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Base Ensemble Offers Greater Protection for First Responders

The goal of the Base Ensemble Project is to develop an improved duty uniform designed to provide first responders with better protection from the many hazards they encounter in their daily duties. In partnership with the project performers and the United Kingdom’s Home Office, S&T is testing different prototypes and garment materials to produce a final product. Emergency first responders often encounter unpredictable and dangerous environments when responding to calls. Blood, chemicals and debris are just a few of the many types of hazards a firefighter or law enforcement officer might be exposed to when answering a call. For example, first responders may encounter broken glass at the scene of a car accident or risk exposure to chemicals upon venturing into an enclosed space that housed a meth lab.

Input and feedback from first responders played a crucial part during the project’s design phase. The First Responder Resource Group (FRRG) helped provide a conduit for that input. The FRRG is an all-volunteer working group and helps S&T focus on how new technologies under development meet the needs of responders in the field. FRRG members frequently will provide input on multiple related topics and then can see impacts across the HSE. For instance, Steve Vandewalle, a firefighter and paramedic from the San Diego Fire Department who also participated in field tests for the Improved Structure Firefighting Glove, was one FRRG member who contributed to this base ensemble prototype design.

“The traditional roles of fire, law enforcement, and EMS continue to cross over into each other’s' disciplines. With the ‘All Hazards Preparedness’ mandates, we must all have a working knowledge of each other's roles, responsibilities, and hazards,” Vandewalle explained. “The base ensemble project is an attempt to provide an increased level of protection from a variety of cross-discipline hazards—if our roles continue to expand, our personal protective equipment must match the hazards.”

Read the full article here: http://www.firstresponder.gov/Pages/Base-Ensemble-Offers-Greater-Protect...