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News

3M produces a CD to help emergency services specify high visibility garments

3M Europe : 02 July, 2006  (Company News)
When high visibility garments are supplied to employees as Personal Protective Equipment, they must comply with the requirements set out in the European Standard EN471:2003. However, because of the nature of the job, high visibility garments worn by the emergency services often need additional, high performance attributes.
As there are so many different fabrics, films, trims, tapes and materials available on the market, it can be difficult to select or specify the most appropriate one for the job. With this in mind, 3M, a leading supplier of retro-reflective materials, has produced a CD specifically for use by the emergency services. The CD helps to explain the EN471 test methods and the range of EN471 compliant, Scotchlite Reflective Materials that 3M recommends for emergency services garments.

The CD offers detailed explanations of the seven core requirements of EN471:2003 (brightness, abrasion-resistance, flexing, folding at cold temperatures, resistance to temperature variation, washing and dry cleaning, and performance in the rain). In addition, it explains how 3M Scotchlite Reflective Materials work, and informs the reader of the different performance characteristics, types of material, and appliance methods available for different applications within the emergency services.

Caroline Walton, Product Manager for 3M Scotchlite Reflective Materials, recommends that, 'When specifying high visibility clothing for use as PPE, first and foremost, and as a minimum, the clothing buyer must ensure that the entire garment complies with EN471: 2003. All components of a high visibility garment should be carefully considered before selection. And finally, additional, application-specific requirements should be considered. For instance, garments may need to be thermally decontaminated or be able to withstand a wide range of temperatures, chemicals, smoke, oil or grime. Whether an emergency service's key requirements are comfort, protection against infection, flame retardancy, identification, security or are even budget-led, the safety of personnel should be paramount.'

In addition to exceeding the minimum requirements of EN471:2003, 3M Scotchlite Reflective Materials incorporating glass bead technology offer comfort, flexibility and freedom of movement, three vital factors that, when the tape is applied to the garment, make the garment comfortable to wear. The range of Scotchlite Reflective Materials include films, tapes and trims that have been developed specifically for use by the emergency services, for example:

Resistance to high temperature washes. Temperatures of up to 92 are often used to ensure removal of harmful pathogens from garments.
Flame Retardancy
Custom imaging, for increased security
Customisation: Reflective badging, graphics or chequer design provides instant identification.
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