Following its November 2013 Product Safety Alert for firefighter turnout gear, W. L. Gore & Associates has worked with fire departments, dealers, and manufacturers throughout North America to assess and reseal, as necessary, the seams of turnouts with Gore moisture barriers. In the first two months since the Alert, Gore has successfully remediated both stored and worn gear for metropolitan and volunteer departments that enrolled early-on in the remediation program. Industry response has been positive to Gore’s remediation program, and Gore will continue to collaborate with all responding departments on potentially affected gear.
In conjunction with the remediation program, Gore has developed a new GORE-SEAM tape. This new tape is unaffected by storage interactions, and it eliminates the need for new gear to be stored in open air. Turnout gear manufacturers are working to rapidly incorporate the new tape into their products utilizing Gore moisture barriers. Already, at least four manufacturers expect to complete certification near the end of January and to change production lines over to the new tape soon thereafter.
In the original Alert, Gore described potential interactions between the seam tape adhesive of fire-industry moisture barriers and other gear components when the turnout gear had been stored in its original packaging for three or more years. These interactions could result in sealed seams in the turnout gear that are no longer compliant to NFPA 1971. To address these concerns, Gore included in the Alert inspection instructions to determine if turnout gear utilizing Gore barriers was potentially affected; they also included storage instructions for unaffected gear. At the same time, Gore announced a remediation program and enrollment instructions for departments with potentially affected turnout gear containing Gore moisture barriers. To review the original firefighter Product Safety Alert and related FAQs, please visit www.GoreProtectiveFabrics.com/FirefighterProductSafetyAlert. To enroll in the remediation program, please call 1-800-455-4681.