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View Poll Results: What are you wearing to a vehicle fire?

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  • Station Wear (Uniform)

    1 2.27%
  • Turnout Bottoms Only

    0 0%
  • Full Turnout

    2 4.55%
  • Full Turnout w/ SCBA

    35 79.55%
  • Depends on fire intensity

    0 0%
  • Depends on my position (noozle man, pump operator, etc...)

    6 13.64%
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Thread: PPE On The Scene of a Vehicle Fire

  1. #1
    Forum Member DFD1994's Avatar
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    Default PPE On The Scene of a Vehicle Fire

    While I'm still currently an explorer myself and I am only drawing on what I have watched in videos from around the country and despite what I've seen myself locally, I can't seem to develop a solid or definite answer for my question: What are you wearing on scene of a vehicle fire?

    Some guys have come out on scene with nothing but bunker pants and a helmet, but then you'll see full PPE with a guy who is also on air. The most common thing I see is turnouts without SCBA, but this is where my concern comes in. Am I overly concerned to be inclined go on air at the scene of a vehicle fire? It seems that with the modern materials in cars and given what can be released when they turn into a gaseous state I think anybody actually working up on the car wether it be popping the hood or working the line should be on air. Is this not a correct assumption or is this not large an issue as I take it to be? Just want to get some opinions on this as I get closer to dealing with it myself.


  2. #2
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    This is a chemically engineered world son. Everything these days is made of plastic, rubber, etc. Smoke from car fires is among the most nastiest, blackest, darkest schit known to man; especially smoke from burning tires. Then let's talk about the sizzling, snapping and popping that some of these materials do when/as they are combusting. Ever hear the saying "Don't fry bacon naked?" Some of these plastics/rubbers in cars can and do sizzle just like bacon grease does when it is hot enough.

    Then lets talk about impact suppression devices- the gas shocks in bumpers, or the ones used to hold open tailgates or hoods- these have been known to explode during a fire and the rods become projectiles- I know of one guy in Philly who got hit by one of these things and had a bruise the size of a softball and he was standing 40+ feet away when it let go.

    Wear ALL of your protective equipment- including bunker gear and SCBA. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong, and the sad part is- they know they are wrong.
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  3. #3
    Forum Member DFD1994's Avatar
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    Thanks FWD I feel like sometimes onscene when I'm just chasing and doing phtotogrpahy I still want to be on air. The guys I have talked to all seem to agree if they are younger and by no means do all the vets go the opposite way, but it does seem that the guys that came about in the leather helmet days are a little embarrased by doing anything short of going in bare naked and beating the flames out with their fists. I think it may be a case that PPE awarness is evolving with along with the evolving dangers.
    Also found a great video of what I think is a perfect example of both right and wrong, the crew makes good deployment and pulls the line, getting on air as well... but lo and behlold what the crap is ol' cap thinking? Watch the video and you'll know what I mean. Fast Forward to 2:50 to see what concerns me. As a disclaimer: I don't know these guys and this isn't my video, but here it is E3 of Houston Texas.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    But it's "only" a car fire....

    Full gear. There's plenty of videos available showing cars blowing up in firefighter's faces.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

  5. #5
    Forum Member bcjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    This is a chemically engineered world son. Everything these days is made of plastic, rubber, etc. Smoke from car fires is among the most nastiest, blackest, darkest schit known to man; especially smoke from burning tires. Then let's talk about the sizzling, snapping and popping that some of these materials do when/as they are combusting. Ever hear the saying "Don't fry bacon naked?" Some of these plastics/rubbers in cars can and do sizzle just like bacon grease does when it is hot enough.

    Then lets talk about impact suppression devices- the gas shocks in bumpers, or the ones used to hold open tailgates or hoods- these have been known to explode during a fire and the rods become projectiles- I know of one guy in Philly who got hit by one of these things and had a bruise the size of a softball and he was standing 40+ feet away when it let go.

    Wear ALL of your protective equipment- including bunker gear and SCBA. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong, and the sad part is- they know they are wrong.
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  6. #6
    Forum Member Tipys's Avatar
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    I voted depends. Because do I need to be masked up at the pump. Most likely no. In full bunkers, yes. Fighting the fire full bunkers and on air.

    In that video post everyone needed to be on air because how close the engine was parked.
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  7. #7
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    I always wore FULL ppe+SCBA. I've seen videos of certain big city depts who don't go on air, usually in the video the wind is strong, and obviously the firefighters are upwind and in clear air so I sort of understand it, esp in a large city where you may have to go to a 2+ alarm warehouse fire after you mop up..gonna need the air.

    As everyone here said...for a safety reason alone, PPE can provide a little bit of a barrier from the carcinogens spewing from the car, also, once you hit that fire with water, the engine may have magnesium in it, which reacts violently with water, and that rush of hot steam can blast you in the face..not fun.
    DFD1994 likes this.

  8. #8
    Forum Member DFD1994's Avatar
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    Thanks everybody for sounding off on this, I just like to know I'm not completely alone out there since guys rarely want to admit talk about something they might have done wrong, especially to a 18 yearold "kid"
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    I'm not sure why the Captain was using tools anyway. He had a 2nd firefighter standing there with irons that should've been the one prying the hood. The officer should be the one shutting down traffic so that the cars aren't almost hitting you when you walk around the side of the car. It's been really hard for me to step away from fireground "tasks" since I got promoted, but my main job is command and safety now.
    NEOgreg likes this.

  10. #10
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    If you're actively participating in fighting the fire, definitely full bunkers and SCBA. Engineer, depends on where you park. Where your video shows them parking, I'd say full PPE minus SCBA, if for no other reason for protection against projectiles.

