UNI EN 15614
Forest Fire Protection
The UNI EN 15614 standard provides a generic description of test methods and minimum performance requirements for protective clothing designed to safeguard the body (excluding the head, hands, and feet) during forest and vegetation fires and related activities. The standard also outlines the minimum performance criteria for the materials used and the testing methods for assessing these criteria. It is important to note that these garments do not offer protection during fire entrapment.
Who Should Wear Forest Fire Clothing
Workwear certified according to UNI EN 15614 is intended for use by qualified personnel, such as firefighters, engaged in high-risk operations like forest firefighting. During these operations, individuals are exposed to various hazards, including:
- Burns resulting from exposure to radiant heat;
- Heat strokes;
- Inhalation of toxic substances leading to breathing difficulties;
- The risk of injury from falling weights.
Certification of the clothing is crucial to ensure it provides the necessary protection against these risks.
Scope of Application
Protective clothing conforming to the EN 15614 standard is primarily used by qualified personnel, such as firefighters, for combatting two types of fires: grazing and crown fires.
Grazing fires are the more common type and typically affect the forest understory. They propagate by burning dry grass, bushes, branches, or logs and can spread to meadows or pastures.
Crown fires are less frequent but considerably more dangerous. They spread from treetop to treetop, fuelled by the foliage in both alpine and coastal pine forests.
The battle against vegetation fires primarily occurs during the summer months due to elevated temperatures and resulting dry conditions, which are conducive to fires.
Protective clothing for forest fire protection must possess specific characteristics:
- It should be lightweight to enable extended wear without causing thermal stress.
- The head covering should offer protection for the neck, arms (including wrists), and legs (including ankles).
- The head collar should remain upright when closed.
- If pockets are present, they must feature a protective flap at least 2 cm wider than the pocket opening.
- The outer fabric should be lightweight and single layer (165-220 g/sqm) to allow for agility and reduce thermal stress. Additionally, it may include integrated differentiated protection zones (incorporating one or more layers of thermal barriers or liners).
- The fabric should not melt at temperatures below 260°C.
- The use of supplementary personal protective equipment should not compromise the garment’s protective capabilities.
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