It's Time to Replace Your Safety Gear
Your old fire suit is starting to look a little worn and faded. While you’re rebuilding that car it might be time to rebuild your safety program also. Driving suits, gloves, shoes, seat belts, and head and neck restraints are similar to tires and brake pads. They actually do wear out. Many manufacturers place dates of manufacturing on the items when they are made. This is just a guide and it is up to you to examine and determine if it is time to replace them. Let’s dig a bit deeper to see when and why it’s time to replace your safety gear.
How to tell that your fire suit needs to be replaced:
Suits are made from fire protective materials. These fabrics indeed wear out. Most suits are designed for roughly 100 cycles of service or use. This number is calculated based on the number of times you wear and wash the suit. You will first notice the suit getting softer. This is the first indication that the suit fibers are breaking down and why we do not recommend fabric softeners. Most all brands of laundry detergent have fabric softeners built in. Next, you will notice the seat of your suit and the knees beginning to wear thin. This comes from sliding across the door to get in the seat and working on the car on your knees. While these seem very logical, knees are a high risk burn area and thin knee fabric can be very dangerous. You will also notice the colors beginning to fade. This is because the dye in the fabric is starting to give up. Again, this will usually come from the washing machine or being left in the sun to dry. As the suit gets soft and wears, the areas become thinner and do not provide the level of protection they did when they were new. We, as with most suit builders, recommend replacing the suit every 2-3 seasons to be best protected.
Gloves can usually be visually inspected to determine when it is time to replace. We always look to see if there are any holes in the fabric and seams. Most drivers don’t realize that gloves can be washed. In many cases they will become thick with grease and grime that can actually be flammable. Look closely for tears or rips along the seams and palms.
Shoes are likely the most durable item that you can buy for racing. Our shoes are made from premium top grain leather and genuine nomex. These products combined with the industry leading and only rubber sole give our shoes a huge edge in wearability and durability. Most drivers enjoy 2-4 seasons from a single pair. Of course, this will be determined by the surface you wear them on as well as cleaning and care like all FR products. Again, inspect the seams and where the sole joins the upper to make sure there are no holes, tears or voids. Also make sure the sole has not worn completely through.
Helmet life has been a topic of debate and conversation for many years. Asphalt racers will likely use a helmet much longer than dirt racers. There are a few factors that determine the need to replace a helmet. First and foremost, has the helmet been in a crash? A little known fact about racing helmets: they are designed for ONE impact or crash. Even though we continue to wear them, if you have had impact to the head, you should absolutely send your helmet back to the manufacturer to have it inspected. The foam inside of a helmet is made from a product called EPS. This is a small cell foam that is similar in many ways to Styrofoam, but has much higher energy absorbing properties. When compressed, this foam does not rebound or reinflate. Once the foam is mashed or compressed that area has spent its ability to dissipate energy and possibly injury in that area. Because of this, it is critical to inspect the helmet and likely replace it more often than you would think.
Velocita-USA is your one stop shop, for all things safety. We have what you need in stock and ready to race!
Velocita USA. 7987 Old US Highway 52. Lexington, NC
Velocita USA NE. 114 US Route 11. Central Square, NY
336-764-8502 x 1