1. #1
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    Default First new gear in 22 years, average 15 fires a year help?!

    Hi there, I'm on a small town volunteer dept that has recently been awarded a grant for new turnout gear. We have 35 members, you're looking at maybe 15 guys who will show up for fires that happen maybe 15-20 times a years between our own fires as well as mutual aid fires. We currently have gear that's about 22 years old for the most part, all black super heavy coats with just 2 pockets on the side, no radio pocket or place to hang a light, black bunker pants that don't even have pockets on the side, you get the idea. With it being said that we only have about 15-20 calls a year, what would everyone recommend we look for? We have a rep from MSA that would love to sell us 35 sets of fire dex gear, but I would like to explore every option possible knowing that we might have this gear for a very long time. The MSA rep kind of explained the liners and weight or certain materials and things like that. We definitely don't need top notch stuff here but I'm looking for a starting point here and some recommendations, anything that helps really. Me and a few others were put on a committee to figure this out and i'd like to get a jump on this. So anything at all would help me! No way are we going with black gear again fyi and I should add we are located in northwestern ohio. From what I understand, the fire dex stuff gets made pretty close. We like to do things local, our new pumper was built locally and is a sutphen truck

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    Congrats on the grant!

    Lion/Janesville is headquartered right down I-75 from you in Dayton, OH. After a fairly thorough search, my department just bought their middle of the road offering (which was still really darn nice gear) that came with a radio pocket and a light clip at a price of $1367 per man for pants/suspenders/coat. That price included our unit name across the upper back and our last names across the lower back of the coat.

    I was amazed at how much lighter and more flexible it is than the Globe we're retiring.

    Hope that helps brother. Good luck with your search.

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    I have worn Janesville, Morning Pride, Bristol, Globe G-Xtreme, Body Guard, Quaker, and a couple of different sets of CFR gear that I can't remember the brand.

    My favorites are Bristol, Globe G-Xtreme, and Morning Pride. With Globe G-Xtreme having a slight edge.

    Persoally I like black turn-out gear, but the color isn't as important as the material the ger is made out of.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 04-20-2013 at 12:14 PM.
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    We wear innotek gear and find it to be very reasonable and quite comfortable. Our sales rep made us a deal for a new helmet, gloves, leather boots, hoods, jacket and coat, the whole ensemble basically. Buying in bulk like that was very cost effective, as the whole ensemble was less than some pants and coats. I would see if a dealer would do that for you. As for saying that you don't need the good stuff, rubbish. Buy the best you can afford, the protection, comfort and durability will make your life much easier especially for how long you guys hang on to turnout gear. If you have not already, I would also suggest going to a leather boot, you will never go back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcvfd12 View Post
    that. We definitely don't need top notch stuff here but I'm looking for a starting point here and some recommendations, anything that helps really.
    Thanks to conrad427 for pointing this out in your post. I missed it.

    You couldn't possibly be more wrong in this opinion. You not only NEED but DESERVE the best that you can afford. The fire is the same there as in New York, or LA, or Boston, or Chicago, or in my little podunk volly FD's area. The size of your FD and the number of calls is irrelevant. If you run into a nasty, crappy fire tomorrow and find yourself in high heat conditions you want the best protection available. So DON'T sell yourselves short and buy some bargain basement sub-par gear simply because it is new and cheap.
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    As already pointed out, you should always purchase the highest quality gear that you can afford to. If you go "cheap", you'll likely either not get the longevity and/or the protection that you need.

    As for suggestions.......

    My department has been wearing Morning Pride for a little over 7 years now and overall, it's the best gear that I've ever worn. It can be pricey, but we found that it's not necessarily that far off other brands when comparing side-by-side with the same specs (as close as you can get them). Globe makes a good product also. No direct experience wearing the current offerings from other brands.

    If you can afford it the PBI Matrix outer shell is arguably the "best" outer shell. The "Advance" outer shell (Nomex/Kevlar blend) is a pretty good middle of the road option - good protection at a reasonable cost. The "Advance Ultra" outer shell falls between the two - similar protection to the PBI at a lower cost. When we updated our specs for last years purchase, we needed to shave some $$ to meet our budgeted amount. I switched us from the PBI Matrix to the Advance Ultra since it was going to save us about $100 per set, but not give up much protection wise. Somewhere along the way it got changed and when the gear arrived it was the Advance shell. We see a good bit of fire duty and so far it seems to be holding up well, but it's only been one year so we'll see.

