Impact SFI-15 and SFI-20 Firesuit Fail SFI Testing

Discussion in 'System One Pit Buzz' started by Richard Putz, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. Richard Putz

    Richard Putz Top Alcohol Dragster

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    This letter is based on facts and I am writing it to hopefully save anyone from incurring great bodily harm in the event of a fire. A lot of speculation has been going around concerning the saftey of the Impact suit. Impact owner Bill Simpson states in his press release (quote) " There Is Not A Question As To The Safty,Dependability And Quality Of Your Fire Suit Or Drag Boot". (end quote). This is not an accurate statement as Impact was notified that an SFI-15 and a SFI-20 suit failed to meet the proper SFI Specs. Judge for your self if you would trust your life to wearing Impact products after reading this letter. I recieved an SFI-15 suit from Impact in early 2008. When the suit arrived it seemed awful thin and I questioned weather it was safe and would meet SFI specs, so I called Impact and they assured me it was fine as they said the new lightweight materials make it possible to make the suits thinner and lighter. Being reassured of its safety I raced a Top Alcohol Dragster for half of a season until july. I than had a month off of racing and decided to send my suit back to Impact as I was still questioning the suits fire retardant ability. Impact said they would cut the suit open and check the construction and layers of the suit. Several days later they called me back and said the suit checked out OK and was being sent back to me. I than wore the suit the rest of the season. At the end of 2008 I decided to have it checked by SFI and the suit did not meet SFI specs. Impact claims to be dedicated to keeping racers safe, but I feel if Bill Simpson wanted to do this he would have the decency to step up and admit the mistakes made and put out a full blown attempt to contact all suit owners by calling them and also putting a full page ad in National Dragster and having NHRA put out a press release. But instead he seems to have a strong hold over NHRA and SFI because no one is saying anything and everyone is trying to keep this as low keyed as possible. This tells me a lot about Bill Simpson as a person. He does the opposite as he claims in his portfolio. It seems to me he would rather take the chance of someone being hurt in a fire because of a defective product he put out , ( TWICE IN MY CASE ) than to hurt his reputation and do the right thing to make sure all of the suits get taken out of use immediatly. Impact says on there web site 36 suits that were sent in met the required specs, Implying to me that there is not a problem. Why don't they tell everyone about the number of suits that are sent to them and not meeting SFI certification standards and also about the suits that are sitting at the SFI testing lab that failed like mine and will never be returned to me and nothing being done or said about it. I am very disappointed with the way Impact,SFI and NHRA have reacted to this situation. I look at most of the people we race with as family and will do what ever I feel is necessary to keep them informed and protected. I am sure some people will scrutinize me for this article, but just put yourself in my shoes or pretend your wife,husband or child had purchased this suit and was in a severe fire and got hurt or killed because of Impacts lack of responsibility. Remember this suit was checked and sent out " Not Once But Twice ". A Funny Car driver with an SFI-20 suit has had a simular experience to mine and hopefully will come on line to share his story. I personally would never buy anything from Impact again as they have proved to me over and over again that there product is not safe and they are not trust worthy. It would be nice for a change if everyone that responds to this article would use there real names as I have. I apologize for the lengthiness of this letter. Top Alcohol Dragster Div.5 Richard Putz
     
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  2. jim phillips

    jim phillips ta/fc

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    i have to say youve got balls for speaking up i drive alky f/c and still use my real old -20 suit that wont recert to a-20 but i trust it i dont look foward to finding out how good it is and hope i never do in regards to impact suits and co. rights right and wrongs wrong step up and do the right thing if one suit got out of there that wont pass there is others and not just one recall them all and find out for sure
     
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  3. East Coast Guy

    East Coast Guy New Member

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    interesting reading, makes me wonder even more why he left simpson safety after dale earnhardt died.....
     
