Wildland firefighters encounter numerous dangerous challenges while on the job, from blazing flames to rugged terrain. When going up against some of the toughest elements and harshest conditions in the world, it is more important than ever to prioritize personal protective equipment. On the fire line, wildland firefighters rely on an array of different types of protective gear and equipment to keep them safe and avoid injury. To learn about some of the many different types of protective equipment wildland firefighters wear, continue reading.
Brush Shirts, Pants, and Overalls
One of the first lines of protection that wildland firefighters have from the elements is their clothing. Due to the importance of protective clothing in these dangerous situations, it is essential to invest in top-quality brush shirts, pants, and overalls. Doing so could ultimately make the difference between life and death in an extreme firefighting situation.
To ensure that wildland firefighting apparel will provide the ample protection necessary on the fire line, choose clothing certified to meet or exceed current NFPA 1977 standards. In addition, firefighting apparel should use durable, fire-resistant materials, such as Tecasafe Plus or Nomex. Avoid wearing shirts, pants, or other garments made from synthetic materials, as they can melt and result in intense burns and other injuries.
A comfortable and durable pair of wildland fire boots is one of the most vital types of protective equipment wildland firefighters wear. While on the job, a wildland firefighter’s feet must endure extensive hikes through extremely rugged terrain while simultaneously encountering harsh elements such as fire or inclement weather.
To complete such arduous hikes while maintaining a passable level of comfort and avoid injuring one’s feet, which could result in potentially deadly incapacitation, a top-quality pair of wildland firefighting boots is essential. To accommodate this need, The Supply Cache offers a wide selection of handmade wildland boots, as well as mountaineering fire boots, to help wildland firefighters stay comfortable and protected for whatever they may face on the job.
Wildland gloves that provide firefighters with mobility, protection, and comfort are another essential type of personal protective equipment that they must wear on the job. Wildland firefighters must use their hands to utilize gear, initiate fire suppression tactics, and clear brush so that they can maneuver their way through rugged environments.
Because their hands must come into contact with various sharp or searing-hot objects, protective gloves are a necessity. A durable pair of gloves will help protect their hands from cuts, abrasions, burns, and other injuries that firefighters commonly receive. When choosing a pair of firefighting gloves, keep an eye out for a pair with long, fire-resistant cuffs that will help protect your wrists as well as your hands. To ensure that you can easily store and access your gloves while on the job, it is also a good idea to purchase a glove holder or utility clip.
When entering into the heart of a wildfire, there will likely be trees and other debris falling all around you. Due to the prevalence of falling objects in a wildfire environment, head trauma is one of the leading causes of injuries that wildland firefighters face.
To reduce the likelihood of such serious injuries, it is important to take measures to protect one’s head from any items that could potentially drop down onto it while fighting fires. One of the most effective ways to prevent head trauma as a wildland firefighter is to wear a high-quality firefighter hardhat or helmet. For optimal protection, your fire helmet should be durable, well-fitted, and designed to meet NFPA 1977 standards on PPE.
In some cases, wildland firefighting environments can become extremely loud—from noisy machinery to raging fires. Such conditions can end up damaging the eardrums of wildland firefighters over time. To protect the hearing of a firefighter, wearing earplugs can be advantageous in certain situations. Depending on one’s preference, earplugs are available in rubber, foam, or moldable products.
Shrouds and Masks
Wildland firefighters often find themselves surrounded by burning plants, debris, and trees, which can create a lot of smoke and heat. As a result, breathing can be difficult. In fact, smoke inhalation is a leading cause of firefighter death and can result in numerous acute and long-term lung issues.
Shrouds and masks can make it easier to breathe and protect one’s lungs from excess smoke inhalation. However, not just any shroud or mask will do.
Ideally, a wildland firefighter’s shroud should use a fire-resistant material such as Tecasafe or Nomex so that it can keep smoke out of your lungs while also providing a layer of protection for your neck, face, and head from the heat. To provide additional protection against harmful smoke inhalation and contaminants matter, particulate filters and disposable masks can also be beneficial.
Goggles and Safety Glasses
The eyes are one of the most vulnerable parts of the body. As such, they are particularly susceptible to damage from smoke, heat, flames, falling debris, and other harsh conditions that are common out on the fire line. To keep the eyes protected and ensure that wildland firefighters can see clearly and accomplish their duties, goggles and safety glasses are necessary at all times while on the job.
Depending on the time of day or conditions of the fire, it can be beneficial to opt for tinted glasses to block out excess light and make it easier to see. One of the most important characteristics to look out for in wildland goggles or safety glasses, however, is durability.
At The Supply Cache, we have dedicated ourselves to keeping wildland firefighters safe while fulfilling their crucial duty of protecting our forests and wildlife. For this reason, we distribute a wide variety of industry-leading wildland personal protective equipment. Our innovative products include all the essential protective equipment listed in this article, as well as a variety of other types of important gear and products that wildland firefighters may need on the job. To outfit your crew with top-quality wildland protection equipment, shop The Supply Cache today.