Respirex International

The case for single-use gas-tight suits

Our latest GTL gas-tight suits provide a range of advantages over more traditional designs and have been widely adopted across the fire service. We take a look at a major metropolitan fire brigade to look at why they made the switch.

Respirex have been supplying various generations of PPE into the fire service for over 30 years. Our early gas-tight suits were quite different from the ones you see today, with today’s focus on making suits lighter, more comfortable to wear and manage, all whilst continuing to offer the highest levels of chemical protection.

The brigade were using Respirex’s Viton GTB Re-usable gas tight suits for more than two decades. As these suits reached their end of life cycle, we presented our latest generation light weight ‘regular robustness’ gas tight suit, the GTL. The Respirex GTL is a single-use, fully encapsulating gas-tight-suit, manufactured in a lightweight, and highly chemical resistant fabric: Chemprotex™ 400.

Chemprotex™ 400 is extremely lightweight whilst still remaining robust and offers some of the highest levels of chemical protection available. This allows us to make a suit which is suitable for emergency team use and is approved to EN943-2:2019 Type 1a ET. For a single-use garment, the Chemprotex™ 400 material offers a good level of robustness and stood up well to extensive testing from the fire service on gravel and other rough surfaces.

The decision to adopt these GTL suits by the customer came down to a number of factors, but most important as always was fire fighter safety. There had been previous difficulties associated with re-using suits, which had been common practice before. This would mean decontaminating and laundering the suits after each incident and this led to not just high costs but also an underlying risk of potential cross contamination. Having made the switch to a single use garment, it completely removed any potential for accidental exposure due to cross contamination from improper decontamination.

The lightweight nature of these gas-tight suits also made vast improvements to fire fighter comfort, which during trials showed they were less fatigued, therefore more competent to complete their work safely. 

Respirex GTL Gas-Tight Suit & SC1 Splash Suit

Our close working nature with the UK fire service meant we were able to tailor the needs of fire fighters to produce a suit that would protect them to the highest standards, without compromising their ability to do their work. This means that we have developed a number of options that are possible if required such as brigade ID’s, hooks, attachment points etc.

Respirex GTL Lightweight Gas-tight Suit Views

One major piece of feedback we received was the ability for fire fighters to select their own boots for use with the suit. Previously in other generations of suits, boots were welded to the suit fabric and this meant achieving the perfect balance of fit between boot size and suit size was difficult. This led to higher stocking costs and suits which were not fitting optimally for the user. Allowing individual users to have their own boots meant that just a couple of suit sizes needed to be stocked and in combination with the wearer’s boots provided an excellent fit for the user.

This led to a number of cost savings for the brigade whilst still being able to offer their fighters the best levels of protection and was a win-win both for the wearer and for the public expenditure.

With the added benefit that all Respirex gas-tight suits are manufactured here in the UK, allowing customers to visit our factory at any time to carry out quality audits as required plus allowing us to have extremely fast turnaround when new orders were required

Our Chemprotex™ & Kemblok™ garments are compatible with our PermaSURE® app, another addition which proved useful for the fire service. Using the latest toxicity modelling techniques, the PermaSURE® app calculates your safe working time based on the chemical you are working with, the extent of your exposure, the suit you are using and the suit temperature. PermaSURE® has a chemical database of over 4,000 chemicals and growing, as well as the 15 chemicals listed in EN 943-2:2019.

To learn more about the Respirex GTL and how it could benefit your hazardous response teams please get in touch.

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