Biloxi to introduce new gear for firefighters

The Biloxi Fire Department this week will become one of the first departments in the country to use turnout gear that employs protective cuffs to help reduce exposure to toxic substances. The new turnout gear also will have a revolutionary, lightweight design.

The department is scheduled to receive 30 new sets of turnout gear, which is historically heavy-fitting and bulky coat and pants firefighters wear when fighting a fire.

The new “Athletix” gear, produced by turnout gear pioneer Globe Manufacturing Co., uses PBI stretch fabric with Kevlar that allows a closer, body-contoured fit to provide unprecedented range of motion with less bulk, more flexibility, and lighter weight.

The addition of an “interface guard,” protective cuffs to help reduce exposure to toxic substances, was unveiled only months ago. It was originally designed especially for the Boston Fire Department. 

“To me,” says Fire Chief Joe Boney, “the most important quality of this new gear is what they call the ‘interface guard,’ which is stitched into the arms and leg cuffs and at the waist. Studies have shown that cancer-causing carcinogens from smoke are able to penetrate the standard turnout gear. This gears provides a great level of protection. We’re also going to look to retrofit existing turnout gear.”

The gear, which typically lasts about seven years, costs $2,600, plus another $300 for boots. Boney said the fire department purchases some new gear every year.

Globe Manufacturing, a firm that essentially invented turnout gear 130 years ago, interviewed hundreds of firefighters to get “a 360-degree view of their experience wearing turnout gear” before sharing the findings with its development partners.

The new Athletix design won the 2016 International Achievement Awards “Award of Excellence” and “Best in Category” for Advanced Textiles by Industrial Fabrics Association International. IAA recognizes excellence in design and innovation in the specialty fabrics and technical textiles industry.
Learn more about the interface guard
Video: See background on the new turnout gear


News and notes

Facebook Live: Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich says he’s in favor of Councilmember Nathan Barrett’s idea for council meetings to be carried on Facebook Live, but after seeing the first couple of recordings, the mayor wants  improvements in the audio quality.  The city’s Information Systems Division is working on it. To see the existing recordings, three budget workshops and a meeting over the past week, click here.

Lively development: Chief Administrative Officer Mike Leonard spoke about the bustling development at Main Street and U.S. 90 in an interview this week on WLOX. To see it now, click here.

BNews: The 25,000 copies of the September issue of BNews Monthly, focusing on major road and infrastructure work underway and in the works  throughout the city, are now being printed by Knight Abbey Printing and Direct Mail. The 16-page full-color newsletter, with a $25 match play coupon from Margaritaville Resort & Family Entertainment Center, will be delivered across the city next week, well ahead of Sept. 1. To see previous issues, click here.