Photo credit: Glen E. Ellman/FortWorthFire.com
Good hot afternoon from the jumpseat and welcome to the dog days of summer. It seems like, as the summer months come, my brain shuts down and writing this blog seems to be like pulling nails from a 4x4 with a pair of tweezers.
Every now and then, it the ideas hit me upside the head like a master stream of water pouring over my head. Oh, wait it did. Recently we had a fire that was fully involved upon arrival, so out come the master streams.
Once the big guns come out it amazes me how much water we can really flow. This particular night we had two 2 1/2-inch lines and a deck gun flooding the sky, and the firefighters on the ground. As the second due engine we established the water supply then grabbed our hooks and went to work.
Just like any fire that is fully involved our attention went to the exposures. Pulling smoldering siding and removing smoking soffit, we kept the fire from spreading. One small problem with this operation was the water that filled the air had to land somewhere. And it landed on us! As we kept working the overspray from the master streams had us weighing more than an elephant with a rhino on his back, or so it seemed.
How much water will your tournout gear hold? I don't know the facts and figures but it sure does seem like a whole lot. So as we continued our work it came to me that how is this wet gear going to impact our work capacity?
First, our work time was decreased due to the increased weight we are carrying. Second, is the reduction in mobility? A simple task such as throwing a ladder became harder due to the decreased in ability to raise your arms. Third, is wow how dumb am I for being under the master stream to begin with.
Well the job had to be done, even with the water flowing! Keep in mind the next time you train that you may end up slogging around the fireground with an extra bit of weight. Water that your gear soaks up will put you in a position where your fitness will be pushed.
How do we combat this problem? Maybe adding some additional weight to your gear on your next training evolution? How about soaking it before you train? Word of caution, if you go into a live fire environment we all know what may happen there: steam! Steam burns are zero fun, so keep the training with wet gear to the non-fire type.
In closing let's keep up the training for all conditions and situations. One of those being able to work with soaking gear, because you may never know when you get caught under the flow of a master stream how much water weight you will gain!
Thanks for the visit to the jumpseat!
Bunker up, buckle in, and remember we all start in the jumpseat!