In Kuwait, Kuwait, and neighboring Saudi Arabia, firefighters are being trained to use what they call “fire fighting suits” that are made from foam insulation and fire retardant.
In addition to protecting their hands and clothing from smoke inhalation, these fire suits are able to protect the skin and joints from heat and smoke from the flames.
These suits have also been shown to reduce heat damage and help firefighters stay cool.
In the United States, the Department of Defense has awarded contracts worth up to $1.7 billion to 23 companies for the firefighting suits.
In December, the department awarded a $1 million grant to a California company for a pair of suits made by Thermo Fisher-Price.
A year ago, the Air Force awarded $600,000 for firefighting suit development and a $2 million grant for firefighter training.
“We have to make sure we are keeping up with the times,” says Colonel David Cramer, deputy commander of the United Arab Emirates Civil Protection Corps.
“And when we’re ready, we’ll be ready.”