New SATRA-certified firefighter's suit trialled

Published:  20 August, 2010

A special suit designed for firefighters attending incidents by motorcycle has been tested and certified by SATRA. Designed by Bradford-based Universal Carbon Fibres Limited (UCF), this protective garment meets both EN 13595 part 1 (a motorcycle standard) and the firefighters' clothing standard EN 469, and is thought to be the first suit ever produced that meets both requirements. 

During a two-and-a-half year design project, UCF explored a wide variety of fabric, membrane and thermal barrier combinations before arriving at what was considered to be the optimum selection. Said to resist flame and heat transfer, it passed the necessary levels of resistance to penetration by liquid chemicals, including petrol. This fabric is reported to have high levels of resistance to abrasion, tears, impact, cuts and impact energy absorption.

The thermal barrier inside the suit also has a level of fire resistance and provides additional heat resistance. The lining material had to pass a 'flame spread test' and offer moisture management abilities.

Once the motorcycle firefighter's suit had passed the necessary standards, wear trials were organised. The Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service agreed to provide two riders with BMW RT1200 bikes in order to attend small fires for a six-month period.

Although motorcycles have been used by fire services in such places as Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, Sweden and Turkey for several years, this is the first time they have been introduced to operational duty in the UK. These two new motorcycles are fitted with two 25 litre water tanks and a 30 metre hose reel and lance nozzle which delivers water and foam. According to the Merseyside force, so-called 'anti-social behaviour fires' in bins and waste skips account for over 60 per cent of the total fire call-outs. Until now, a fire engine with a full crew was dispatched to such incidents, resulting in a fully-equipped unit being tied up until the minor fire was extinguished and the unit could return to duty.

Having complied with these standards, UCF can apply a CE mark to the garment, a necessary step prior to marketing it in Europe.

  • Operation Florian

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