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  4. Dave Germain

    Dave Germain New Member

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    Guts

    Richard, I want to be one of the first to say that I am impressed with your letter. I have always appreciated straight no BS talk and in this case with safety equipment it really is appreciated. Now I have another question though- Does Bill Simpson hate drag racers? We are the only ones who wear the heavy suits. I bet he wouldn't get cheesy with the Indy guys. I don't believe he was a drag racer and from his conduct apparently our safety doesn't mean anything to him? Thank god I haven't had a fire that needed his equipment to protect me. Dave Germain
     
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  5. 23/cobrajet/tee

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    Saftey

    Thanks for posting your letter. When life and limb are at stake we need to tell it like it is.
    Ken
     
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  6. DMP Awnings

    DMP Awnings Authorized Merchant

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    Impact

    I would like to thank Rich for bringing this to light, We have purchased 3 new 2008 light weight suits and they are back at Impact now and I will post on here when we get them back!
    My question is if they re-tag them 2009 and do nothing else, are they the real thing or are they only as good as a -5 suit ??? I have known Rich for many years and done biz. With him and he is an outstanding person. So for him to go through all the bull s**t that he has to get this going is outstanding. To Mr. Dave Germain, I also purchased boots and they are the thin ones and they are also back at Impact, I will keep you posted on that also. We spent over $7800.00 on the suits boots and 2-helmets last year and why is there not a mandatory recall by NHRA ?? Or SFI ??. Thank You Guys. Dean Dubbin
     
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  7. john348

    john348 Top Alcohol

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    I questioned NHRA and SFI about my suit (06) but was told only the 2008 are effected, now my boots i bought just last year and questioned Impact when i bought/received them how thin they were, i got the standard answer "new lighter weight materials" yada yada yada, then Sfi checked boots and they were too thin which is why i was told by SFI that the suit issue came to light as they started checking suits also.
    Seem I was told that Impact "lost control" of their business sometime in 08 by one of them and they had to check all suits in that time frame.

    My new boots that replaced my "thin" but "ok" boots are more like my old Simpsons thick and feel better.

    Maybe i should not have said this but this is some of what i know about it.
     
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  8. Teresa Carr

    Teresa Carr New Member

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    Thanks for info

    Rich,

    Thank you so much for the information regarding your Suit from Impact. Thank goodness you didn't have to have an incident to find out that your suit was to thin.
    I've been wanting a one piece suit and your information is definately helpful.

    Why wouldn't NHRA & SFI make a public announcement or at least make Impact recall all suits made during the time in question and then have an independent firm examine the suits for safety??
     
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  9. East Coast Guy

    East Coast Guy New Member

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    teresa,

    that's the million dollar question, will it ever be answered? :mad:

    tim steed
     
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  10. carguyleroy

    carguyleroy New Member

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    proof is in the pudding

    this last weekend in Bakerfield a best friend of mine experienced an "average" ball of fire when the Funny Car he was driving decided to spit out a few rods. His immediate quote was "Im sure glad this was just a small fire". Shortley there after, he examined his Impact fire suit he had paid $2400 for just last September. First thing was, the zippers in his boots were literally burn out of the boot. The material housing the zipper itself had burned completely away. Next, on the rear of both pant legs, both underarms, and especially at the rear neck area, sustantial amouts of material had burned away. Upon closer inspection, the material in the rear neck area was only one layer thick !!!!!!!!!!! Yes, the gloves too were destroyed. We both agreed that for whatever reason, this particular suit was not up to par. So, today he called Impact Racing and spoke to a gentleman there who, after listening to the above, asked if my friend had been burned???? Learning he only had a few "red spots", stated "well the suit did its job" do u want to order another ?????? We all know what the answer to that was !!! Does Bill Simpson know about the "real" quality of the suits being sold with his name on them ??????? If he dont, its time !!!!!!!!!!!! I will NEVER EVER own another piece of Impact equipment and I will NEVER let any of my friends own any either !!! THEY JUST DONT CARE !!!
     
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  11. promodracer

    promodracer Member

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    impact

    Good to know
    I was going to purchase his belts...
    Not any more.
     
