Firefighter Personal Protective Gear Guide: Staying Safe When Saving Lives

Those who do jobs with noble objectives like protecting and saving lives, as well as nature and properties, always put their safety at risk. For these women and men who quite literally jump into fires to protect others, fire is not the only danger. Firefighters also often find themselves in other life-threatening situations, such as contact with intense heat, smoke, dangerous substances and chemicals, electricity or falling debris.

Many of the things these people face are not only dangerous in the moment while they are trying to rescue someone, save a property or protect nature. For instance, smoke contains harmful chemicals and it can cause several health issues, some of which can be very serious and life-threatening, like lung cancer. All of this is why, whether they are professional firefighters or they are firefighting volunteers, to stay safe, healthy and in some cases even to stay alive, they have to use several different protective items. A firefighter’s protective gear includes firefighting jackets, helmets, gloves, masks, hoods, boots, and many more.

These items are designed to protect specific parts of their bodies. Whether it’s a firefighting jacket, boots or gloves, all of these items have to be made of specific materials and they have to meet a set of standards. It’s important that all of the firefighting protective gear is reliable and performs well under the harsh conditions in which firefighters operate. This is why there are a lot of rules and regulations regarding all of these items.

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Protection for Your Upper Body

Firefighting has come a long way in the last decades, especially with the advancement of technology. So, nowadays firefighters can use a lot of different gadgets that can help them in dangerous situations. However, some things are far more important than technology when it comes to firefighting, and one of them is the firefighting jacket. Of course, this part of the protective gear for firefighters has changed a lot as well, thanks to technology, but the idea behind it remains the same. Namely, the role of these jackets is to protect the person’s major organs from the heat and the fire itself.

However, while the main reason to use a fire rescue jacket is to protect the skin on your torso as well as your vital organs from the fire, these garments are specifically designed to play several other roles, crucial for the safety of the firefighter. Firefighting jackets come with several different features that not only help them do their job better but can potentially save their lives.

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For instance, fire jackets are designed to be visible even when visibility is low. This way during fires, firefighters can spot their fellow firefighters, which can help them stay safe and find their way out, or it can help locate and save firefighters who are in danger. This is why the jackets have reflective stripes.

Made of specific materials, such as Kevlar and Nomex, fire jackets protect the skin from burns entirely. To protect the firefighter from the heat they come with special insulation. They are also designed in a way that helps the firefighter protect other parts of their body, along with other parts of the equipment.

A fire rescue jacket is long enough to go over the trousers, providing additional protection for the torso. Moreover, it has wrist guards, which help the firefighter cover the skin between the sleeve and the glove. This way the jacket protects the wrists from burns. The fire jacket also has a collar that protects the firefighter’s neck and throat and connects to the other items designed to protect these areas of their body.

Protection for Your Lower Body

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The pants worn by firefighters are also made of materials that can withstand harsh and dangerous temperatures and protect the person from the heat as well as their skin from burns. These trousers come with several features that make them convenient for firefighting, like inserts at the knees for reinforcement. These inserts allow the person to crawl freely, and offers additional protection from injury. Firefighting trousers also feature a built-in harness system, and they can feature zippered pant legs, stretch waistbands, ripcord suspenders, and other features that can help them work more effectively and stay safe.

Naturally, boots used by firefighters are specifically designed for the potential situations when they are on call. In other words, not only do they act as a barrier between your skin and the fire, but they are also designed to protect your feet from injuries from fallen debris and objects, and to protect you from electricity. This is why they have a steel toe insert, and they are made of leather and rubber.

Protection for Your Head

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There are several parts of the equipment that go on your head, your face and your neck. All of them are made to protect you from the heat and the fire, some to protect you from the harmful substances you might breathe in, and one to also protect your head from injuries caused by fallen objects, or potential falls. These include masks, hoods, neck flaps, face shields, and of course, helmets.

There are many different types of firefighting helmets made of different materials, and they come with different features. They are lightweight and comfortable, strong, resilient and impact-resistant. They are designed to protect you from steam and electrical burns, the heat, shield your eyes, and protect your head from injuries.