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Gore to reseal seams of turnout gear affected by separation

Jan. 24, 2014, Toronto – Turnout gear fabric maker W.L. Gore & Associates says it will reseal all turnout gear that has been affected by seam-tape separation.

January 24, 2014
By Olivia D'Orazio

Jan. 24, 2014, Toronto – Turnout gear fabric maker W.L. Gore & Associates says it will reseal all turnout gear that has been affected by seam-tape separation.

Gore said in November it discovered that the seam tape was separating in some turnout coats that use its Crosstech Moisture Barrier, its Gore RT7100 Moisture Barrier or its Crosstech Black Moisture Barrier. However, only items that were stored in the original packaging for at least three years were affected.

Gore said it will replace the seam tape in affected products with a new tape that has been tested to withstand the aging process.

“[The remediation program] involves us taking the gear, taking it apart, putting it through the wash and seeing if it needs the repair,” Lon Edelman, Gore’s strategic marketing representative for fire and public safety, said in an interview this week.

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“If it does need repair, we send it to the manufacturer; they’re certified to apply the tape.”

Researchers haven’t yet pinpointed the cause of the phenomenon but, as Gore said in a press release, an interaction between the adhesive in the tape and a component of the gear fabric while in storage causes the tape to pillow, or wrinkle, in the centre of the tape strip. If left for long enough – a minimum of three years – the tape can curl and eventually separate entirely. However, gear that has been stored in open air, has been issued and used, or has been stored in the original packaging for fewer than three years has not been affected.

Gore said gear that has been affected should not be used. To have gear repaired, click here or call 1-800-455-4681. Gore said it will assess the gear based on a survey it will send to customers. If it determines that the gear has been affected, customers will be required to ship the affected gear to Gore; Gore will pay for the shipping expense.

“With all of this, it’s really about firefighter safety,” Edelman said. “When the issue was identified, we wanted to make sure that everyone was covered and that we put the firefighter first.

“We identified an issue with the product and we want to make it right.”

For more information on the safety alert and repair program, click here.