EN 471 - High visibility clothing for professional use

EN 471 pictogrammeInterventions on the road (car accidents, render assistance etc.) are much more frequent than fire interventions. The risk analysis of the brigades demands that the equipment for the interventions is in accordance with the EN ISO 20471:2013. There are two options: to make an EN 469 suit that is also in accordance with EN ISO 20471:2013 or to impose the wearing of an EN ISO 20471:2013 class 2 vest.   

Thanks to his high visibility clothing the firman can work in safe circumstances even when the visibility is less good. 

The principal aim of these garments is to warn car drivers as soon as possible that there is a person on the road. 

The visibility improves when there is a sharp contrast between the garment and the intervention place, for example a yellow intervention suit against the background of a red vehicle. In addition, a complex environment (bad weather, signal lights, road markings, lights of other vehicles, the reflexion of lights on a wet road surface...) makes it even harder for drivers to perceive the presence of a fireman on the road.

EN 471 is based on 2 performance classes: X&Y

X: The surface area of fluorescent and retroreflective materials

To assure a visibility of 360°, the proportion of the compulsory base material has to be 50% (+/- 10%) on the front and the back of the garment. 

 Class 3Class 2
Fluorescent material0,80m²0,50m²
Retroreflective material0,20m²0,13m²

The EN 471 defines 3 fluorescent colours: yellow, orange and red

Couleurs fluorescentesThese fluorescent colours are tested before and after exposure to a defined artificial light source.

Fluorescent materials absorb the non-visible UV of light and adapt the wavelength of the light they reflect. As a consequence this light ends up in the visible part of the spectrum. This phenomenon only produces itself by day. In the dark, the fluorescent yellow behaves as every normal colour. 

Y: Defines the performance of the retroreflective materials

The image explains the principle of retroreflection: the light is reflected to its source.

Retroreflection can be obtained by two optic principles:

  • Billes de verre
    1. The technology of glass beads
  • Technologie micro-prismatique
    2. The microprismatic technology

Photos 3M

Y2 corresponds to the best retroreflection coefficient in cd (lx.m²). Vidal only uses Y2-materials.

EN 471 also defines the minimal demands for colour fastness, dimensional stability, colour fastness to friction and tear strength. In addition the demands for the design are very specific: the position of the fluorescent material (visibility of 360°, fluorescent surface 50% +/- 10% on the front and on the back, around the torso, the sleeves, the legs) and the position of the retroreflective stripings on overalls, jackets, vests, trousers. 

We were the first to put a fire intervention jacket with high visibility on the market. Today we still maintain an advantage particularly in the positioning of the stripings to make them even more effective. Our SIOTEC department has already created and certified hundreds of different models.

Types of stripings

  1. Perforated fluorescent striping - yellow glass beads

    This striping, with a minimum width of 5 cm, only complies for the fluorescent part with the requirements of the EN 471/EN ISO 20471.
    Its retroreflective qualities may not be taken into account for the obtention of the EN 471/EN ISO 20471 norm.

    To improve the breathability of the clothing the striping is perforated. The aim is to prevent excessive warmth from accumalating underneath the striping. This warmth is the cause of burns. Thanks to the perforations it can escape much easier.

  2. Perforated retroreflective striping - triple trim (fluo/silver/fluo)

    This striping has a grey, retroreflective central part with two fluorescent (yellow or orange) bands around it. The yellow colour improves visibility by day whilst the retroreflective silver part reflects the light from the headlights of cars by night.
    This striping can't be used to obtain an EN 471/EN ISO 20471 certification because the retroreflective part isn't wide enough.

    To improve the breathability of the clothes the striping has been perforated. The aim is to prevent excessive damp from accumalating underneath the striping. Thanks to the perforations, the moisture can evaporate more effectively.

  3. Perforated retrotreflective striping - silver glass beads (50 mm)

    This striping with a minimum width of 50 mm takes advantage of glass beads to reflect the light to make the wearer of the suit visible in dangerous circumstances. In accordance with the requirements of the EN 471/EN ISO 20471.

    To improve the breathability of the clothing the striping is perforated. The aim is to prevent excessive warmth from accumalating underneath the striping. This warmth is the cause of burns. Thanks to the perforations it can escape much easier.

  4. Fluorescent striping - yellow glass beads

    This striping, with a minimum width of 5 cm, only complies for the fluorescent part with the requirements of the EN 471/EN ISO 20471.
    Its retroreflective qualities may not be taken into account for the obtention of the EN 471/EN ISO 20471 norm.

  5. Retroreflective striping - silver glass beads (50 mm)

    This striping with a minimum width of 50 mm takes advantage of glass beads to reflect the light to make the wearer of the suit visible in dangerous circumstances. In accordance with the requirements of the EN 471/EN ISO 20471.

  6. Retroreflective striping - yellow prisms

    This is the only striping available on the market that is both yelllow fluorescent and retroreflective on the whole surface. It can be used to manufacture high visibility clothing of the type EN471/EN ISO 20471 class 2 and class 3. The striping takes advantage of micro-prismatic technology to offer a retroreflection that is three times stronger than that of a striping with glass beads in rainy weather. 

  7. Retroreflective striping - prisms

    A new striping with combined characteristics for firemen. It takes advantage of the micro-prismatic technology and offers therefore a reflection that is three times stronger than that of a striping with glass beads in rainy weather. At the same time, the striping presents a better abrasion resistance.

    This striping cannot be used to obtain an EN 471/EN ISO 20471 certification as the fluorescent part doesn't fit within the frame of the standard. The monobloc construction guarantees a good flexibility and more comfort. 

  8. Retroreflective striping - triple trim (fluo/silver/fluo)

    This striping has a grey, retroreflective central part with two fluorescent (yellow or orange) bands around it. The yellow colour improves visibility by day whilst the retroreflective silver part reflects the light from the headlights of cars by night.

    This striping can't be used to obtain an EN 471/EN ISO 20471 certification because the retroreflective part isn't wide enough.

  9. Fluorescent shoulder flap

    The fluorescent matter absorbs the non-visible UV-light that is present in daylight and adapts it to the wavelenght of the light it reflects. Consequently this light ends up in the visible part of the spectre offering a better visibility. 

    This phenomenon only produces itself by daylight, in the dark the fluorescent colour reacts as any 'normal' colour would. 

    To obtain an EN 471 class 2/2 certification there has to be a minimum of 0.50 m² of fluorescent matter present. In addition to the yellow combined striping FTP1200 or the retroreflective grey striping we use a flame retardant fabric that is in accordance with the demands of the EN 471 (fluo-part). The front flap can be fixed with Velcro or loops and can also be personalized.