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Firefighters with the Generalitat De Catalyunya now work in hazardous situations with the absolute confidence that their PBI gold Matrix provides first line of defence, protecting them from the rigours of firefighting.


The specialist protective PBI outer fabric is an essential part of the brigade’s Fireflex firefighting suits, manufactured and supplied by Bristol Uniforms, working in partnership with Total Safety.


Generalitat De Catalyunya is the largest fire brigade in Spain with 4,500 firefighters operating from 145 stations. Before awarding the contract for fire suits, the brigade undertook a 12 month process of testing and evaluation in a series of wearer trials using 18 unbranded suits.


Thirty carefully selected firefighters tested the suits throughout the hottest weeks of the year and eleven real life scenarios were created to ensure that every aspect the gear’s performance could be assessed effectively.


The Fireflex suit with PBI gold Matrix emerged as a clear favourite, scoring 43% more than the nearest competitor with the firefighters. The combination of excellent protection from heat and flame, along with strong ergonomics and high levels of comfort stood out from the range of suits on test.


The new suits were introduced in 2017 and after a year in service firefighters have described them as the best suits they’ve ever worn.  They are impressed with the lighter weight and breathability of the garments, which improve comfort levels. As well as the measurably high levels of protection.


As the first line of defence in a fire suit, the outer fabric has a vital role to maintain the integrity of the whole garment and in so doing, keep the firefighter safe.  PBI fabrics are internationally renowned for their high levels of protection, comfort and durability, which is why they are trusted by firefighters all over the world to protect them in the most extreme situations.


PBI Matrix delivers extremely high levels of protection with a durable matrix of high strength para-aramid filaments woven into PBI Gold fabric to enhance its resistance to wear and tear, while at the same time retaining superior flame and heat protection. The result is a fabric that is lightweight and flexible, but incredibly strong and resists dangerous chemicals and acids.  The fabric is designed to provide maximum protection and comfort at a minimum weight.


Like all of the company’s performance fabrics, PBI Matrix will not become brittle, shrink or break open when exposed to flame and high temperatures. This means that the integrity of the internal layers of the garment is protected and the transfer of any radiant heat is slower, allowing more time for firefighters to escape to safety in a situation such as a flashover.  In independent tests where fabrics are exposed to 1000-degree heat, PBI retains its original strength and is still soft and pliable to touch.


The firefighter Generalitat De Catalyunya have total confidence that they have the best protection available and join compatriots from Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Middle East as well as North America and most of Europe for whom PBI is the first for the fireground.