By Greg Jakubowski
Published Friday, October 19, 2012
| From the December 2012 Issue of FireRescue
I emphasize to my firefighters, and anyone else who’ll listen, how important it is to protect their hands. But I’ve also discussed the fact that the more protection you wear, the more difficult it becomes to use your hands or other parts of your body effectively. As a result, trying to make gloves that protect against all the different hazards that firefighters are exposed to or come in contact with becomes rather challenging. Providing the proper heat protection for interior firefighting requires thicker gloves that can inhibit patient care at rescue scenes. Making thinner gloves that allow firefighters to perform effective rescue techniques leaves hands vulnerable to burns while firefighting.
Some departments, my own included, have decided to provide firefighters with multiple pairs of gloves, as we’ve realized safety can become compromised when trying to use just a single pair of gloves for protection against all hazards at the same time. So we have structural firefighting gloves, rescue gloves and work gloves for hose packing and other non-emergency work that could damage the other pairs of gloves (sort of like utility rope vs. life-saving rope).
But it’s not just about protection. Firefighters (and just about everyone else) don’t like PPE that isn’t comfortable or easy to wear. So at times, safety gets quickly traded off for function.
If you decide to use more than one pair of gloves, you’ll need to examine structural gloves (which we’ve covered in several previous Gear Tests), as well as extrication gloves. HexArmor indicates that their Chrome Series Rescue Gloves are the world’s safest extrication gloves, designed with “SuperFabric,” a material that maximizes resistance against cuts, slashes and punctures, while also providing a superior foundation for maintaining dexterity and grip. They say that their gloves are so cut-resistant, they’re 4–10 times more so than Kevlar. They also note that their gloves have advanced shock absorption to protect the hand against smashing, impact and abrasion.
Two of my active firefighters tried two different pairs from the Chrome series for a month or so—the GGT5 Mud, item # 4021X-10 and the Cut 5 Impact Hi-Vis, item #4026-10—and they had nothing but good things to say about the gloves compared to our current extrication gloves. They fit well and are very thick, which adds some weight, but they are still extremely flexible, which makes working easier. They also liked the additional padding on the back of the hand and fingers, which provides the smash and impact protection.
The one thing my firefighters didn’t like was the knit-style cuffs. They’re a little harder to put on than the Velcro-style cuffs, which is what my department prefers. That said, they still feel that the HexArmor Chrome Series gloves are exceptional rescue gloves.
If your department is in the market for gloves that are flexible, yet provide proven protection on the rescue ground, I suggest you seriously consider the HexArmor Chrome Series of gloves. They’re perfect for working on today’s rescue ground, they’re available in multiple sizes and they cost between $37.99 and $57.49 depending on the options you choose.
Chrome Series Rescue Gloves
- 4—10 times more cut-resistant than Kevlar
- Comfortable fit
- Improved dexterity
- Extra padding on the back of the hand and fingers
- Knit-style cuffs
2000 Oak Industrial Dr. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
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