    We had good results from using a 3-layer E-89 thermal liner. For the latest purchase we switched to a new 2-layer offering in their "semi-slick" line. I'd have to double check, but I'm pretty sure it is the "i" thermal liner from MP. Seems to be working just fine. Definitely recommend going with the Crosstech moisture barrier rather than some of the other offerings available.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcvfd12 View Post
    We definitely don't need top notch stuff here but I'm looking for a starting point here and some recommendations, anything that helps really.
    I'll have to agree with the others that said this is not true! We only run about 15-20 actual fires a year here and we only replace gear every 10-15 years. Last time we replaced gear we went with the lower line of Veridian. My gear is 2008 and it is shot, it didn't hold up. It is comfortable stuff but I wouldn't recommend it. The gear that it replaced was a lower line of Morning Pride. That stuff was HEAVY, but it lasted.

    Do your research on all manufacturers and materials (which it looks like you are doing), try on stuff from the different companies, and buy the best stuff you can afford with your grant. Good Luck!

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    mcvfd12,

    I would be very leary of any turn out gear salesperson that won't give you at least one set of gear for one of your guys to try out. Even if they won't let you burn with it you can still run comfort and dexterity tests.
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    My combo department uses FireDex.

    I would rate the quality of construction and durability both as good, though certainly not at the level of Globe or Janeville, as examples. We run 10 or so structure fires a year, plus 40-60 vehicle and brush fires per year. We also do a significant number of vehicle extractions, so we do place a fair amount of stress on the gear.

    However, that being said, it is significantly less expensive, and would likely allow you to purchase a few spares either for new members or as reserves if a member's set becomes damaged.

    I would say for the career and frequently responding members that put more stress on the gear, life is 5-6 years, and then in many cases it's given to a less active member or a junior member.

    For those that make fewer runs, it can easily be good for 10 years plus.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 04-21-2013 at 06:43 PM.
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    That is just the problem with the fire service. Fire is fire whether you see a 1000 structure fires or 1 a year. The problem is justifying the cost to the city and county managers who either don't know or don't understand. I realize you got a grant and that is great, however twenty some odd years is a long time to go without new gear. We keep meticulous records on fire activity and that helps a great deal with justifying the cost to managers. Good luck shopping for new gear and don't sell yourselves short.

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    Unless you seriously underpriced your grant application funding, you should be able to get a complete head to toe set of quality gear for your department.

    We got Globe extreme a couple years ago with our grant. The salesman did give us hoods & gloves as part of the package, along with extra's such as the radio pocket, dept lettering , and we also bought the globe leather boots.
    It has held up well, is very comfortable and flexible. Half the weight of the firedex we had previously which after 8 years was just plain wore out.

    Tell any salesmen that want to sell to you to come up with a couple of demo sets to put through the paces. If they can't or won't , then tell them thanks and show them the door.
    They should also be willing to offer extra's for that large an order. It doesn't take much of a cut in their commission to include hoods, gloves and a few options.

    Remember you are the customer and in the drivers seat here.
    Last edited by islandfire03; 04-24-2013 at 12:03 AM. Reason: added paragraph.

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    I just got fitted for new Globe Xtreme gear. I found it to be lighter and better fitting than My current Janesville, I have also worn Morning pride and I like the Globe a whole lot better. One of our Captains got Innotek gear to try out and quite simply it just did not hold up. We are attempting to get a grant to get our guys Globe and if we cannot get one we are simply just gonna buy a full set with boots a month until everybody is in new gear. That being said has anybody else tried the Globe leather boots? WOW! I would wear those everyday if people would not look at me funny.
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    one thing to take into account, if your guys haul their gear around with them , In my experence "advance" fabric holds up best to UV rays. I know gear bags etc , but in reality, a lot of guys are lax in taking care of their gear.
    ?

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    Just an update, we found out last night that we have been awarded the AFG grant that we have been waiting for. Have a meeting with our fire dex rep tonight and next week we have another. I'll continue posting under this thread until we make our decision. Thanks for the advice so far!
    http://www.limaohio.com/news/local_n...9bb30f31a.html

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