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My department seems to have a lot of issues with the Mustang Ice Commander suits leaking from the zipper. Does anyone else seem to be having this problem? I’m leaning more towards that fact that either the zippers aren’t being lubed therefore making it harder for the teeth to engage or the fact that they are always rolled back up and stowed as per factory instructions back in their original bags. The suits on an average drill night see 2-3 firefighters rotating in and out of them and probably 6 drills during the winter months.

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I am an Ice Rescue Instructor and was at FDIC last year and learned in a class on Ice And Water Rescue that we should NOT follow the directions on the bags for storing the suits. They said to place the suits face down as opposed to face up and to start at the feet and roll the suits up toward the head. Then you fold the arms over the roll last. This way it puts a more gentle bend on the arms as opposed to a sharp crease. You need to be sure and wax the zippers appropriately too. Do not use any type of lube on them. Is it leaking from the zippers or the seam by the zippers? The Mustangs usually have a lot less problems then the Stearns Driflex suits which are notorious for leaks at the seam where the boot and leg come together. Another thing we do is keep our suits unrolled during the off season. We store them flat, this way they are not constantly rolled up for the entire year, year after year.
Hi Steve, We had one of the mustange ice commander suits, and if failed during an actual rescue last spring. not only did it leak around the zipper it ripped on the ice. The suit was in the hanging position in our rescue unit per instructions and was inspected monthly. I will never recommend to any of my brothers or sisters in the fire service to buy another one of these, if any equipment fails during a time when needed we won't use nor recommed for use it. We now use sterns gumby suits and won't look back. However, this is our choice and leave it up to other fire department's and their policies.
Lifesaving Resources Inc. (lifesaving.com) develops and conducts Ice Rescue training programs, along with Water Rescue, Swiftwater Rescue, Lifeguarding, and Aquatics Safety training programs. Each year, we conduct an annual Ice Rescue Train-the-Trainer Academy, along with a number of Technician level courses. That is in addition to the numerous Awareness, Operations, and Technician level courses conducted by our over 300 instructors throughout the United States and parts of Canada.

Prior to 2005, our Technician level course participants used primarily the Stearns Neopreme Ice Rescue Suits. In 2006, Stearns released the Dryflex Suit. However, we experienced a high number of suit failures with that design; whereas, we've had very few problems with the Mustang Ice Commander suits.

Like with any other rescue and personal protective equipment, the Mustang Suit was be properly maintained, cleaned and stored. I can tell you that we currently have 18 Mustang Ice Commanders in our training closet and we have not had any significant problems during the conduct of our training programs.

On January 23, we conducted our first technician level course of the season and 7 of our Mustang suits were used during the training. The only issue we had is that a glove of one of the suits experienced a pin-prick h*** while on the ice. We quickly corrected that problem with a dab of aqua-seal.

This Saturday, February 06, we have a large class of 29 technician level candidates coming to participate and we will be using 13 of our suits. We've carefully inspected all our suits and do not expect to have any issues.

Last year, during the conduct of our annual Ice Rescue Train-the-Trainer Academy, our instructor candidates spent 2 1/2 days on and through the ice. The majority of them were using Mustang Ice Commander suits and we didn't have any issues with those suits, whatsoever.

In our experience, of all the ice rescue suits currently available, we've found the Mustang products to have the highest quality control and customer service.

