When it comes to protecting your body from flames, many people focus more on their upper bodies. Even though they don’t forget to use fire-resistant clothing to defend their lower half, they often put much less thought into it. However, a person’s legs are significantly more prone to getting burned in many cases, especially when people are up against wildland fires.
That is why it is just as vital for firefighters to put more thought and effort into safeguarding their lower halves. But what is it that they should be looking for when buying new pants? This guide on how wildland firefighter pants protect your legs is here to explain. Here, we will cover how wildland firefighter pants keep the flames out and how they do it. Here’s what you need to know.
How Fire-Resistance Works
Let’s start this section out by debunking the common myth that “fire-resistant” means “fireproof.” Genuinely fireproof gear is rare, and it’s constrictive, so it is not the best gear to use in a firefight.
Most firefighter clothing is fire-resistant (FR). Fire-resistant clothing will still likely catch fire when put directly into flames, but flames won’t spread as well and will put themselves out pretty quickly. Most FR firefighter apparel also blocks out heat and smoke. So, as long as the wearer does not become engulfed in flames, their FR gear will be highly effective at keeping them safe. If a firefighter does get caught in the blaze, FR gear will give them a fighting chance to survive.
Not all fire-resistant gear is created equally though. Some fabrics are naturally resistant to flames, while others need specific chemical treatments to work effectively. When buying gear to protect yourself, make sure it has a high FR rating, especially if your position requires you to be on the front lines against a wildland fire.
Features of Wildland Firefighter Pants
As we mentioned, wildland firefighters must be extra careful with their legs because lower brush fires can sneak up on them from closer to the ground. Even if you wear clothing with a high resistance rating, you could still end up getting burned, so it is important to make sure your pants have some of these features to keep yourself safe.
When fighting off flames, being able to move freely is crucial to not getting burned. That is why most FR pants manufacturers design FR pants looser and more ergonomically. If firefighting pants are too constricting, firefighters will have a much harder time moving out of the way at a moment’s notice. On top of that, the space between the pants and the user’s legs will decrease the chances of them getting severely burned in the event their pants catch fire.
Increased Knee Durability
There will be times when firefighting that you will need to get on your knees. When that happens, you’ll want to make sure that section of your pants has multiple layers of reinforced fabric. When on your knees, you could easily rip open your pants on twigs or sharp rocks on the forest floor, lowering the fire resistance of your pants.
Extra padding is important to prevent rips and tears, but companies also need to ensure that the padding doesn’t restrict movement. Keep flexible but strong knee padding in mind when shopping for your FR pants.
Large Cargo Pants Pockets
While standard pockets on your firefighting pants are convenient from time to time, a pair with cargo pants pockets will be safer and more functional. When you’re rushing to grab something you need from your pocket, it can be a challenge to dig through the smaller pockets at the top of your pants. Even though cargo pockets have a buttoned flap, they are still more accessible than standard pockets in a pinch because of their position. Plus, they can hold a lot more.
Another bonus is that cargo pants pockets protect you better than regular pockets. Regular pockets are on the inside of your pants, right up against your legs, while cargo pockets are sewn onto the exterior. If something in your pocket catches fire, the cargo design will keep you safer from the burning object.
This feature is more common on FR shirts, but FR pants will sometimes use reflective materials to make you visible in the dark or from a distance. These shiny fabrics won’t protect you from flames, but they can help someone find you if you become trapped or lost, which is valuable if you’re fighting wildland fires.
While they aren’t exactly a part of your pants, wildland firefighters should not underestimate the value of fire-resistant belts. Not only will a FR belt keep your pants from sliding down and exposing your skin to high temperatures and flames, but they will also hold your shirt in better when tucked. While tucking your shirt too tightly could restrict movement, it will keep nearby flames from going up your shirt and burning you under your gear.
Pant Leg Straps
Just as flames can get underneath an untucked shirt, low flames from brushfires can creep up loose pant legs and burn your ankles. To combat this problem, companies have started making FR pant leg straps. Fire-resistant pant leg straps secure lose pants around your ankles to keep your legs safe from low-to-the-ground brush fires.
Where To Buy Fire-Resistant Pants
Now that you know more about how wildland firefighter pants protect your legs, you hopefully feel inspired to buy the best FR pants possible to safeguard your lower half from flames. Luckily for you, you’ve come to the right place. Here at The Supply Cache, we have a vast selection of wildland firefighter pants for sale.
From CrewBoss to True North, we carry some of the most trusted brands on the market for protecting firefighters from dangerous fires. We also carry those pant leg straps that we talked about, so be sure to pick up a pair of your own to keep your legs safe while out on the front lines.