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  12. backmotor

    backmotor Owner/Crewchief/Test Pilot

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    Dang, I always trusted their stuff, but after hearing all this, when my recerts come due, I'm gonna switch brands :eek:
     
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  13. Richard Putz

    Richard Putz Top Alcohol Dragster

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    carguyleroy, could you or your friend that had the fire give me a call. thanks Richard Putz. phone 563-875-7528 Earlville, Iowa
     
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  14. blown375

    blown375 New Member

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    WOW!
    Rich , I respect that you had the guts to post that! I race a dragster and the rules say i need only need a 15 suit but I use a sfi 20 Stroud suit thats like wearing a heavy blanket. I have had people question me why I don't buy one of the new lightweight suits and I tell them I don't trust them! Now I'm glad that I havent been wearing that heavy suit for nothing!

    Impact needs to step up to the plate! It may cost them a bunch of money to recall those suits but is it worth someone getting severely burned or killed to save some money? And if it is a money issue, Does impact think the recall will be more expensive than the law suit when someone does get severely injured?
     
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  15. eli

    eli Banned

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    Class action law suite

    Start a class action law suite, naming SFI, NHRA, IMPACT, and the top man in each of them company's, and you will see how fast some thing gets done, and buy all your safety equipment from Dennis Taylor, he's a racer and he uses his own stuff so it must be good. :) Two words, Denny Crane! ;)
     
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    Last edited: Mar 11, 2009
  16. MaineAlkyFan

    MaineAlkyFan Member

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    Opinion From the Outside

    Out of concern for his safety, I sent a link to this thread to a friend (Dave Patten) who road races SCCA. He brought up another interesting point...


    Posted by Chris Saulnier
     
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  17. eli

    eli Banned

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    OH MY GOD, Some one other than me, see's the conspiracy theory in all the "bullshit" rules, I started to see a pattern in 1980, thats when i quit spending my money on racing, and started golfing and fly fishing. I make my own clubs and bamboo fly rods and no one tells me i cant use them. some one tell me how a titanium clutch can goes bad??? :rolleyes::rolleyes:
     
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  18. mbaker3

    mbaker3 New Member

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    The "tit" in the titanium starts sagging, needing stronger supports. :D:D
     
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  19. john348

    john348 Top Alcohol

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    My 1 year bra just cost me 300 bucks what a crock
     
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  20. hotrod796

    hotrod796 New Member

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    Even though I've spent the last 12 years as a firefighter I can say that getting burnt scares the heck out of me (I've been very close but God willing I will never get any closer). Hopefully no one gets injured seriously before this situation is resolved.

    A couple of thoughts I've had on this situation are: Have you ever seen a firefighter wearing a "light" set of bunker gear? We just bought new gear for our department of 330 firefighters. While comfort and mobility were important during the testing process, no one was willing to push the edge of safety in the name of "light". We don't have to fit into a confining cockpit but we do have to be able to fit through a 14" wide and 20" tall rectangle in the wall if our egress is cut off and we're able to do so even without "light" gear.

    It's seems that most racers are underinformed about SFI testing of suits. SFI doesn't test suits, they test swatches of fabric as they will be assembled in the suit. The rating given to the suit is based on the amount of time that it takes for the heat to transfer through the suit in sufficient quantity to cause second degree burns. Design of the rest of the suit is left to the manufacturer's discretion. From the SFI website, "The patch demonstrates that the manufacturer certifies the suit to meet or exceed the SFI specification."

    When I bought my funny car there was no question that I would buy my firesuit from Bruce Bowler at Phoenix Custom Apparel. I spent a couple of seasons working on Bruce's A/Fuel car which was housed in the same facility he uses to construct all of his suits and it allowed me to get an inside look at how things are done there. This isn't in China by the way, it's in Colorado. While I consider Bruce a friend I wouldn't recommend his stuff, and I certainly wouldn't trust my life to it, just because he's a good guy. He's been a racer, he's lost friends in racing and he wants to make sure he doesn't lose any more. His suits aren't "light" but they do work. He'll even show you a suit in the showroom that is severely burned on the outside and unscathed on the inside with the suit cut open so you can see everything in between.

    I highly recommend calling Bruce or Eric Cody at 888.215.6090 or Dennis Taylor at 800.320.2988 if you're in need of a suit. Sorry if this comes off like a commercial but it's important.
     
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