    In the high-tech age we live in, do you really want to be answering a disciplinary action while they play that video of you violating departmental guidelines? I will guarantee that even if there's no guidelines stating that you where an SCBA an a vehicle fire, there's one that has that intent. At least on any responsible department.
    bcjack and DFD1994 like this.

  11. #11
    Forum Member snowball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLCfireguy View Post
    I'm not sure why the Captain was using tools anyway. He had a 2nd firefighter standing there with irons that should've been the one prying the hood. The officer should be the one shutting down traffic so that the cars aren't almost hitting you when you walk around the side of the car. It's been really hard for me to step away from fireground "tasks" since I got promoted, but my main job is command and safety now.
    I was wondering why they went for the irons that soon to begin with. That car was in the early stages of burning, the hood cable still works. He opened the door. Have a FF pull the lever and save yourself a lot of energy fighting that latch.
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  12. #12
    Forum Member Miller337's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowball View Post
    I was wondering why they went for the irons that soon to begin with. That car was in the early stages of burning, the hood cable still works. He opened the door. Have a FF pull the lever and save yourself a lot of energy fighting that latch.
    Silly Rabbit.

  13. #13
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Look it is 2013, the dangers of smoke, toxic gases, flammable liquids like gasoline sprayin out of burned through fuel lines, as well as struts, hydraulic hood lifts, and shock absorbing bumpers are well known.

    My point? We should ALL be wearing complete PPE and SCBA whenever attacking a car fire.
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  14. #14
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    I'm going to be coming off the truck with full PPE, although if it is something small that I can easily hit with a water can I probably wouldn't go on air. But that's usually something small like a carburator fire involving the air filter. Maybe something like a tire fire where I'm going to sit back 20 feet and continuously hit it with the hose until it's cooled also. But anything else I'd be on air. The mask in addition to protecting you from toxic gases, also protects you somewhat from flying debris.

  15. #15
    Forum Member DFD1994's Avatar
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    While I don't feel like making another thread for what may be another one of just my stupid questions, I will pose one of the other discussions we have had at the explorer post: What is your ideal PPE setup for a dumpster or trash fire? While there is no real need for anything more than bunker gear on a little house's roll cart, the larger roll-off dumpsters seem to inevitably be filled with the most vile things, and occasionally things like sharps and other biohazard items disposed in a not so friendly manner. Overhauling a dumpster is a mess if you have to pull the whole thing, so how do you protect yourself when you are doing it? Maybe double gloving? fire gloves over medical gloves or something of the sort, and maybe wearing your safety glasses or fire goggles.
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  16. #16
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DFD1994 View Post
    While I don't feel like making another thread for what may be another one of just my stupid questions,

    My point wasn't that you posted a stupid question. My point was in today's age with all we know there should never have been a need for you to even ask that question. The veterans should have been setting the proper example for you by being fully bunkered out and wearing SCBA at a car fire.

    I apologize if it seemed i was coming at you, that was NOT my intent.


    I will pose one of the other discussions we have had at the explorer post: What is your ideal PPE setup for a dumpster or trash fire? While there is no real need for anything more than bunker gear on a little house's roll cart, the larger roll-off dumpsters seem to inevitably be filled with the most vile things, and occasionally things like sharps and other biohazard items disposed in a not so friendly manner. Overhauling a dumpster is a mess if you have to pull the whole thing, so how do you protect yourself when you are doing it? Maybe double gloving? fire gloves over medical gloves or something of the sort, and maybe wearing your safety glasses or fire goggles.

    Full PPE and SCBA. There is no way to identify what is in that trash can anymore than you can identify what is in the dumpster. What if that was the day the home owner decided to throw out that 10 year old can of powdered pesticide for the garden? Or some other haz-mat they tried to hard in a garbage bag? To me all a garbage can or a dumpster are is an illegal haz-mat dumping site until I know 100% sure otherwise.
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  17. #17
    Forum Member DFD1994's Avatar
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    I never believed that you thought my question to be stupid at all, I really appreciate you guys hearing me out. I just think of my own questions at stupid from time to time, and since I am only an explorer maybe I should just shut up and watch. By the same token I believe in my mind I would rather learn 100 things I will never need than be in a scenario that requires just one task I am unfamiliar with. I agree with almost everything I am hearing and again I really appreciate the feedback, even for a little young gun.
    OPINIONS ARE MINE ALONE AND NOT ASSOCIATED WITH ANY ORGANIZATION I HAVE TIES TO.

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  18. #18
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Why not wear full ppe on any thing with smoke and fire showing? Years back we didn't have scba's and we wore a coat and 3/4 boots along with a half arz helmet.

    Protect yourself as much as you can.
    FyredUp, NEOgreg and DFD1994 like this.
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  19. #19
    Forum Member snowball's Avatar
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    We get out of the rig in full gear with packs on and masks at the ready on dumpster fires. While it is not the letter of the law to wear one, most guys do. We don't f-around with dumpster fires. We park close enough to flop an open ended 2 1/2 into it and open the valve until either the dumpster is full, or the tank is empty. After all, it's someones garbage, no need to stick your head over the side with a nozzle and stir around with a hook. Just fill it and be on your way.

    We don't get too many bodies in dumpsters, the gangsters are too proud of their work to be throwing vatoś away. I'm surprised we don't with a homeless population of over 5000.
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  20. #20
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Like snowball.....2 1/2 till the water overflows the dumpster. No overhaul. Garbage can? Usually handled by a cop with his water can....no gear.

    Vehicle fires? Most times full PPE w SCBA. Sometimes on air, sometimes not. Driver/Operator tends to be in bunker pants only.
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