total heat loss, or breathability. 

With lighter-weight gear and less worry about being overheated and overexerted, your mental focus can remain on the situation at hand. Mental preparation and mental fitness start with feeling confident in each unique situation you face and your turnout gear shouldn’t be an obstacle to your mental state.

Turnout Gear Designed to Move with You

Lakeland Stealth offers perhaps the most ergonomic turnout pant on the market today. The pants are specifically designed to improve both performance and comfort on the job with a singular lower panel and no side seams. Not only does the single lower panel reduce abrasion in tight quarters, it also facilitates increased maneuverability and safety 

Moreover, the pants are designed to be donned quickly and easily, with: 

  • A 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.
  • Extendable Belt Loops and 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.

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“Protective gear plays a role in stress reduction by gaining a firefighter's confidence that it will perform as designed. We have a very short timeframe to don all of our gear before responding to a call, and it has to be fitted correctly and perform as required. It adds stress and distraction when suspenders and other accessories are twisted and not fitting right underneath your coat.
” – Ryan Fitzgerald

Take a look at this high-performance blueprint of Lakeland Fire Stealth turnout gear and see the difference that advanced ergonomics and attention to detail can make in your mental preparation and on-the-job performance.

Interested in learning more about mental preparation and how what you do in your down time can help improve your on-the-job and on-the-course performance?

Download Lakeland’s Firefighter Mental Toughness Guide, filled with resources that stretch beyond just physical fitness, focusing on the importance of mental preparation and health to help you on the job and on the training course.

You can also #GearUp with Lakeland Fire. 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.

Firefighter Mental Toughness ebook guide

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Topics: Turnout Gear

Top 3 Mental Preparation Skills for Optimal Athletic Performance

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Sep 28, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Mental-Preparation_blog.jpgFitness is often associated with physical fitness and good nutrition with little focus on mental health and preparation. Think about it – when you make the decision to get into better shape, you often start with a workout and eating plan that will help support increased physical activities for improved muscle mass, endurance and strength.

But before your hit the gym in pursuit of physical fitness goals, consider the importance of mental fitness. In fact, think of your brain as a muscle— it needs exercise, rest and preparation to help you be at your best. 

So how do you start a mental fitness workout routine?

Take a look at some suggestions from the Lakeland Fire team below and consider downloading our comprehensive Firefighter Mental Toughness Guide for a more detailed look at being mentally fit.

Tip #1: The Importance of Practice and Preparation

When it comes to top performing athletes, training and repetition is a key component to improvement and here’s why:

  • Performing drills and training establishes a baseline of muscle and mental memory and allows you to become a creature of habit for certain physical tasks and procedures.
  • Natural muscle memory and repetition can improve mental sharpness on the job.
  • Repetitive practice prepares you for real-life scenarios by force of habit, allowing your mind and body to assume control because it has been through the motions before.

Tip #2: Positive Attitude and Self-Talk

You can do it! How you talk to yourself can make the difference between success and failure in competition and at the station.

  • Even when faced with challenges, maintain a positive attitude and positive self-talk to see yourself through difficult situations.
  • It can be easy to give up and think negatively, but if you practice positivity, it can help pull you through even the most difficult circumstances.

Tip #3: Develop Refocusing Strategies

Like anything in life, even with the greatest preparation and training, you may find yourself losing focus on the task at hand. Luckily, you can prepare your mind and your body for such scenarios.

  • When you see yourself losing focus or concentration, develop a strategy that works for you to regain control of the situation.
  • In competition, that may mean re-setting, starting over, or performing a specific physical movement to snap yourself back into ready-mode.
  • On the job, perhaps it is positive self-talk or walking away to take a deep breath, and returning to the task with improved clarity and focus. 

Preparing for competition is one arena where mental health is essential for performance. But applying that mental preparation on the job can be beneficial, too. Consider the benefits of mental preparation training to help you reach optimal performance in all aspects of your home and work life.

Interested in more mental preparation skills? We have 3 additional tips in our comprehensive mental toughness guide, which is available FREE for download.

Download Lakeland’s Firefighter Mental Toughness Guide, filled with resources that stretch beyond just physical fitness, focusing on the importance of mental preparation and health to help you on the job and on the training course.

Looking for workout tips or recipe ideas to fuel your physical fitness? We have those resources, too. Take a look:

You can also #GearUp with Lakeland Fire. 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.

Firefighter Mental Toughness ebook guide 

Read More

Topics: Turnout Gear