Gerald M. Dworkin
Consultant
Aquatics Safety & Water Rescue
LIFESAVING RESOURCES INC.
http://www.lifesaving.com
P.O. Box 905
Harrisville, New Hampshire 03450
603.827.4139 • admin@lifesaving.com
Thanks to all who have replied. I am currently working on finding an area where we can hang the suits year round yet still be protected from accidental harm. I also put a call in to Mustang and am awaiting follow up information from them. I found their customer service to be very knowledgeable and outgoing. When the information is sent to me I will share it with you. Thanks again. Stay safe
Do the Suits you Are using have the Plastic Zipper if so its Junk we have used Mustang suits for years with just some minor issues last year we found that the suits we had purchased the year before were leaking at the zipper Mustang told us they would look at the suit for 150 and if the zipper was bad it was another 230 and they would put another Plastic Zipper in it, So for 2/3's the cost of a new suit they would put the same poor designed zipper back in.
Several were leaking last year Saturday one of our Firefighters was zipping one and the zipper blew out then on Wednesday we had another leaking at the zipper. So now we have better luck with old suits then some that are 2-3 years old.
Mustang no longer sells this style zipper because it is junk we have gotten there new style and it seems much better but we also have started with some Drifex Sterns suits they have seamed to have worked the bugs out.
would suggest that if you have the plastic zipper see if your dealer has any pull with them to do something for you
Had Two more with the Plastic zippers fail today including one where the Trainee was IN THE WATER Thankfully he had not burped his suit so there was still some extra air in the top of his Suit so when the bottom filled with water he did not sink like a rock.
In our area we are pulling them from service as Defective and Dangerous. This is taking 50% of some area dept. suits out of service.
Several of our Ice Rescue Instructors have expressed concern about leaking suits. It appears the problem is only with those Mustang Suits manufactured with a plastic zipper. We have attempted to communicate this problem to Mustang, but have not yet heard back from them.

We suggest anyone experiencing this problem should deal directly with Mustang Survival Customer Service.

Gerry Dworkin
LIFESAVING RESOURCES INC.
www.lifesaving.com
P.O. Box 905 (71 Main St.)
Harrisville, NH 03450
Im not sure how you store the suits. However you should NEVER store the suits hanging as the weight will pull the seems apart. The wax that you use on the zipper will also matter. The wax should be applied before zipping up and after each use. If you have the ZIP-LOCK stlye zipper you have to use the lube not wax.

Last but not least the suits were not meant for hours of training and abuse. I find many say (Blame) the zipper when in fact the water is coming through the neck.

We have been using the Ice Commander for years. However last year we got a deal on the Stearns cold water suit and I will say there is a reason why it was a deal. They are for training only.

We dont use a PFD with our suits unless its a dry suit being used. Too much floatation makes for a hard swim.

WBenner
PCFES
Ont Canada
Thank you for your input. I would have to disagree with the hanging of the suits though. I have had better luck so far hanging the suits (as long as they are not exposed to the elements) instead of rolling them up and storing them in bags. I personally believe that rolling them up each time works the zippers too much causing problems indirectly. I know several companies that have had good luck hanging them also. The only time we have had a seam failure has been due to technicians tearing them from belts, pagers, etc. Since this failure all technicians are to empty their pockets prior to donning their suits.

As far as I’m concerned if a suit cannot hold up to multiple training evolutions and still be serviceable then my technicians will not be using that manufacturer. There are always going to be plus and minuses to every suit it just depends on your departments SOP's and personal preference.

Last week I contacted Mustang to send my suit back that was leaking. I finally got the lady to admit that there was a problem with the plastic type zippers and most were being replaced as warranty. I advised her that if is under warranty I prefer the metal zipper be installed. She stated she would check into whether they could install the metal zipper as a replacement or not, and let me know.
Wayne Benner Jr (Casper) said:
Im not sure how you store the suits. However you should NEVER store the suits hanging as the weight will pull the seems apart. The wax that you use on the zipper will also matter. The wax should be applied before zipping up and after each use. If you have the ZIP-LOCK stlye zipper you have to use the lube not wax.

Last but not least the suits were not meant for hours of training and abuse. I find many say (Blame) the zipper when in fact the water is coming through the neck.

We have been using the Ice Commander for years. However last year we got a deal on the Stearns cold water suit and I will say there is a reason why it was a deal. They are for training only.

We dont use a PFD with our suits unless its a dry suit being used. Too much floatation makes for a hard swim.

WBenner
PCFES
Ont Canada

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