FDNY to replace new fire gloves after spate of injuries

The Glove Corp. says it can't afford to rectify the issues and is now closing its manufacturing plant

NEW YORK — A spate of hand injures suffered by firefighters has prompted FDNY to move to replace new gloves bought in September.

The department purchased $850,000 worth of Blaze Fighter gloves — which met relevant NFPA standards — after a successful trial run, according to The New York Times.

However, the city asked for replacements after several firefighters suffered burns to the back of their hands during incidents.

A subsequent investigation showed that some material in the gloves was different from the versions used during the trial, the newspaper reported.

The company that sold the gloves, The Glove Corp., said it can't afford to rectify the issues and is now closing its manufacturing plant in Arkansas, according to the report.

Last month, it issued a Safety Notice regarding the Blaze Fighter glove, which had been certified to NFPA 1971. During recent testing, the advisory said, the glove encountered issues with the performance of the conductive heat resistance test.

The back of the hand area of the glove did not meet the prescribed performance threshold, as outlined in the relevant standard, it added.

FDNY has now referred the matter to the city's Law Department, The New York Times reported.

"The most important part of it, in our mind, is we need to get these gloves replaced as soon as possible," Chief Edward Kilduff told the newspaper. "We understand we have to act as quickly as possible. One injury is one too many."

FireRescue1's "Practical PPE" columnist Mike McKenna said the issues surrounding the recent Safety Notice and the closing of The Glove Corp.'s plant reinforce the need for the fire service to communicate experiences with protective equipment.

"As the chair of the NFPA 1971 Task Group on Gloves, I hear many rumors about hot hand complaints and some regarding burn injuries," he said.

"It is important for fire departments to remember that they are not alone and that there are always other fire departments using the same products that they are using.

"The message is that the fire service needs to monitor the quality of our protective clothing and relay constructive concerns to other fire departments and especially to the appropriate NFPA 1971 Technical Committee.

"The NFPA 1971 Technical Committees can take these issues and use them to develop better performance criteria that will make our PPE better and safer."

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