Wet Bunker Gear
During one of my training classes, a person got 2nd degree burns on his left arm because the turnout he was wearing was not dry from the previous day's evolutions during a live fire session.
How does the department deals with such situations? As I am still learning, I have not come across any regulations pertaining to wet bunker gear and live burns. Of course gear is going to get wet, but how does the department attempt to mitigate such incidents from happening? I do not know if the student's gear was faulty which resulted in a burn, (god forbid) but I do know that his gear was wet and left to dry out over night. It didn't dry out so well.
I have never heard of wet gear causing adverse reactions or hazardous situations. My gear has gotten soaked many times, and I've never been burnt. (knock on wood!)
You said he was a student; Are you sure he didn't don the gear improperly?
it is useful to turn the gear inside out if it is wet on the inside. the gear is made to allow air to sit inside the thermal liner to prevent heat from contacting the skin of the wearer. water will transfer the heat because it is not a good insulator.
If possible use a second set of gear when you are going to be involved in proximity to heat if the gear is wet. Also properly and thoughly dry the gear when wet too.
Overall it is the instructors responsibility to inspect gear prior to the live fire event training.
All members keep a spare set of NFPA compliant spare gear to put in service whenever needed. (gear is wet, contaminated, getting cleaned)
I recieved third degree steam burns to my right arm on a training fire once. This was back in the early 1980's. I was wearing bunker gear that was not as protective as the gear we wear today. The inner liner had become soaked with sweat and then radiant heat from a propane "Christmas Tree" fire went through my liner and turned the sweat to steam. Two other firefighters on the same evolution recived similiar burns.
During down time at any incident, be it a real fire or training, take your gear off and let it air out and dry. There is no reason to be sitting around in full PPE when you are doing nothing but rehabbing. All you do is sweat inside the gear. Give your PPE a break too.
There is one particular company that brags about treating there liners with a teflon type material. This is bad bad bad for the firefighter. Your gear is designed to wick away moisture, to reduce steam burns and keep you safer. This is the ONLY company in the industry to do so. Fire Dex, Morning Pride, and Globe all understand that this is bad bad business, but yet this particular company claims its better. Not what I want to be wearing....
Repost from firefighterclosecalls.com
FF Receives Steam Burns from Wet PPE
Saturday, July 25, 2009 - I am a volunteer firefighter from Long Island New York for 5 years now and i have a case you guys might be interested in and it may bring some light to this issue. on July 24 around 0500 hours we were activated for a working structure fire in a occupied dwelling upon arrival the first due engine activated the working fire and stretched a 1 3/4 line to start fire suppression, the members on the nozzle team did a great job and knocked down the fire quickly but not before the nozzle man received 2nd and 3rd degree burns to his legs and calves. We were interested in how he was burned wearing his proper PPE (full bunker gear) so we inspected his gear and found no burn holes. we later found out that earlier in the morning the firefighter had responded to 2 electrical hazard calls in a severe ran storm and had to walk through 3 feet of water which mad his gear soaked. now when the structure fine came in his pants where still wet, now the only conclusion we came across into how he got burned was due to his pants being wet he received steam burns