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Thread: Traffic vests or not?

  1. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by emt161 View Post
    W did the job long before SCBAs were out. Were those the good ol' days too?



    If you're going to suggest that the striping on fire-grimed turnout gear is the same striping as a vest that lives in the cab of a truck, there's really no point in debating the issue- you're just clueless.

    It's also not the fact that there IS striping, it's how that striping is arranged. The Class II vests are specifically designed to create the impression of a human form when nothing else is visible except the stripes. Your turnout gear stripes won't do it- assuming they're not covered in soot to begin with.

    His department was probably doing more to protect the members than you might have ever heard of. They had large traffic direction lights on apparatus that ran the major highway(s) in the area which they service, that would be Interstate 95 and what is known as the mixing bowl in his area, that is Interstate 95, Interstate 395 and Interstate 495 and everyone is running late at any time of the day.

    Even now they have widen those roads and changed some patterns, there still is more traffic running through that area any day of the week than on any other Interstate in this country.

    The Chief back then was Warren Isman a very pro active Chief in firefighter safety and well as apparatus development. They ran E-One Hush's long before other departments had them, to get that engine noise away from the crew area!

    Any time I am going to Baltimore or north of there, I cut off I-95 and hit US 301 until I get to I-695 in Baltimore, to avoid that backup. Rush hours begin at 4 AM and goes to 10 PM every day and traffic can be backed up for miles on miles.

    As he said we used what we had before the vest came out, because there wasn't any back in the earlier days of some of us.

    By the way, we had SCBA's back in the 1950's!
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    The more I think about it, the more I think the vests are pretty much useless if you already have turnout gear or a EMS jacket, except when we do the Fill the Boot for MDA. Any other time, The street or road is either shut down or the area I'm working in should be blocked off. I see so many reports of idiots just plowing into trucks and emergency scenes. A vest isn't going to do jack to stop an idiot or drunk driver that can't see a truck lit up like a Christmas tree. I figure if I get hit it will be because of an idiot or because I'm somewhere I shouldn't be. I'd rather the money for vests be spent on bazooka's and we could post a lookout for idiots. Just sayin'

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    Right now, in the back of my SUV is my turn-out gear. On my jacket is a DOT approved vest. Since 90% of my runs are medical/MVA, I just keep my vest on my jacket. That way as soon as I put on my gear, the vest is on and ready to go. I don't see it as something that helps on road situations only. When backing a medic unit into a driveway, it helps the driver see me. When sitting in middle of a dark field with a ATV rider that is down, it helps others locate me & the downed rider.

    Field fires, I wear SCBA & vest. If I'm working a portion of the field, I want the BRT to see me as it comes around the smoke.

    Now, when we get the occasional structure fire, since our vests are velcro/quick remove, I can just rip it off before donning my SCBA.


    I do realize that a vest isn't a cure-all, prevent all. It is another tool to be used appropriately. My feeling on the vest can be summed up by this: If it even increases my safety by 1%, I'm wearing it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jkoby View Post

    Field fires, I wear SCBA & vest.
    Not to get off-topic and not to judge, but you wear your SCBA for field fires? Havent heard of that before, but we may be talking about different types of fields. When I think of fields I imagine an open space with vegetation 1 foot to 3 feet where fire spreads quickly. Is that the same for you? We dont wear SCBA and most of the time dont wear structural gear for those fires.

    As I said, not judging, just interested in the how different departments do things differently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spencer534 View Post
    Not to get off-topic and not to judge, but you wear your SCBA for field fires? Havent heard of that before, but we may be talking about different types of fields. When I think of fields I imagine an open space with vegetation 1 foot to 3 feet where fire spreads quickly. Is that the same for you? We dont wear SCBA and most of the time dont wear structural gear for those fires.

    As I said, not judging, just interested in the how different departments do things differently.
    I used to not wear the SCBA on field fires. However, after hanging over the edge of our Brush Truck while manning the hose and having the smoke come up over me a few times, I started wearing the SCBA. It makes it much easier to actually spray the fire when you can see it. My eyes don't water from the smoke and I can actually breathe.

