Did you know that traffic accidents are one of the primary causes of line-of-duty deaths? It seems like each month there’s a new video on YouTube showing an officer speaking with the occupant of a car on the side of a road, and the officer is almost struck by a passing car or is actually injured.
Emergency responders are already under incredible stress to perform their work at the highest caliber, but poor reflective gear is something that can make it even more difficult to remain safe while responding to an emergency situation.
The standards for today’s reflective equipment are created by the American National Standards Institute, which creates nationwide standards for conformity that are designed to ensure an item meets the minimum conditions for proper performance.
An Essential Identifier of Safety Gear & Equipment
In a tense situation that may involve a small crowd and group of law enforcement officers or other emergency responders like firefighters and EMTs, a reflective vest is a police and fire tool that may mean the difference between saving someone’s life and a terrible accident.
When emergency responders and law enforcement wear reflective vests, everyone can immediately identify the emergency workers. Emergency workers can approach the incident easier because it’s easier to part crowds who see workers dressed in highly visible vests.
In addition, reflective equipment also improves safety response in low-light conditions. Knowing they’re highly visible, a police officer can approach a situation with more confidence. Additionally, firefighters can enter low visibility conditions with these essential fireman tools and remain visible to others in the vicinity.
The Basics of Reflective Firefighting Gear
There are three parts to reflective gear that include the background material, reflective material, and combined performance material. For example, the background of a vest might be a fluorescent color like yellow while the white reflective bands that cross the vest use special material to ensure high visibility. Some gear also features combined material that offers high visibility, as well as a very noticeable color.
Further, reflective gear is divided into three different performance classes that help ensure a worker, fireman, or officer is wearing the appropriate level of reflective gear. The first class of gear has only minimal reflective material and isn’t usually used in emergency situations.
The second class of gear greatly boosts visibility with additional reflective gear. Most workers who require some type of reflective gear will need to use, at a minimum, Class 2 gear. The greatest level of visibility comes from Class 3, which is used by emergency crews, traffic control officers, construction workers, and incident response personnel.
Reflective Gear Also Helps Civilians
Items like reflective vests aren’t just appropriate as police and firefighting tools. They’re also helpful for bicyclists. Even if conditions offer good visibility, a reflective vest or other reflective piece of equipment draws the eye to that moving object and helps cyclists avoid traffic accidents and collisions.
Anyone concerned with poor visibility or the possibility of a collision while outside in a public area should investigate reflective clothing. Such clothing is appropriate for professionals serving their communities, as well as for pedestrians and cyclists looking to remain safe on the road.