Navy to phase in flame-resistant coveralls
By Cindy Clayton | The Virginian-Pilot | Published: May 30, 2013
NORFOLK, Va. — The Navy says it will develop flame-resistant coveralls that will offer sailors a more protective alternative to their current highly flammable working uniform.
U.S. Fleet Forces and Pacific Fleet will continue to educate afloat commands on the risks of current uniforms and continue to educate sailors on methods of minimizing the risk of injuries in shipboard fires, according to a Navy announcement.
The service will develop and deliver a hybrid coverall that combines the designs of the current coverall with flame-resistant material used in the current repair-locker coverall. The hybrid can be used as organizational clothing by all sailors, and the current electrical coveralls will continue to be used. The submarine force will continue to use low-lint coveralls sold at the exchange.
The Navy Exchange and Defense Logistics Agency will develop an afloat coverall that is flame-resistant and provides flash arc protection with low lint levels for submarine requirements. The new coveralls will be introduced within the next 36 months.
The announcement was based on the recommendations of a working group looking into the requirements and flame-resistant qualities of fleet uniforms. The Naval Air Systems Command flight deck ensemble and Naval Expeditionary Combat Command fire retardant gear meet safety standards for those environments, the group found. A second working group is looking at the suitability of Type I Navy Working Uniforms at sea.
The group also found that the likelihood of a major fire aboard a ship is low. The uniforms currently used are safe when worn properly under normal conditions.
Newly promoted petty officers stand in formation in thier NYCO uniforms aboard the USS George Washington during a frocking ceremony Dec. 7, 2012. The nylon-and-cotton uniforms worn by sailors on ships and at bases “will burn robustly,” and turn into a “sticky molten material,” according to a test conducted by the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility.
Ramon G. Go/Courtesy of the U.S. Navy