Thread: Fire Gear

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    Default Fire Gear

    I am on a volunteer department and we have been fighting the trustees for years to get new fire gear. Finally after nine years we were able to get five new sets. In a meeting last night I was informed by the trustees that our old gear was good enough even if it had cuts, rips, or tears. They contacted a lawyer and he sent them a letter telling them so. All the gear needs is a NFPA tag on it no matter the age.

    I was under the impression if the gear had cuts, rips, burns, or tears it shall be taken out of service. Plus I thought that any new persons getting on the department could not be put in gear from the old standards. We are a members of the NFPA Standards but they won't let me have the password where I can read up on them. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thx,

    Red Dog

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    The manufacturer's tag on my gear states that it was manufactured to the NFPA standard and must be worn and maintained in accordance with such standards, to include NFPA 1500.

    NFPA 1851 is the standard for care and maintenance of PPE. If you can't gain legal access to the standards through your dept, the library, a neighboring dept, or the state fire marshall, you are not trying hard enough. You can find a synopsis with a web search.

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    The neighboring fire chief is sending me a copy. Am I right on the gear being put out of service or not?

    Thx,

    Red Dog

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    It's in service until someone demands to have it fixed or refuses to wear it. Up to you and the other members to get the chief to do his job.

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    I'd hate to be that lawyer who said it was ok when someone gets severely burnt due to worn out gear... I actually cannot imagine any lawyer making a statement like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Dog View Post
    In a meeting last night I was informed by the trustees that our old gear was good enough even if it had cuts, rips, or tears. They contacted a lawyer and he sent them a letter telling them so. All the gear needs is a NFPA tag on it no matter the age.
    That's not entirely true. All the NFPA tag means is that the gear met the NFPA standards when it was originally manufactured. if it has cuts, rips, or tears, then it is compromised, and should be taken out of service until it can be repaired.

    Report all damage to the appropriate persons so the gear can be fixed. If still nothing happens, at least you will have a good paper trail for a lawsuit for negligence when you get injured using damaged gear that they refused to fix.

    or you can just refuse to wear the gear until it gets fixed. that is always an option.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Dog View Post
    In a meeting last night I was informed by the trustees that our old gear was good enough even if it had cuts, rips, or tears. They contacted a lawyer and he sent them a letter telling them so. All the gear needs is a NFPA tag on it no matter the age.

    What planet did you say you're from?

    This is an issue that just ticks me off. I spent alot of years educating Boards, Mayors and City Councils about their personal responsibility if a firefighter gets injured or killed. There isn't enough insurance to cover neglegence. If you don't have a copy of the lawyer's letter, get one.

    If I were you, I would photograph every piece of gear and catalogue by serial number or your own number. When someone gets burned, injured or burned you will need this documentation when a wife or other family member sues the department and the lawyer.

    You don't give any details about the gear; Mfg, year mfg, type (Nomex, Advance, PBI). But if your gear is that old, it is most likely NOMEX III and Yellow. If it is damaged, it should be removed from use... period; unless you guys don't plan on fighting any fires. It is a fact that many departments are underfunded, but you can not kid yourself here... you have to protect yourself.

    This is a critical safety issue for your department. It is one thing if they don't have the money... it is something else if they do. If they agreed and then pulled back, that's crap.

    There is a point that firefighters need to understand their limitations. If you don't have adequate gear, you are very limited. No one should expect you to save much, and interior firefighting is not possible, including to rescue a resident. This should be a top priority for your Chief and the Board of Directors.

    Send me an email @ pknight0@yahoo.com

    I would really like to find out more about this issue. I have some ideas that may help you out. Send me a picture of what you have and a picture of the tag if possible. Give me some idea of your budget if you have that info. And tell me where in the world you guys are.

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    As for accessing the NFPA standards - they can be viewed for FREE on line through NFPA - http://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/li..._standards.asp you can NOT copy and paste anything - but at least you can look through the Standards.

    If you don't have a sign-in, you CAN register as a new visiter and do NOT need to be a member.
    Last edited by pasobuff; 12-07-2009 at 09:28 AM.

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    Well you could get some of the worst turn out coats, then fine a mannequin, put the coat on it then take a heat gun or some kind of flame and run it all over the coat. Then take it off and show all the burned areas to the trustees. (Do all of this in front of them). Then ask then if they are willing to wear this gear into a fire or let there family members wear it into a fire.
    Also I hate doing this be at times it's a last resort. Go to the public and the media with the problem. Get the TV station to highlight your station and the problem and make sure you show the torn up gear and quote the NFPA rules that are being broken. Trustees and politicians sometimes only change there ways when the public is breathing down there necks.

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    Get a copy of that letter.

    That's complete nonsense and probably in violation of OSHA PEOSHA regulations.

