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Durable Upholstery for Fire Apparatus Seating

By Deanna McGough

Upholstery is a very important aspect to consider when specifying firefighter seating. The materials used to cover the seats should be given the proper amount of consideration before a decision is made. The nature of the fire industry dictates that the materials used must be durable and long lasting. During the life of a fire truck, the replacement of covers has the potential to significantly impact the operating budget of the department.

The fire industry must understand the importance of minimizing the occurrence and impact of replacing covers. By understanding the significant impact, a lot of time and money can be saved. By using military-spec fabric, the highest quality fabric in today’s market, the seats can last longer and provide tremendous durability. This fabric is waterproof and mildew-resistant and is designed to withstand extreme wear and tear, while still remaining easy to clean. The fabric is very effective, efficient and dependable.

Upholstery is only as good as the stitching that holds it together. Many firefighters are sick and tired of the foam ripping through the seams of the seat. This daily wear and tear on the edges of the seats is almost an epidemic in the industry. Triple stitching assists in preventing ripping along the seams and damage to the seats.

Since even the toughest fabric and stitching can occasionally be beaten, it is also important to ask what happens if the cover does get damaged in spite of the right fabric and stitch patterns being specified. By using hook-and-loop fasteners and zippers, quick-change cover and cushion technology allows covers to be easily put on or taken off. These covers can be cleaned and replaced when needed without removing the seats—resulting in minimal down time for the trucks.

The final thing to consider when choosing upholstery is whether the department will add a custom logo or crest to the seating. Allowing departments to embroider the upholstery gives them the opportunity to brand the seats in the fire apparatus. The design and selection of these materials, sewing pattern, and customization truly does help to maximize the initial comfort while giving the best performance for day to day use.

DEANNA MCGOUGH is the marketing specialist for USSC Group. USSC is focused on providing survivability and mobility solutions to the commercial and military markets. Its Firefighter Seats represent how our passion for better performing products has been infused into their design.


USSC Valor seating manufactures an incredibly tough military grade upholstery seat, which comes standard on all firefighter seating products. Triple stitching is used at all critical seams of the seat in addition to an optional coating to the fabric to prevent 99.9 percent of blood-borne pathogens on request. The covers can be easily removed using weight-saving hook-and-loop fasteners and zippers so that a truck should never be down waiting for a cover. Valor takes great pride in the ability to customize upholstery for individual fire departments by adding all custom logos or crests to the seats. All of the embroidery is added to the upholstery at the company headquarters in Exton, Pennsylvania. This feature is yet another way that USSC strives to be an industry leader and to provide customers with cutting edge, visually attractive, and durable products.

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