Attendees of the FDIC Show in Indianapolis will be the first to view, try, and buy the new Attack Series gloves from Cestusline, Inc. The culmination of years of research into an industry with a rich tradition has resulted in a selection of gloves developed with creative input from fire rescue squads themselves. Partnered with Cestusline’s award-winning R & D team and rigid quality control, firefighters were repeatedly surprised by the outstanding workmanship and durability of the test models. Although Cestusline respects the gloried history of the industry, they bucked tradition with many of the glove designs, reversing layers, rethinking functional details, and adding new layers of protection.
Little has changed in structural fire glove design over the past decade. Traditionally, firemen’s gloves, like their helmets, were made out of leather. While it often provided the protection they needed from lacerations, it became slippery when wet, and lost its dexterity when it finally dried.
In cold conditions, this was a bigger problem because the leather lost its elasticity in extreme temperatures. The very tools meant to protect hands from extreme dangers have often been a stumbling block to efficiently. The Cestus team goal was to raise the threshold of hand protection for the heroes that wear them.
The Firemen Who Helped
We asked fire teams & first responders how to improve the gloves they are using.
The Cestus R & D team integrated the suggestions into the design to provide the protection firemen need, with the dexterity they have always thought impossible.
The Cestus R & D team loves a challenge, and developing a 9-layer glove with enough flexibility to pass our internal ergonomic standards was a feat conquered by our hand-protection experts with over 30 years of experience in glove design.
The Glove Itself
The First Challenge: Dexterity
The features of the FireAttack glove are important, but the most critical difference in the glove design is the Cestus C3-Tek fingers. The extreme curvature of the glove’s finger seams range from 30-35 degrees. This is a more labor-intensive construction process, but one we feel has definable benefits for the wearer. As a part of our studies of the hand, over the years, the Cestus R & D team has found the hand has a natural curve, when at rest. Hand fatigue is often the underlying contributor to loss of grip control/incidents in many industries. Improving the baseline ergonomics of the glove pays dividends for the people that count on their hands as their most valuable tools.
The Second Challenge: Grip
Leather gloves are often slippery when wet, so our glove lab developed the Cestus KP Hybrid grip technology. This exclusive material treatment is a coarse siliconized surface which maximizes grip in wet or dry conditions.
The Third Challenge: Avoidable Injury
Firemen are tough, but the Cestus team sees no reason to sustain avoidable injuries. As developers of gloves for some of the harshest environments and industries, the need for additional protection to the back of the glove was noticeable. The knuckle protection has been beefed-up on FireAttack to provide reliable protection to this high incidence point of injury with materials that resist compression. The profile height of protection is meant to last the lifetime of the glove.
The flexible, variable height TPR impact shields on the fingers reduce the severity of avoidable injuries as firemen are breaching doors and swinging axes. The vertical segmentation allows the fingers to maintain their full range of motion, without losing protection when flexed. The extremities of our extremities are statistically the site of most hand injuries, in any industry
The Fourth Challenge: Low Light Spatial Awareness
Additional thought was given to the real-life situations firemen face every day. Low light environments that are smoke-filled offer limited visibility. Additional reflective strips on the fingers accentuate hand awareness for team members. Spatial awareness of your extremities can reduce injuries by simply knowing where your hands are at all times.
The Fifth Challenge: Fast Donning
Through our discussions with firemen, the fast-donning requirements of gearing up were stressed. The extra-large pull-on loop allows the wearer to quickly don gloves. Tugging on cuffs often leads to a sloppy-fit, which allows debris entry. The FireAttack glove inner elasticization prevents hot coals from entering the glove, partially due to the VulcanX material’s ability to hold its shape, and partially due to the pull on loops.
The Sixth Challenge: Longevity
Traditionally, fire gloves have been leather on the outside with Kevlar on the inside. The innermost layer of the Kevlar kept hands protected as a last line of defense.
The FireAttack has turned this layerstack inside out. The FireAttack’s outermost shell is a flexible, flame-resistant, rip-stop material, called VulcanX which dries faster than leather while maintaining its shape. Here is a picture of a pair trail gloves after 49 fires.
The FireAttack glove is washable for additional longevity and tested to NFPA 1971 standards with UL with a TPP that exceeds the standard’s minimum. Cestusline is also pleased to announce its ISO 9001 quality management certification.
We are also in process with the EN 659: 2003 + A1: 2008 testing for our partners in Europe and Australia.
We then took the glove back to firemen to see what they thought about the changes they inspired.
The overall consensus was that “This glove is a game-changer,”
If you’re planning on attending the FDIC in Indianapolis, you can try the glove on for yourself at booth 136. You can also view the rest of the Cestus Attack Series which include a new, armored glove for swift water rescue and a full spectrum of extrication and rescue glove options.
Still wondering what a Cestus is? It’s a roman gladiator glove that protected hands from lions tigers and bears. Today, Cestusline, Inc. is committed to making hand protection for today’s gladiators of industry. Armored gloves for today’s battles.