We know that every day, firefighters risk their lives in dangerous situations. That’s why it’s absolutely essential that their fire suits incorporate the very best protective technology. But we also know that fire suits are expensive. So, what are your options when it comes to balancing protection and affordability?
Total cost of ownership
When it comes to purchasing a fire suit, it is essential to look beyond the initial price tag and consider the total cost of ownership. This means looking at what purchasing a particular fire suit will mean for you in the long term. How long it lasts—its durability—will ultimately lower your costs in the long term. Ideally, you should be looking to purchase a suit that will last between 5-10 years.
Making your purchase go the distance
We know that above all else, protection must be your utmost priority when selecting a fire suit. So, how can this go hand-in-hand with total cost of ownership? Here are a few factors to keep in mind when making your purchase:
beyond the cost of purchasing the suit, how much will it cost to maintain and repair the suit, so that it remains compliant to safety standards for longer? Furthermore, what systems are in place to ensure that the gear can be maintained and cleaned properly? Some manufacturers offer maintenance and repair programmes, which can allow the garment to last much longer— so do check your care and maintenance options with your manufacturer when you’re in the purchasing process.
how well will the garment stand up to repeated industrial laundering? This will ultimately play a part in the overall durability and lifecycle of your garment. How well the fire suit maintains its looks, even after an extended number of washes, should be considered when purchasing a set of gear.
- Dual certification
is the suit dual-certified, eg for dual use in wildland and station settings? Having a dual-certified garment reduces costs by making it possible to wear the same garment for different applications. At the same time, consider whether the garment solutions you currently have are being worn for the right applications. This will reduce costs in the long-term by ensuring a garment is not destroyed simply through being worn in the wrong application.
- Range of protection
what is the garment able to withstand? Previously, purchasing a fire suit was primarily about fire protection. But now there is a growing awareness of the other elements of protection that the wearer may require. For example, exposure to particulates, carcinogens and chemicals. Is your fire suit offering the full range of protection, prioritising both the safety of the wearer and the overall life cycle of the garment?
The challenges of this economic climate
It’s no secret that the prolonged period of hyperinflation that we have been experiencing in recent times has meant that PPE has become much more expensive. So, this presents a significant challenge when it comes to being cost-conscious. Compromising on our protective garments will never be an option; instead, we must reframe how we go about purchasing them. While protective garments may be more expensive than usual, we should prioritise buying better materials that last longer and offer the greatest range of protection — ultimately keeping costs down in the long run by lessening the frequency of replacing them.