Longterm health and safety of firefighters goal of new TenCate initiative

TenCate Protective Fabrics hopes all firefighters — from a rookie to a retiree — will experience a long, healthy career and retirement

ATLANTA — Long known for its outer shell and thermal liners in turnout gear, TenCate Protective Fabrics launches a new initiative to promote firefighter safety and health beyond the flame-resistant textiles.

For almost 50 years, TenCate created and manufactured flame-resistant fabrics used in turnouts. Protecting the firefighter has always been the goal and, today, more that 450 American workers are dedicated to making the best FR textiles for turnouts, wildlands, technical rescue and stationwear. This year, the company begins a new effort to expand beyond just the fabrics that firefighters wear.

“For years, the number one killer of line-of-duty deaths has not been fire,” said Tyler Pientok, Director of Sales for Emergency Response at TenCate Protective Fabrics. “Cardiac events and heat exhaustion both lead, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.”

TenCate has been very forward-thinking in its approach to engineering lighter weight fabrics for use in turnout gear as well as technical attributes that mean more comfortable ensembles. TenCate will continue to research better advancements in fire-resistant (FR) fabrics that will enhance the performance of PPE.

More alarmingly, occupational cancer rates among firefighters cut careers and retirements short, Pientok noted.

“Our fabrics do a great job of protecting wearers,” Pientok said. “Yet, TenCate recognizes a need to do more to promote the overall safety and health of the American Firefighter.”

This wholistic approach steps far beyond what a traditional fabric manufacturer can do and extends much further than standards, testing and textiles.

The first step was sponsoring the IAFF Cancer Summit on Feb. 1. The International Association of Fire Fighters lead this important meeting, which was streamed live on the web. As a major sponsor, TenCate Protective Fabrics, along with other industry thought-leaders, is working directly with the leadership of the firefighter union and on behalf of its more than 300,000 members.

“Working directly with the leading organization concerned with the health and safety of today's firefighters proved to be an easy first step,” Pientok said. “The TenCate initiative will go well beyond our alignment with the IAFF. This is just the beginning.”

TenCate Protective Fabrics will support firehouse exercise initiatives, healthy firefighter meals, proper decontamination and procedures following fire events and much more. And it will heavily influence future development of fabrics.

“Our development has always taken into account the laundering of gear,” said Michael Laton, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at TenCate. “Our future development will take into account effective decontamination and more frequent laundering.”

Look for TenCate Protective Fabrics to elaborate more on its efforts at FDIC 2018 in Indianapolis. Visit booth #2213 to learn more.

About TenCate Protective Fabrics
TenCate Protective Fabrics is the world’s leading supplier of inherently flame-resistant fabrics for firefighters. Respected and recognized worldwide for our aggressive Research and Development, superior quality and cutting-edge manufacturing processes, it’s no wonder why seven out of 10 firefighters in the United States wear turnout gear made with TenCate fabrics.

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