When it comes to battling fires, nothing is more critical for firefighters' safety than their protective equipment — and gloves are one of the most important pieces of defensive gear. As firefighters enter areas with fires, they encounter intense heat and rough surfaces. Therefore, firefighting gloves should protect from flames and sharp edges while allowing dexterity and flexibility.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets requirements, including size standards, for firefighter glove manufacturers. These standards ensure gloves can withstand the harsh conditions of firefighting jobs. By following the guidelines, firefighters can measure for the best-fitting gloves.
Here's an overview of glove standards and how to measure your hands for firefighter gloves.
Updates to the NFPA Standard for Firefighter Gloves
In 2018, the NFPA updated the standards for fire glove manufacturing. The changes established better protection for firefighters' gloves and changed sizing standards for glove fits. These are some of the major changes to NFPA 1971:
- More protection for the back of the hand: Many injuries can occur to the back of the hand, including burns. The 2018 update increased the minimum amount of thermal protection in gloves, giving more protection to hands.
- Addition of a water barrier: The update mandated that gloves are water-resistant. In addition, they should resist pathogens and viruses for up to an hour.
- Updated sizing guidelines: In a large change, the NFPA changed the sizing scale for structural firefighter glove sizes to one more similar to the military scale. The glove sizes are now based on finger length and hand width instead of hand circumference. While it used to be a standard small to extra-large scale, the update made it a range of numeric sizes from 64 to 82. The numbers correspond to the millimeter length of the index finger. Each size is now available in normal, wide or extra-wide, which correlates with hand width.
These updates caused manufacturers to alter their glove designs. Because of the amended dimensions, the guidelines also updated the process of measuring hands for gloves.
How to Measure Your Hands for Structural Firefighter Gloves
The NFPA designated more specific fits for firefighters with the new sizing guidelines. By taking specific measurements of hand width and finger length, firefighters can choose gloves that fit snugly on their hands. The previous range of small to large sizes was broader and didn't provide specific wear for workers. With the new sizing guide for firefighter gloves, you can find gloves for a personalized fit.
These are the measurements the NFPA recommends to take to determine which new size suits you best:
- Measure your index finger from the tip to the base. Record it to the nearest millimeter.
- Record the breadth of your hand by measuring the length of your knuckles.
- Lastly, the NFPA provides a firefighter glove sizing chart where you can plot your two measurements to see the best fit for you. Line up your two figures with the according spot.
Once you find the closest size, try the gloves on before making the final choice. Even the most accurate measurements can't tell how the pair will feel when they're on your hands. If you test the glove size from the chart and find it's too loose or tight, try one of the nearby measurements.
To find the best fit, look for these elements when trying on gloves:
- Dexterity: This is the ability to grab something easily with your hands or fingers. For firefighters, it could mean clutching a rope, pole or ax. Make sure your gloves allow you to pick things up comfortably without excess folds in the material. Also, test for fingertip dexterity — try changing a radio station or unlocking your mobile phone with the gloves.
- Grip: The other important element is glove grip. Some gloves have lined interiors that reduce the ability to grasp firmly. If your hand can slide around in the glove, your grip probably isn't as capable. Test your grip by grabbing onto nearby surfaces or objects and see how the gloves accommodate the movement.
Measuring for Structural Firefighting Gloves by INNOTEX®
INNOTEX gloves offer strong protection for firefighters. Designed according to the 2018 NFPA standards, INNOTEX gloves allow dexterity and flexibility while on the job. A thick elastic band for the wrist prevents debris from reaching your hands and ensures the gloves stay in place during action. The intentional stitching enhances dexterity, giving firefighters easy movement and grip.
Because INNOTEX glove sizing follows 2018 NFPA sizing guidelines, you can follow the NFPA sizing guidelines for all INNOTEX gloves. INNOTEX also created a sizing worksheet — which you can download here — that guides you through the process. It depicts a true-to-size hand that you can place your fingers on for measurement. INNOTEX gloves are available in all the NFPA designated sizes, so you're sure to find the size you need.
Bunker Gear Specialists carries the INNOTEX 885S Structural Firefighting Glove to purchase online. One of INNOTEX's leading glove options, the INNOTEX 885S provides flexibility and durability for your gloves. Here are more of its premier features:
- Full coverage with fourchettes: Exclusive to the INNOTEX brand, specially designed fourchettes cover the glove from finger to cuff. These provide extreme protection and easy movement for your fingers.
- Kangaroo shell: This material is lightweight but extremely durable. It protects your hands in the field while not feeling overly heavy.
Measuring for Structural Firefighting Gloves by HexArmor®
HexArmor gloves are another great option for firefighting gloves. Also made by the 2018 NFPA standards, HexArmor gloves afford strong defense against harsh flames while also giving flexibility. These gloves use high-quality materials to ensure protection against falling debris and other dangers.
To measure your hands for HexArmor gloves, you can use the standard measuring system from the NFPA. HexArmor glove sizing uses the same chart. Simply measure your index finger length and hand width. Then, find the accompanying size on their chart.
At Bunker Gear Specialists, we offer two styles of HexArmor gloves:
- HEXARMOR SR-X 8180 Structural Firefighting Gloves: The SR-X gloves feature extended gauntlets, temperature resistance up to 360 degrees, easy laundering capabilities and premier materials like Kevlar® and Nomex® for durability.
- HEXARMOR HI-VIS 4012 Extrication Rescue Gloves: The HI-VIS 4012 gloves present bright colors, ensuring high visibility while in the field. They also have an impact design on the back, cut-resistant fabric, elastic wrist closures and easy washing capabilities.
Shop Firefighting Gloves Online
Bunker Gear Specialists has provided high-quality firefighting equipment for over 20 years. It's our passion to offer cost-effective, highly protective gear to our customers. We understand the necessity of proper protection and work hard to deliver.