Firefighters have to rely on their gear and tools to keep themselves safe in the fire service. The following is a list of the top 10 gear that firefighters need to make their job not only a little safer, but also a little easier as well!
10. Flashlight- As a firefighter you may find yourself in some very dark enclosed areas when dispatched on a call. In some cases, your safety may depend on some sort of light. It is highly recommended to have a flashlight connected to either your helmet or your bunker coat because then that is one less object to carry in your hands.
9. Extrication Gloves: There are several different styles of extrication gloves on the market today. Most of these styles of gloves are resistant against glass and other sharp objects, however the most important detail is they are much easier to grip with than normal fire resistant gloves. Ringers Gloves is the typical manufacturer for firefighter extrication gloves in the United States today.
8. Door Chocks and Wedges- Throughout your fire career you will learn new ways to keep a door open for when you perform search and rescue operations. The fastest and simplest tools are the Chocks and wedges. These tools can either be stored in your bunker pants pocket or you can attach a strap around the top of your helmet which will also hold these tools in place.
7. Eye and Face Protection- Although most department issued helmets include the visor or bourkes, goggles and safety glasses are strongly recommended to keep on your person at all times. When performing extrication using a saw, shattering a window, or even ventilating a roof, shards of medal, wood, and other sharp objects may become airborne and may lodge themselves into your eyes. As a firefighter you need all of your senses in order to perform well in this occupation. Some goggles can also be stored on top of your helmet and are ready for use when you are.
6. Emergency Rope- You never know when you may find yourself hanging out a window screaming for help. Fire can be very unpredictable at times and if something were to go wrong causing you the need to leave the building as fast as you can, having emergency rope in your pocket may just save your life. This style of rope can be used to save yourself or someone else’s life if the situation arrived. The typical type of rope that is carried and used is nylon or static rope. Make sure when you purchase such rope you inspect it regularly for cuts or frays.
5. EMS Scissors- Although EMS personnel typically use this; Scissors can be used for several different incidents such as cutting clothes, bandages, etc.
4. Pocket knife- As a firefighter you may find yourself needing to cut something at any given time. A pocketknife can be used for different things such as cutting bandages, rope, clothes etc.
3. Knee Pads: Although very few firefighters wear separate knee pads under their bunker gear, these simple tools could save you pain from crawling around on your hands and knees several times a day. Simple slide on or strap on knee pads will do the trick.
2. Reflective tape or glow paint- Mn8 has created an amazing product known as The Foxfire Illuminating Glow Paint. This can be applied to your helmet and tools. See their website at www.mn8products.com for more details and ordering information.
1. Bunker Gear- It may sound crazy; however, your number 1 most important tool to have at all times is your bunker gear. Your bunker gear will protect you from heat, flames and smoke while in a structure fire. Without bunker gear, firefighters could not perform well and would ultimately not survive in a house fire. As long as you take care of your gear, your gear will take care of you. Each style of bunker gear is equipped with reflective tape around the wrists, and waist area, some gear have more than others do. Remember your bunker gear does not just include coat and pants. To me your bunker gear includes your coat, pants, gloves, hood, and boots. Without these essential items, you may not perform at the ultimate level.
Although these items we have listed above are essential in our eyes for the fire service, not all of them are essential to others. Your bunker gear will always be the most important type of equipment you will carry and as previously stated, as long you take care of your gear, your gear will take care of you.
Please feel free to share your top choices in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you !