    What state are you in? It would be a shame if your department got reported for not supplying good ppe....
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Quote Originally Posted by volfireman034 View Post
    Well you could get some of the worst turn out coats, then fine a mannequin, put the coat on it then take a heat gun or some kind of flame and run it all over the coat. Then take it off and show all the burned areas to the trustees. (Do all of this in front of them). Then ask then if they are willing to wear this gear into a fire or let there family members wear it into a fire.
    Also I hate doing this be at times it's a last resort. Go to the public and the media with the problem. Get the TV station to highlight your station and the problem and make sure you show the torn up gear and quote the NFPA rules that are being broken. Trustees and politicians sometimes only change there ways when the public is breathing down there necks.
    Nice idea, but unless you have access to a laboratory that does testing of fire resistant clothing, you do not have the proper equipment to test gear in this manner. Turnout gear will burn when exposed to direct flame for a short time, so even new gear will burn if you put a flame to it. You would also have no reliable way to measure burns to a manequin. Anything but numbers from calibrated measurement equipment wouldn't hold up in any court.

    In addition, you would be purposely destroying fire department property, which I'm sure nobody will appreciate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by volfireman034 View Post
    Well you could get some of the worst turn out coats, then fine a mannequin, put the coat on it then take a heat gun or some kind of flame and run it all over the coat. Then take it off and show all the burned areas to the trustees. (Do all of this in front of them). Then ask then if they are willing to wear this gear into a fire or let there family members wear it into a fire.
    Also I hate doing this be at times it's a last resort. Go to the public and the media with the problem. Get the TV station to highlight your station and the problem and make sure you show the torn up gear and quote the NFPA rules that are being broken. Trustees and politicians sometimes only change there ways when the public is breathing down there necks.

    Why not you put on a set of turnouts and get one of your home boys to set fire to it. Be sure to video it and then put it on youtube and jackass!!

    Maybe you would like to also be charged with arson as well!
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

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    GEEEZZZZ guys I wasn't talking about using a flame thrower lol, and it wasn't for the courts. Use something like a heat gun or even a blow dryer set on high anything that would leave a mark on the mannequin to show how the holes in it are unsafe. Heck you could even use a spray bottle with colored water would work. I meant it just as a visual aid to show the trustes in person that the turn outs were unsafe. I was trying to think outside the box for a common problem. So I guess a better solution is to just give up and let the firefighters wear gear that has holes in it??? Now thats innovative.
    My department was in about the same boat about 12yrs ago. We had many turnouts with holes I could stick my finger through and the attitude of the chief at the time was who cares becuase we never will go into a house fire anyway. Well next house fire we had his nice neat coat was no where to be found, so he had to wear a holy one and the firefighters wouldn"t get close enough to the outside of the house with the hoses to even make a difference. After about 10 minutes of the chief yelling to get closer and firefighters refusing he gave in and promised to get new turnouts. Oh for all the drama guys yes we still saved the house. The next year we recieved a grant for new turnouts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Dog View Post
    I am on a volunteer department and we have been fighting the trustees for years to get new fire gear. Finally after nine years we were able to get five new sets. In a meeting last night I was informed by the trustees that our old gear was good enough even if it had cuts, rips, or tears. They contacted a lawyer and he sent them a letter telling them so. All the gear needs is a NFPA tag on it no matter the age.

    I was under the impression if the gear had cuts, rips, burns, or tears it shall be taken out of service. Plus I thought that any new persons getting on the department could not be put in gear from the old standards. We are a members of the NFPA Standards but they won't let me have the password where I can read up on them. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thx,

    Red Dog

    You really need to read up on the NFPA standard and educate your board on the PPE requirements. The revised/latest edition of the standard has dramatic changes including the replacement of PPE every five years from date of manufacture and strict annual inspection requirements. To put it another way, are they more willing to participate in and pay for an LODD investigation or new PPE?

    Yeah, I know. It is tough economic times. But you have to properly plan for and budget accordingly for PPE. Meet in the middle and offer a standardized PPE replacement schedule. Look at your most active members first and start replacing PPE that is worst off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty42 View Post
    You really need to read up on the NFPA standard and educate your board on the PPE requirements. The revised/latest edition of the standard has dramatic changes including the replacement of PPE every five years from date of manufacture and strict annual inspection requirements. ...
    At least give the guy CORRECT info. TO gear by new NFPA std has 10yr life. Must be removed from service (regardless of external appearance).

    How and FD makes that work financial is an entirely different question.

    You can get into a nice set of made to measure coat/pant in Advance for $1200/set.

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    Id get copies of the letter and make sure you have it on hand for WHEN your people get hurt because of this gear. When it comes time to sue the trustees that letter will magically have disappeared.

    I'd also send a copy to your state's occupational safety agency along with a letter outlining the situation and concerns. They'll find it extremely interesting.

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