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GAIKER-IK4 develops intelligent protective uniforms for rescue teams

The garments are security barrier between the users and the hazardous sources, being fire-proof, self-cleaning, water-proof and antimicrobial

2010/10/25  
The clothes we wear act as a barrier for a potential source of injury. In the case of rescue teams, the characteristics of their garments or uniforms are crucial for their security while influencing the degree of the injuries they may suffer while assisting in accidents and other emergency operations. Fires, floods, earthquakes, rescues at sea o in the mountains... their daily working conditions are complex and risky, meanwhile the difficulties they face are growing as a result of technological developments or chemical risks, among other factors.

The goal of the European Project, SAFEPROTEX, launched in April, is to improve the properties of the apparel currently used by rescue teams. During the next 3 years, the 19 participants of this R&D project, led by the Greek textile R&D Centre, Clotefi, will develop 3 different prototypes. With a budget of 4.2 million euros, they will prepare 1 generic prototype, suitable for any type of risk, and two specific prototypes: one for extreme weather and one for open fires. These prototypes will be tested in actual emergency situations by two rescue teams (Salvamento y Acción de Rescate -SAR, and Rescue Greece), both participate in the project as experts and consultants experienced in the recent disasters in Haiti or Pakistan.

The foundational idea of this project is to create innovative solutions to address the major current limitations of protective garments for rescue operations and emergency risks which can be very varied. For example, cleaning tasks after a flood, in addition to the obvious dangers, has other added hazards arising from sewage waters, household chemicals, petroleum products, hazardous industrial chemicals, pesticides and flammable liquids.
 
Thus, the requirements that these new garments should consider cover a very wide range. These garments must be fireproof, waterproof, self-cleaning with sunlight or rain water, antimicrobial and the fabric should be a good electricity conductor to avoid accumulation of static electricity. These teams will also assess its comfortability, to avoid the rejection that such garments often produce in users, as well as increasing their life span, which is desirable due to the high cost of these garments.

The work of GAIKER-IK4 in the framework of the SAFEPROTEX project will focus mainly on its early phase. GAIKER-IK4 will concentrate on nanoadditives processing for the new material, to tailor the future garments with the help of experts in the other involved fields (spinning, design, tailoring...).

 
info:  Clara Bilbao,  bilbaoc@gaiker.es

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