Rehab shirts keep firefighters cool
Company also rolled out heat-stress alarm to be worn on firefighter's head
Cool Shirt Systems introduced two products at FDIC to keep firefighters from overheating at a working fire. One monitors body temperature while the other cools firefighters.
The Porticool 2 system is a vest made of wicking material worn against the skin under station wear. Tubes sewn into the vest circulate carbon dioxide, which both cools the body and evaporates sweat, said Bruce Baker, the company's division sales director.
The carbon dioxide tank, about the size of a sports drinking bottle, can be strapped to a firefighter's SCBA tank or carried in turnout pockets.
Baker acknowledged that it will be difficult not only to convince fire departments to make additional purchases, but to convince firefighters to wear an additional piece of equipment. However, he said the system will reduce rehabilitation time and firefighter liquid intake by 30 percent.
The vest can be machine washed and dried and sells for $800 with a carbon dioxide tank.
The company also rolled out a heat-stress alarm that is about the size of a quarter. A firefighter wears the device on his or her head, taped or Velcroed to the inside of the helmet, Baker said.
The unit sounds and audible alarm when the firefighter's body temperature reaches 101 degrees. It sounds another alert when the firefighter's temperature returns to a safe level.
The alarm is powered by a two-year battery. Each alarm costs $100.