Safety standards for protective clothing exist to maximise a wearers safety. These standards stipulate the minimum performance levels and test methods which a fabric, material, garment or component must meet in order to be certified. Various safety certifications exist and will differ slightly according to their region or country of origin.

Wildland Fires Are an Ever-Present Danger

Wildland, or veld fires occur annually in South Africa, especially in regions like the Western Cape. Whether caused by arson or unpredictable weather, wildland fires are becoming increasingly more frequent. Wildfires spread more rapidly when there is an abundance of fuel to keep the fire burning; some fires can rage for weeks. Weather conditions and topography help wildfires to spread easily. Wildfires will spread with the wind rather than against it and will move faster uphill than downhill. Climate change and a warming planet means the frequency and severity of wildfires is likely to increase. In early 2021, Cape Town experienced a wildfire of epic proportions which tore through parts of the historic University of Cape Town, including the Jagger Library; the effects of which will be felt for years to come. In 2019 recorded wildfires were higher than any previous years.

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What Does EN15614:2007 Include?

Wildfires are highly unpredictable and as such require specific and targeted methods when it comes to fighting them. Wildfires can be more dangerous than structural fires, mainly as a result of the presence of elevated fuel sources such as dry debris, intertwined vegetation and dry grassland. The nature of wildfires means that they can burn over large tracts of land and consequently fire-fighters spend more time fighting these types of fires. Due to the unique nature of wildfires, fire-fighters require specialised PPE and C for the job. Wildland fire-fighting PPE and C must enable the wearer to do their job as easily and safely as possible whilst ensuring their safety. Wildland fire-fighting gear has to be light and easy to move in but also protect the wearer from radiant heat. Heat stress is a very real danger for fire-fighters and their PPE and C needs to help reduce the debilitating effects of this. The minimum performance levels for wildland fire-fighting garments is stipulated by the European standard EN15614:2007. This standard covers the proportions of reflective material or tape on garments, garment tensile strength, thermal resistance, water vapour resistance, fastenings, closures and badge performance and function and radiant heat protection.

Get in Touch with CHARNAUD® Today

Wildland fire-fighting requires specialised safety gear. All safety gear should carry the requisite and most up-to-date safety certifications. CHARNAUD® prides itself on providing the global market with top-quality, fully certified PPC and E across a range of industries. Get in contact with CHARNAUD® today to learn more about their extensive range of personal protective clothing and equipment.

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