Firefighters need to carry a lot of gear, and there’s a good reason for that. It would be much more difficult, if not impossible, for these first responders to keep others safe from fires if they were just as vulnerable themselves. In addition to the immediate threat of heat and flame, they need to be protected from the long-term effects of smoke inhalation, falling debris and excessive noise that can damage their hearing.
That’s why modern firefighter PPE makes up a veritable suit of armor, giving the men and women of fire departments the protection they need against every conceivable threat they may face inside a burning building. Part of any firefighter’s routine must be to keep tabs on all of the gear he or she needs.
Read on for a firefighter PPE checklist that runs down the most important pieces of equipment they use in the field.
Firefighters’ Critical Gear
Given the dangerous situations first responders willingly enter, a firefighter’s safety equipment list can be quite long. Here are some, but not all, of the items they need to do their jobs effectively:
- Turnout gear: This refers to the protective clothing worn when responding to a call. Typically, this consists of pants and a jacket made of materials meant to keep these professionals safe from extreme heat. These garments also feature highly reflective strips of material that help crew members stay visible even in dark and smoky environments.
- Helmets: Burning buildings are structurally unsound, meaning there’s always a chance that someone inside could be struck by a falling beam or collapsing wall. It is important to note that frequent exposure to dangerous chemicals and carcinogens means the interior should be cleaned frequently as part of a firefighter’s PPE inspection checklist.
- Gloves: Although gloves need to be thick and insulated to keep hands safe from heat and flames, they also need to be flexible so they don’t impede a responder’s dexterity. A few seconds of fumbling could cost lives.
- Boots: It is crucial that boots fit as comfortably as possible while also offering durability and strength. Firefighters spend a lot of time on their feet, and they need to be able to move quickly when the situation demands it. Although made from rubber for many years, manufacturers have realized that leather provides greater comfort and reduced weight.
- Respiratory masks: One of the most important items on the firefighter PPE list, these make it easier to breathe by filtering smoke, toxic fumes, ash and more.
- Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA): Having a constant supply of breathable air is crucial for better ensuring responders can perform tasks without tiring or being exposed to toxic elements. These units provide them with oxygen when they enter a structure filled with smoke, fumes and other potentially deadly contaminants.
- Eye protection: Whether in the form of goggles or a face shield attached to a helmet, it’s important to have something to protect firefighters’ eyes from the harsh chemicals and other elements found in the air around a fire.
- Hearing protection: Ear plugs and earmuffs are an underrated aspect of PPE. Without protection, the constant wailing of sirens, noise of heavy equipment and other loud sounds on the scene of a fire call can seriously damage a person’s hearing.
- Undergarments: Keeping crews comfortable while they do their jobs is a high priority, which is why moisture-wicking underwear can be such a crucial component of a firefighter’s uniform. These garments are typically made with a blend of natural fibers to prevent them from melting when exposed to extreme heat.
BlowHard’s Solutions for Safer Environments
Although not part of a firefighter’s personal protective gear, BlowHard’s PPV fans can be a crucial component for keeping them safer when responding to a call. Our high-end products can help remove smoke and other toxic elements from the structures they respond to, making it easier for responders to conduct searches and other critical operations.
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