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Trends in Public Safety Apparel

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 56 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2008 Pages: 46,48-50,52
Jennifer Gavigan
Date Published
September 2008
5 pages
The American National Standards Institute and the International Safety Equipment Association (ANSI/ISEA) has set a new American National Standard for High-visibility Public Safety Vests (ANSI/ISEA 207-2006) that establishes design, performance specifications, and use criteria for highly visible vests used by public safety industries.
The primary feature of this standard is the requirement that fluorescent background material falls between ANSI 107 Class 1 and ANSI 107 Class 2. This difference allows for design accommodation of equipment belts. A lesser background-area requirement allows for short design that gives tactical access to belts. The new standard also allows for design flexibility for incorporating colored panels that increase the ease of on-scene identification of wearers, as well as other options such as shoulder breakaways. The new design standard includes basic requirements such as vest dimensions, color, and materials performance, as well as criteria for special features in performing fire, emergency medical, and law enforcement services. In addition, the new standard includes the means to identify public safety personnel by specific color markings for each type of agency. The standard has also been updated to reflect the state-of-the-art in fabrics technology and design. This article also describes some of the new trends in public safety apparel that comply with the latest Federal standards. This encompasses Classes 1, 2, and 3 garments, which provides increasing visibility based on the nature of the work being done. The article also describes the Maryland State Highway Administration‘s policy, which incorporates high-visibility material into primary apparel and offers choices to workers. In addition, the article describes features of the Dickies’ line of hi-viz workwear. Separate sections of the article address odor control; zero odor; and X-STATIC apparel created by Noble Biomaterials, Inc., which has a layer of pure silver bonded to the surface of the textile fiber.