Three of the biggest risks faced by firefighters are disorientation, visibility and accountability (to both individuals and tools). Foxfire® illuminating helmet bands assist firefighters in facing these risks by improving positional orientation, making personnel easy to locate and illuminating search areas. Illuminating grip was designed specifically to handle the heat and rigors of firefighting. It is made of industrial grade high temperature resistant reinforced silicone. It will illuminate it's surroundings for over an hour and will continue to glow for over 17+ hours if fully charge. It can be recharged over and over. It can be charged by any type of light condition however the brighter the light the brighter and longer it will illuminate and glow. Each roll is aprox. 55" which is enough for the center of a large halligan, 6' New York hook or two axe handles.
These revolutionary photoluminescent coatings and products provide illumination for several hours and stay visible in complete darkness for up to 17 hours. These products will charge in just a few minutes from any light source and can be recharged indefinitely. As a result, there is no need for any external battery, electrical, or energy source other than light. Every Foxfire product is designed with safety in mind, as they thoughtfully and deliberately developed products that will keep people safe. Their products have been especially effective for firefighter gear, arming firefighters with necessary visibility tools in the most difficult situations.
PRODUCT REVIEW … FOXFIRE FIREFIGHTER PRODUCTS
I’ve got a lot of catching up to do at home and here…so here’s a post long over due. You folks may remember about a month or so ago (April 5, 2011) I posted about receiving a package from FoxFire. I talked about Rhett (The Fire Critic) and I meeting Zach Green and his team up at FDIC. They (the FoxFire Products) were the talk of the FDIC 2011 exhibit floor!
Zach sent us some of the product and asked us if we would do a “product review” for them. Of course, we were thrilled. After seeing the product first hand at FDIC, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
The Company is actually called MN8 Products . They are a firefighter owned company (which is a HUGE plus for me) who offers energy efficient and eco-friendly products utilizing breakthrough advanced illumination technology.
Their product offerings for the fire safety industry are marketed under the name FoxFire.
FoxFire products utilize an advanced “photo-luminescent” technology that possess the unique capacity to absorb and store light and then release it as a bright luminance in the dark. In fireman terms … it glows in the dark and can be charged quickly by ANY form of light (it doesn’t necessarily need sunlight to charge).
At this time, FoxFire offers 3 products for firefighters…
1.) Helmet bands
2.) Do-it-yourself illuminating epoxy kits
3.) Heavy duty grip wrap
I have all three of their products and have been using them here on the job since their delivery. Pictured on the right (leaning on the bumper from L-R) is our TNT Tool with the do-it-yourself epoxy applied to the handle. Our short (closet) pike pole with the heavy duty grip wrap applied to the shaft. And, pictured on the bumper is my helmet with the FoxFire helmet band.
I LOVE THESE PRODUCTS!
My favorite by far is the Helmet Band.
Most all of us who wear a “traditional” or leather helmet have a band around it to hold a light, wedge etc. That said, most of the bands are usually an old inner tube. That’s what I’ve worn until now and they have always worked fine… plus they’re cheap .. or FREE.
The FoxFire band cost about $20 and it is worth EVERY CENT!
It’s thick, durable and heat resistant.
Plus, it GLOWS IN THE DARK. You have to understand that … it’s not reflective .. it GLOWS. Old style “tetrahedrons” are reflective … they have to have light shinning on them to be reflective. This technology doesn’t need that .. it glows.
It does need light to “charge” but not necessarily sunlight and not a lot of it. Now, direct sunlight is best and with only 30 minutes of exposure, the band will glow for hours. My helmet sits on the dash of the rig. Our bay doors are tinted and kept closed most of the day (not a lot of “direct” sunlight gets to my helmet). The glow will last the entire shift. The pic above was taken in the day time but you can still see how bright the glow is …. it’s AMAZING.
The safety features are worth the money alone. How does a helmet band offer safety?? ACCOUNTABILITY! I stand out like a sore thumb with my helmet on. My crew (or other members on scene) have no problem keeping up with where I am. Even the chief commented on a recent fire how every time I passed a window, he was able to see me!
They also have this type of band available for your SCBA bottle!
There is really nothing I can find wrong with the band. We (Rhett and I) did have a few suggestions as to possible modifications that would give the band more uses and that’s another great thing about MN8 Products and FoxFire … they listen to the people using their product.
