The development of Polybenzimidazole (PMI) in the 1950s allowed NASA to provide flame and temperature-resistant materials to protect astronauts on space missions. And what was good for astronauts has been great for firefighters:
- PMI suits are fireproof and retain their original flexibility and tensile strength even when exposed to direct flame.
- They are durable and abrasion resistant.
- PMI materials also resist mildew and can stand up to most chemical spills for an extended period of time.
PMI suits remain the industry standard for firefighters in many areas. The development of new polymers will likely further improve the protection afforded to these first responders in the future.