South32 GEMCO adopt MSA Bristol XFlex: the gold standard in firefighting garments

South32 GEMCO take delivery of MSA Bristol XFlex

Pac Fire is excited to announce the selection MSA Bristol XFlex by South32 GEMCO as their new structural firefighting ensemble.

South32 GEMCO operate a Northern Territory manganese mine, on the island of Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The remote location of the South32 GEMCO mining operation means the specialised fire and emergency services team attend a wide range of incidents including but not limited to structural fire, road crash rescue, technical rescue and bushfire that occur at the mine site, within the local township and amongst the indigenous community.

In short the South32 GEMCO fire and rescue team need to be ready to handle just about anything at a moments notice – with backup over an hour away by air.

Recently, South32 GEMCO’s existing structural firefighting garments reached the end of their service life. This prompted research into a new ensemble designed to suit the unique environmental demands that go hand in hand with mines location as well as the varied incidents the emergency services team are presented with.

Environmental factors such as the high, unabating temperature, averaging over 30 degrees celsius and relative humidity greater than 70% were major considerations during garment evaluation. The conditions encountered on Groote Eylandt result in thermal load being exerted on responders from the moment garments are donned, making the overall weight of the ensemble and breathability extremely important criteria.

After an evaluation of current market offerings and user trials, South32 GEMCO moved forward with MSA Bristol XFlex, Pac Fire’s premium structural firefighting ensemble which incorporates sports styling, making it one of the most comfortable and ergonomic garments on the market today.

South32 GEMCO take delivery of MSA Bristol XFlex

Nabeel Yassine, Pac Fire’s National Sales Manager, who was heavily involved with the project to deliver XFlex to South32 GEMCO, commented:

“The ergonomic fit, superior thermal protection and industry leading breathability made MSA Bristol XFlex the perfect choice for the unique circumstances surrounding the South32 GEMCO Mine.”

The South32 GEMCO XFlex features Nomex® 360 as the selected outershell material. Nomex® 360 is a recent innovation by Safety Components and provides vital protection against heat and flame. On the inside of the garment, GORE® Parallon®, the latest moisture management system from W. L. Gore & Associates, delivers complete balance between breathability and thermal protection.

Tim McKinlay Leading Hand with South32 GEMCO emergency services, reported the MSA Bristol XFlex moisture management system, GORE® Parallon®, to have delivered the best internal heat and moisture dissipation during user trials. He went on to say: “sweat and moisture was wicked away from the skin, helping to keep our bodies cool and dry during the various exercises”. During the trial, participants experienced improved manoeuvrability attributed XFlex’s unique shoulder and knee shaping coupled with under arm gussets, allowing for crawling and reaching while in the garment without it bunching or riding up.

Understanding the important role that the correct fit plays in providing optimum protection, Pac Fire delivered an onsite sizing session which included the utilisation of specialised sizing sets to effectively and accurately measure responders for their new ensemble. PPE/C integration exercises conducted during sizing ensured optimum compatibility with other elements of the South32 GEMCO kit.

At the conclusion of garment evaluation, South32 GEMCO selected PAC+CARE as their nominated service provider for care and maintenance of their new MSA Bristol XFlex. On dispatch PAC+CARE specialists allocated each item to it’s new owner, initiating life-cycle monitoring which in the future will track and report on important data like wash count, wash type, inspections and repair history.

PAC+CARE’S NFPA 1851 compliant approach to cleaning targets the most prevalent and persistent contaminants in firefighter protective wear and combats them with best practice methodology, state of the art washing and drying technology and leading chemical inactivation. This approach results in a significant reduction in contamination load thereby mitigating the effects of exposure to responders while maximising a garments operational life. Of particular interests to South32 GEMCO was PAC+CARE’S history of effectively removing asbestos contamination for PPE/C. Asbestos sheeting is still present in some buildings on Groote Eylandt and was highlighted as a risk to their emergency service workers.

The South32 GEMCO XFlex was delivered and began it’s service life in February 2021.

South32 GEMCO take delivery of MSA Bristol XFlex

MSA Bristol garments, including the XFlex are proudly distributed throughout Australia by Pac Fire

Click here for more information on MSA Bristol XFlex.

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