If you’re a firefighter going out into the field, trying to get fires under control, you’ll expose yourself to many potential dangers. Thankfully, you can utilize safety equipment and firefighter gear to protect yourself. This firefighter protective gear is so important because it can help keep you safe in the face of a deadly and destructive fire. Continue reading to learn more.
A helmet is one of the most important pieces of equipment that firefighters wear. It’s become a major symbol of firefighters worldwide, and it serves a greater purpose—it’s a method of protection. Like the other parts of a firefighter’s gear, these helmets help protect them from fires. These hazards can be uncontrollable, and a little wind can send flames in unpredictable directions. Standard wildland firefighter gear will protect your body from these flames, and a helmet will protect your head, ears, eyes, and neck.
In addition to protecting from flames, debris can fall and hit a firefighter on the head. The helmet also protects against these hazards. When fighting or containing a wildfire, tree branches can fall, and helicopters and planes drop flame retardant. These things can be deadly if they land on an unsuspecting, helmet-less firefighter. Flying or falling debris can cause neck injuries or broken bones, even when wearing a helmet. Helmets may not be a foolproof solution, but they do help protect wildland firefighters and keep injuries minimal.
Helmets are one of the best pieces of equipment that firefighters can wear, but they do little to protect your face and keep you from breathing in smoke and other toxic compounds. That’s why firefighters wear masks, wildland firefighter shrouds, and helmets. The mask protects the wearer’s face from fire, flying embers, steam, and flame retardant.
In addition to protecting the wearer from the flames and flame retardant, shrouds help keep harmful toxins out of your airways and lungs. The fumes and smoke from a fire are dangerous, and the last thing you want is for them to make their way into your body. Shrouds help prevent this. Fires thrive because they consume oxygen in the air, and firefighters smother these fires to put them out.
However, firefighters who smother these fires and attack them with flame retardant are right in the danger zone. The fires take a lot of oxygen out of the air, and there’s additional smoke and flame-retardant fumes that make breathing even more difficult. Shrouds help to keep this smoke and heat out of your lungs. In addition to shrouds, many wildland firefighters wear disposable masks and filters to keep contaminants and other particulates from entering their airways.
Another important piece of protective gear that will help keep wildland firefighters safe from cuts, burns, and scratches is their gloves. Firefighters don’t walk into the place where a fire is burning and magically put it out with their bare hands. It takes a lot of hard work and handling of different equipment to keep wildlife areas safe. Firefighters need gloves that are simultaneously flexible and durable to handle equipment efficiently while staying safe.
Without gloves, one of the first things a firefighter would encounter is a burn. The fires themselves are hot, and they heat everything around them, including their equipment. In addition to burns, these wildland fire-rated gloves will protect firefighters from cuts and scratches. Fires thrive in forests full of debris that won’t hesitate to cut or scratch a firefighter’s skin in such a way that it can send them to the hospital if they’re not careful.
Wildland firefighters wear a combination of brush pants and shirts, and while they’re not as protective as a structural firefighter’s turnout gear, they’re still incredibly effective. Movement is one of the more important parts of a wildland firefighter’s job. A structural firefighter’s turnout gear is too bulky for all the hiking wildland firefighters must do to get to fires. In addition to movement, these brush pants and shirts are still protective against the heat, exceeding the National Fire Protection Association’s (NPFA) 1977 standards for safety. On top of protection and durability, these brush pants and shirts also offer breathability so the wildland firefighters can sweat and not feel like their clothes are suffocating them.
Wearing the right protective firefighter clothing is also important because the wrong or improperly sized clothes will only put firefighters in more danger. As previously mentioned, wildland firefighters’ clothing must reduce their risk of falls and allow for freedom of movement. They must move quickly if they are out in the field and need to avoid a falling tree branch, flame retardant, or an out-of-control flame. Therefore, wearing well-fitting protective clothing is crucial.
Ensuring firefighters wear properly fitting clothing will prevent their risk of cuts and other damage—and firefighter boots are no exception. Having durable wildland firefighter boots that are the right size will go a long way in keeping firefighters safe when out in the field. They’ll need boots that can protect them from flames and debris while remaining flexible, comfortable, and ergonomic. Firefighters out in the field are hiking numerous miles through harsh conditions to get where they need to go. They may still get to their destination without the right pair of boots, but their level of protection will be insufficient.
Wildland firefighter boots are sturdy to help them get to the fires and hold up against the heat, flames, rough terrain, and fallen debris. It’s also important that these boots are waterproof. Firefighters often use water to put out and contain fires, but flame retardant is another liquid they must be wary of. The right boots will help them stay safe and dry as they go the distance.
The protective gear firefighters wear is so important because it helps them do their job to the best of their ability while protecting their well-being. When dealing with massive amounts of heat, flames, and toxic smoke, it’s easy to fall victim to injury and develop worse conditions farther down the line. At The Supply Cache, we want every firefighter to stay safe and healthy, and you can do that with our wildland fire gloves. In addition to other protective gear, these gloves will help keep you upright and fighting in even the worst of conditions.