Freedom to move: DuPont™ Nomex® Partner S-GARD develops stylish turnout gear with ergonomics in mind
Brand new to the market, DuPont™ Nomex® Partner S-GARD has developed its ULTIMATE range of firefighter turnout gear, ergonomically designed to provide unrestricted freedom of movement – a feature
S-GARD believes is a must, in such a demanding physical profession. Fire Product Search talks to Technical Assistant Markus Schmid, one of the brains behind this new military-style design.
To create ULTIMATE, we had to take a step back and discover new innovative approaches to design. There is a vast range of standard turnout gear on the market; however, we believe a lot of it is now starting to look a bit dated and old fashioned. We wanted to bring fresh style and good ergonomic design to this range to provide firefighters with garments that look and feel good, as well as provide them with optimal protection.
Ergonomics is all about designing a garment to best enable the firefighter to do the job. If turnout gear is heavy, inflexible or uncomfortable to wear, it can hinder their work and put additional stress on the body. S-GARD has built in a range of design features to make it easy for firefighters to get on with the job in hand.
The ULTIMATE jacket comprises a Hainsworth TITAN® outer shell made with DuPont™ Nomex® and new Gore Parallon™ Liner System. For this new range, we’ve used the S-GARD’s athletic Move+3D cut. This sporty action-cut avoids any restriction in your personal mobility. We use gusseted crotches, back pleats and a special underarm shaping in order to achieve perfect arms-up movability without a raised hem line. Furthermore, pre-shaped sleeves and contoured legs to reduce bulk and weight.
Ergonomic design has been applied every step of the way, from the pre-shaped high reach sleeves and new slanted S-pocket design for intuitive use of the pockets, to the raised front part of the jacket designed for easier access to the pants and added comfort when sitting.
Inspired by the motorcycle industry, S-GARD has also constructed the jacket collar with a special heat seal to ensure that the skin of the neck is not exposed to fire between helmet and collar. Furthermore, the jacket is equipped with a “load-control-system” on all pockets but with the increased functionality on the lower cargo pockets so that the load control-flap compresses the pockets and its load and simultaneously tightens the jacket itself in order to prevent heat / wind / water entry during exposure times to freezing cold, extinguishing water or extreme heat.
The ULTIMATE pants are also designed for practicality and comfort, incorporating features such as side pockets with reach through openings to the inside, slanted cargo pocket with load-control system on both sides, and multi-adjustable leg width for easier ‘donning and doffing’.
Great attention to detail and flexibility have been observed throughout the design. Integration of slanted radio-suitable chest pockets on both sides of the jacket for example, which gives firefighters more freedom in how they use the gear. A multi-grip front flap also allows the user to remove the garment quickly.
Ten years ago it would have been enough to create a good quality garment which provides adequate protection against fire, however, today, we are seeing a switch and shift in demand from firefighters for style too. We had a very clear vision that this garment range should be tougher, better ergonomically designed and increased ease of use. For fit and protection, we took inspiration from the excellent garments being designed for the outdoor industry. To increase protection against the elements, we incorporated Gore-Tex inside the garment which now also gives firefighters better sweat management. Finally, we wanted the garment to have an attractive, modern look so took further inspiration from military ranges.
With the ambitious plan to establish ULTIMATE as a leading garment across Europe over the next 12 months, we’ve developed the garments in a range of colours from simple black and gold/black, to a bright lime which provides brilliant daytime visibility.
At S-GARD we believe we’ve created a well balanced solution – one that from a design perspective, is on par with the most stylish brands, yet is less bulky, providing the perfect blend of a lightweight garment with the optimal ergonomic fit.
One of the few companies recognised by the DuPont™ Nomex® Garment Innovation Awards, S-GARD is part of the DuPont™ Nomex® Partner Program developed as part of DuPont’s commitment to protection quality. It is a carefully-selected network of customer-oriented and progressive weavers and garment manufacturers whose fabrics and garments pass DuPont’s rigorous quality controls. Other winners of the awards include VIKING Life-Saving Equipment, TEXPORT and Bristol Uniforms.