What Tools Are In Your Pockets?

Having tools available in your turnout gear pockets, may save your life or the life of a brothers or sister firefighter. They might enable you to get yourself or another firefighter out of a dangerous situation.


Having tools available in your turnout gear pockets, may save your life or the life of a brothers or sister firefighter. They might enable you to get yourself or another firefighter out of a dangerous situation.

They can be used before the Rapid Intervention team is able to get to you. To be able to save yourself or anyone for that matter you need the tools available and with you.

If you need to assist a brother firefighter or save yourself in a fire building or need a tool to do your job, on the fire ground, what do you have?

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Photo courtesy of the Setauket Fire Dept.
New lightweight air-conditioning ductwork that was effect by a fire in a truss loft, these duct contain many feet of wire to maintain the ducts shape and when exposed to fire the fail. This wire may trap firefighters in wire.

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Photo courtesy of the Setauket Fire Dept.
The mask, frame and harness of a firefighters SCBA that became trapped in wire at a fire. The firefighter had to be cut out of the wire to be removed. Notice how the portable radio also was tangled in the wire.

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Photo Courtesy Michael M. Dugan
If a member has tools in right hand pocket they are more accessible if the firefighter has to use an SCBA emergency procedure. If the tools were in the other coat pocket the member would have to reach across their body to retrieve a tool.

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Photo Courtesy Michael M. Dugan
Bunker pants with pockets are also an option. Some departments buy their gear with one or the other. If your gear does not have coat pockets then your personnel escape tools should be in the pants pocket on the right side. The best of both worlds is to have both coat and pants pockets available.

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Photo Courtesy Michael M. Dugan
Some of the tools carried and pockets they came out of. The more pockets you have to more tools you can bring.

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Photo Courtesy Michael M. Dugan
Tools carried in pants pocket include spare work gloves (not for firefighting), door chocks, extra cutting pliers, and a search line.

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Photo Courtesy Michael M. Dugan
Tools carried in bunker coat pocket include webbing, a search/utility line for controlling doors, nails(Used as door chocks), wire cutters, utility knife and small spare light.

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Photo Courtesy Michael M. Dugan
Cable wire that was pulled down from one cable raceway in a New York City housing project. There may be two or three raceways in some large residential building. Firefighters have died trapped in cable wires.

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Photo Courtesy Michael M. Dugan
Members drilling using cable wire as a firefighters trap. Members must be able to get to their tools and remove the wire from their own SCBA. This is an easy and quick drill that can be done in the firehouse.

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Photo Courtesy Michael M. Dugan
Tools found in a pouch in the bunker coat pocket. These tools include screwdrivers, electrical tape, lock picking tools and nails. The pouch helps prevent tools from making holes in pocket and keeps them all together. The personnel escape tools are not kept in pouch, as that would make them harder to get to. The firefighter must be able to retrieve the knife, wire cutter and flashlight without delay.

There is not have a lot of room in our pockets; therefore we need to carry tools that can be used to assist us in as many tasks as possible.

There are a few things that every firefighter must carry.

First is a set of wire or cable cutters. The new world of modern technology is an information dependant society. Cable wire and telephone wire are run throughout almost every building being built in the world and can be found in most homes and offices around the world.

People need to access this information and wires are needed to accomplish this. The draw back is this wire becomes a major hazard when heated or exposed to fire and it may drop to the floor.

This down wire can entrap or entangle firefighters making it impossible for them to move, and leading to them being trapped in the wire within the fire building. This cable wire was a major contributing factor to the death of a firefighter in Memphis and has entangled some members of the FDNY who were barely able to be disentangled.

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