The City of Olathe Fire Department has chosen to utilize the photo luminescent and reflective helmet patches developed by FotoLum, Inc.
I have participated in evaluating the effectiveness of the FotoLum product. This evaluation process has included testing the product in a Class A Burn tower, and through actual use by Olathe firefighters. During this testing we evaluated several criteria:
1. Visibility of the helmet patches in dark and smoke filled environments:
This was tested by having three firefighters enter the burn tower to evaluate the illumination characteristics of the helmet patches. The firefighters had on the following: standard reflective helmet patches, GlowFlex helmet patches and FotoLum helmet patches. As the firefighters moved throughout the dark building, only firefighters wearing the FotoLum patches were visible.
2. Will the helmet patches stand up to elevated temperatures:
A fire helmet with a combination of standard reflective patches, GlowFlex patches and the FotoLum patches was placed in the bum room and exposed to fire conditions. The helmet was removed after an approximate temperature exposure of 400 F. Inspection of the patches did not show any visible alteration. The helmet was then returned to the fire room and was exposed to approximately 750 F. At this temperature the structural integrity of the helmet had been affected. All the helmet patches had been charred through resulting in the loss of illuminating characteristics. However, the FotoLum brand helmet patch was the only helmet patch that maintained its reflective characteristics.
As a result of the product testing and personal experience with the FotoLum brand photo luminescent helmet patches and vinyl, I would highly recommend the use of this product. The safety advantages offered by this product exceeds anything currently available.
City of Olathe Fire Department