    I have worn the SCBA while on the ground with a shovel as well. I'm not always on air, but if the wind changes or I get into the smoke, I'll put the mask on so I can breathe and see.

    The other guys gave me a hard time at first about it as well. But then a few others tried it and agreed that it is easier to work with it on. In fact, we are trying to come up with a way to mount bottles on the truck so you just plug your regulator into the truck and not have to worry about wearing the bottle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jkoby View Post
    I used to not wear the SCBA on field fires. However, after hanging over the edge of our Brush Truck while manning the hose and having the smoke come up over me a few times, I started wearing the SCBA. It makes it much easier to actually spray the fire when you can see it. My eyes don't water from the smoke and I can actually breathe....But then a few others tried it and agreed that it is easier to work with it on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    I prefer to wear either a turnout coat or EMS style reflective jacket. I generally would only wear the vest when it's warm out and I only have my duty uniform on. I see way too many guys with the vest on during fire suppression, I don't know what that's about. Personally, I think vests are generally overkill and ineffective. Setting up proper safety zones and blocking or even shutting down a road is going to save more lives. If they hit you and you weren't wearing a vest, you were probably where you shouldn't be, or they already missed a dozen other warning signs and would've hit you anyway.
    Unfortunately, the Federal law mandating that you wear the vest kind of trumps what you "prefer" and "think".
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    FyredUp, you must have worked for one progressive full time department. Hope retirement is treating you great. Big B

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoserbt View Post
    FyredUp, you must have worked for one progressive full time department. Hope retirement is treating you great. Big B
    In many ways they were. I would also, say my #1 POC FD was very progressive in PPE, SCBA, and the use of vests. We had green there long before that was the new better idea!

    Retirement is great. Although if I new I was going to be this busy I would have slept more my last year at work!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcjack View Post
    Unfortunately, the Federal law mandating that you wear the vest kind of trumps what you "prefer" and "think".
    Actually, the number of responders hit by vehicles even when everything is done right proves that vest don't do anything... A vest won't protect you if they won't even slow down for the big red truck with all the flashing lights... Shutting down a road is the ultimate protection.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    Actually, the number of responders hit by vehicles even when everything is done right proves that vest don't do anything... A vest won't protect you if they won't even slow down for the big red truck with all the flashing lights... Shutting down a road is the ultimate protection.
    Yeah, but how many people were NOT hit because they WERE wearing a vest? We'll never know. We can't prove a negative. If there's a possibility of saving ONE firefighter from death or serious injury, it's probably worth all of us wearing them.

    I agree with the idea of closing down as much of the road as is necessary. Keeping the traffic flowing is pretty far down the priority list for me. You still don't want to be between the apparatus and the traffic, though. Let them hit the rig if they're not going to stop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    Yeah, but how many people were NOT hit because they WERE wearing a vest? We'll never know. We can't prove a negative. If there's a possibility of saving ONE firefighter from death or serious injury, it's probably worth all of us wearing them.

    I agree with the idea of closing down as much of the road as is necessary. Keeping the traffic flowing is pretty far down the priority list for me. You still don't want to be between the apparatus and the traffic, though. Let them hit the rig if they're not going to stop.
    I personally have NO faith that a vest makes a difference on an emergency scene. There's so much going on, I truly believe that they don't stand out to people. Not that I don't believe in being visible, I think any modern turnout gear or EMS type jacket does the job just fine. But then again I use vehicle placement. cones/flares, and watching traffic as my primary safety measures.

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    Definitely NOT a substitute for apparatus placement, flares, vigilance, etc.

    I think sometimes civilians are so wrapped up in the big red trucks or the emergency itself that they just don't see the responders. The vest certainly can't hurt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    Definitely NOT a substitute for apparatus placement, flares, vigilance, etc.

    I think sometimes civilians are so wrapped up in the big red trucks or the emergency itself that they just don't see the responders. The vest certainly can't hurt.
    Yep, had some stupid woman on a cell phone pass 10 feet in front of me today on a run at an intersection.

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