Next, let me tell ya about the ” do-it-yourself epoxy kit”. My Firefighter, Todd “Boots” Harris; and I applied the product to two of our tools. Actually, one of the tools (a pick head axe) belonged to our Brothers out at Roanoke County Fire / Rescue Station #1. We chose our TNT tool because we carry and use it a lot. First off, let me say that I use the word or term “epoxy” … FoxFire doesn’t. I use it (or call it that) because one thing is for sure … it’s NOT paint! I learned that lesson well in the application process. Actually, Zach warned me about it prior to my receiving the kit. Let me explain..
There are several “parts” to the kit. The “epoxy” comes in 2 parts … it has to be mixed. DON’T PANIC … they give all the stuff you need. Basically, you’re adding a “hardener”.
That’s one minor downfall to the product. After you mix the product … you only have 30 minutes to apply it. Anything longer than that and it gets rock hard in the container. I recommend doing it off duty .. if ya catch a run … your done.
Like I said, FoxFire provides everything you need to “do-it-yourself”. They even give you materials to clean and prep the tool.
The hardest part is the application. I say the “hardest” but it’s really not difficult. It’s “hard” because we are firemen (and I didn’t listen to Zach). You can’t “paint” this stuff on. You apply it and let it run down the handle or smear or spread the product over the tool. Like a fireman .. we tried to paint..LOL
It only took once to understand what Zach was talking about in the application process. Every tool after the first came out better and better. Now, that said, nothing was wrong with the first. I just wasn’t 100% happy with it’s appearance when dry. It had runs in it. Again, after we realized to spread evenly vs. paint … it worked very well.
FoxFire gives you enough of this epoxy to paint approx 3 tool handles. It can also be used on the heads. It covers metal, wood or fiberglass. They even give you sand to add for extra texture / grip.
Like the helmet band, this epoxy GLOWS IN THE DARK. It not only glows .. it ILLUMINATES ! I liken it to a “glow stick”. Again it needs a minimal charge and doesn’t require direct sun light. With that minimal charge, it will illuminate for an hour and can glow for up to 17 hours.
The illumination from these tools are a huge asset when searching. The glow (illumination) is unbelievable … you have to see it to fully understand. Think about applying this product to the tip of your ladders! How easy would it be to see and find the tip from a smokey roof when it’s glowing? How about the bonnet of your hydrants? Your headlights don’t have to “shine on it” to spot it or make it reflect. Again, this product doesn’t reflect .. it GLOWS. You would be able to spot a hydrant in front of or behind you… regardless of where your headlights are pointing.
This product has SO MANY POSSIBILITIES! Again, the kit will cover approx 3 tools and the cost is right around $100.
Next up is the Heavy Duty Grip Wrap. Now, it even comes in multiple daytime and “glow” colors Picture here isOrange … glows orange, White... available in a blue or green glow, andYellowwhich glows green. The wrap is made of heat resistant, rip-stop silicone. It has a unique surface that allows a firm grip, wet or dry, with or without gloves.
It sticks to itself. They call it “self adheres”. It’s not “sticky” .. it doesn’t have glue on it. It sticks to itself and can be reused over and over.
Like the other FoxFire products, the wrap glows and illuminates. It emits light just as the helmet band and epoxy. It’s sold in individual rolls and costs about $50 per roll.
I HIGHLY RECCOMEND YOU TRY ONE OF OR ALL OF THESE PRODUCTS!
Be warned though .. after you do, you find more and more uses / benefits etc and will be “hooked”. It works that well!
Still unsure? Come see for yourself. Yea …. COME SEE FOR YOURSELF.
I’m going to join Zach and his team this weekend at the Pennsylvania Fire Expo in Lancaster County, Pa. Zach and his FoxFire team will be set up in The Fire Store booth which will be located in the North Hall, booths 817-826. If the set up is like FDIC, Zach will have several tools on hand and a pitch black tent for you to see first hand how well these products work!
Catch me there and I’ll demo it for you myself !
Well, that probably won’t work because Ayrie, FoxFire’s “Illuminating Goddess” will also be there and if you had to pick between me or her showing you the product … you had better pick HER …LOL
All kidding aside, make it out to the Pa. Fire Expo. This will be my first trip up but from everything I’m hearing, it’s a huge and GREAT show to attend. Hopefully, We’ll see you there!
Ok, that it for tonight … I’m on duty, listening in to the Firefighter Netcast Show “Taking it to the Streets”, and still have reports to complete. I’ll check back as soon as I can ….
Until then, Stay Safe and in House!