Hi-Vis Police Gear


Hi-Vis Police Gear 

    Police officers and other public safety professionals face dangerous, low-light situations on a daily basis. Whether you are performing a highway traffic stop or working street patrol on a rainy day, your safety must be a top priority. High visibility jackets and reflective safety vests keep officers easily identifiable in dangerous situations. When choosing a safety vest or jacket, it is important to check if the garment is ANSI/ISEA certified and features ample reflective trim. There are multiple different standards, classifications, and features that you should consider before purchasing your high visibility gear. 

ANSI Standards for High Visibility Outerwear and Vests 

    ANSI 107-2010 sets the standards for high visibility apparel and headwear using classifications for background material, retroreflective material, and combined performance material. ANSI 107 has three performance classifications for apparel – Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3.  Class 1 is intended for workers in off-road locations and Class 2 and 3 are both applicable to workers in the roadway and are suitable for use by emergency responders. Class 2 apparel features a minimum of 775 squareinches background materials and 201 square inches in retroreflective materials. ANSI 107 Class 3 outerwear features a minimum of 1240 square inchesin background materials and 310 square inches in retroreflective materials. All of our jackets meet at least ANSI 107 Class 2 standards, featuring quality hi-vis materials and retroreflective trim.  

    ANSI 207 is the standard for high-visibility public safety vests worn by first responders. Like ANSI 107 standards set for other apparel and outerwear, ANSI 207 specifies the minimum performance and design requirements for police and first responder safety vests. These standards ensure ample visibility to moving vehicles and also are designed to minimize interference with duty and gun belts – which was a frequently registered complaint from wearers of prior public safety vests certified to past standards. ANSI 207 vests are required to have at least 201 square inches of retro-reflective material and 450 square inches of hi-vis background fabric. ANSI also requires that high visibility vests have a breakaway design so that public safety workers can quickly remove the vest in the event of an emergency. 

The Importance of Quality Materials and Garment Design 

    When purchasing a high visibility vest or jacket, choose one made with quality materials that hold up to washes. Both the background fabric and retroreflective trim or striping are crucial to remaining fully visible in low-light conditions. Background fabrics are typically made with hi-vis yellow polyester or nylon material. For striping and trim, trusted, high-performance retroreflective materials include SCOTCHLITE, Oralite, and illumiNITE. Retroreflective materials utilize glass bead and microprism technologies to reflect light directly back to its source, such as headlights, to keep you illuminated. When combined with a durable background material, retroreflective material provides superior protection and visibility in low-light, dawn, or dusk.  

    The design, closure, and extra features of your hi visibility vest or jacket are just as important as the hi-vis material and retroreflective trim or striping. A poorly designed safety vest with an improper fit or closure can significantly impair the wearer in high-intensity, emergency situations. According to ANSI 207, safety vests must have a breakaway design that allows the wearer to rip off the vest. Depending on your preference or your department’s uniform requirements, you may choose an ANSI 207 certified vest with a zip-front breakaway design or a standard breakaway vest that comes apart at the shoulders and waist. Public safety vests should fit an officer’s needs with important features like microphone tabs, small pockets, and accommodation for lettering across the front and rear of the garment. For high visibility jackets and other outerwear, important design components to consider are raglan sleeves for increased range of motion, a drop shoulder design, and ample internal and external pockets to store your gear. 

Hi Vis Jackets and Vests Are Not the Ultimate Keys to Safety 

    High visibility vests and outerwear are constantly being improved and altered to meet the needs of those who work in law enforcement. New regulations and advances in technology allow high visibility vests to adapt to tactical or emergency situations by simply ripping the garment off. Reversible hi vis jackets allow officer to switch from a safety hi-vis yellow side to the traditional black or navy police jacket depending on the situation. 

    While hi-vis yellow vests and outerwear may not be the most attractive clothing items a police or public safety officer may wear, they have proven their reliability and protection by saving lives in the line of duty. Countless officers have been tragically struck by vehicles during routine traffic stops or in the roadway. Wearing safety gear is not going to provide ultimate protection and won’t stop vehicles in their path. But, when combined with heightened vigilance and awareness of your surroundings your vest or jacket will certainly keep you more protected than the traditional dark police uniform in low-light conditions. 

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