The NZPFU has been pushing for new protective flash hoods to be trialled as current hoods have not been reviewed for more than a decade.
Research into firefighters’ occupational cancer has shown that the jaw and skull are areas of high absorption of toxins and carcinogens. In recent years the technology of particulate-blocking fabrics have developed reducing the rates of that absorption. The reduction of absorption is an important part of taking all reasonable steps to reduce exposures to carcinogens.
Last year our trainers at NTC conducted an end-user trial into hoods. Their experience demonstrated reduced absorption with noticeable less soot with new technology hoods. The NZPFU has been pushing for a national trial of those hoods to ensure new generation hoods were distributed. We have agreed to these hoods on the basis that a robust trial of hoods (not just this brand) is undertaken over the next 18 months. That trial will lead into a full procurement process. The trainers did notice the hoods were warmer and the comfort with the added protection are all considerations of the national trial.
Every professional career firefighter will be issued with two hoods. After every exposure to fire or toxins these hoods will need to be bagged and sent for cleaning as with any other PPE. The hoods will have the firefighter’s individual identifier to ensure they are tracked and returned from cleaning as per the usual PPE process.
The hoods are black and therefore will be easily identifiable as the new hoods. They will be arriving on Station very shortly.