Friday, December 14, 2012

Non-FR NWU is Flammable

The U.S. Navy has put out the acknowledgment that the NWU I is not flame resistant, and furthermore will melt and drip while being consumed by fire. What is not clear is why this realization has come to light now given the "impromptu" explanation for recent flame testing. It was noted that the NWU I was not meant to be flame resistant as has been the case with many military uniforms worn by U.S. forces, so it would lead one to believe that something drew the necessity for this testing and possible change is afoot.

In the recent message from the U.S. Navy they note that flame resistant uniforms should be issued if needed for intended duties and that other Sailors should recognize that their uniforms are flammable. The NWU II & III developed by Naval Special Warfare Command also do not have the requirement for flame resistance , except for those that need equipment with FR properties for their specific rate. These uniforms are also made with 50/50 NYCO. 

NWU II & IIIPhotos: US Navy 
The reason given by NAVFAC for the NWU II or III for not having the flame resistant protection is the degradation of performance from the added FR elements, but was not clarified in the recent message concerning the NWU I. These issues have been recognized with the widespread introduction of flame resistant uniforms in the Army for OEF and have been extensively addressed. What is not mentioned concerning the NWU is the current added cost inherent with providing proper flame resistance. There are NYCO fabrics, while not flame resistant, they do provide no melt/no drip properties. However, these could come at an additional cost. 

Flame Testing Results: Clothing and Textile Research Facility 
In the grand scheme of things the Navy clarifies that those that need flame resistant uniforms should have them. The standard NWU I does melt and drip when on fire and this should be recognized by those wearing it, since taking this into consideration must help... The Navy will also be looking into the need for possible improvements on the Uniform given any needs for additional protection. Read the full testing details and corresponding guidance at: Navy Live