1. #1
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    Default No Turnout Gear for New Hires - Is This Normal?

    I just completed a 4-month fire academy for a "big city" fire department in the midwest (population approx 475,000), and my graduating class has not been issued a new set of turnout gear. All we have is the second-hand gear that we trained in, which ranges from 15 years to over 20 years old in some cases. We've been told that it could be a while before we get issued new gear like the other members. Is this normal practice among fire departments, or am I correct to think that this is improper?

    I did some research on the topic and found that NFPA 1851 requires the permanent retirement of structural turnout gear no later than 10 years after date of manufacture. Clearly, we are out of compliance.

    Is there any real safety concerns connected with the age of turnout gear. Is there anything we (new probies) can do? Perhaps purchase our own gear to department's specs?

  2. #2
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    Good luck how long is probation???

    I do know one department that uses used stuff for the academy, but once going to shift they get new stuff.

    Strange they new you would be going on shift, that they did not budget for it.

    Unless the entire department goes through new gear change at once, and maybe that is what the wait is for???

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    Completely unacceptable.

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    DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    My FD issues the recruits going through the Academy used gear, but it is still within service dates and in good condition. Their new gear gets ordered and it is ready when they start their assigned shifts after graduation.

    If your FD has a safety committee, bring the issue up with them.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    You're between a rock and a hard place, Kid.

    Yes the situation is wholly unacceptable. Yes it sucks. Yes you should absolutely have new gear out the door. I can understand if they wanted to wait to see if you made it through the Academy.....But to send you to your first company without new stuff or at least the promise of new stuff? It sucks, and I find it hard to swallow that a Dept is that bad off financially that they would do this to you new kids.

    Someone else brought up the point that maybe there is a Dept-wide plan to order new gear for everyone and they are waiting to get that together. That makes sense, however I find it hard to believe that you guys were not told about it. Do you have a probation period? Maybe they are making you get through that before they give you new stuff???? I'm just grasping at straws here.

    Now, as for complaining or "bringing it to someone's attention" (since you are a new kid it will be seen as complaining- trust me on this) I dont think its wise. I also dont think you should ask anyone if you can go out and buy your own stuff- again maybe they are making you get through probation until you get your new stuff and wont let you have new stuff you buy on your own.

    Just keep quiet for a while and sniff out the guys in your company, maybe the senior man...see what he says.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Call the union. It's in our contract that they are allowed to issue safe but used turnout gear to recruits in the academy, however they must have new gear before they work.

    ***Not the exact verbage but its the gist of it.
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    These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by backsteprescue123 View Post
    Call the union. It's in our contract that they are allowed to issue safe but used turnout gear to recruits in the academy, however they must have new gear before they work.

    ***Not the exact verbage but its the gist of it.
    I second that. If you are a member of the union, you may be a "newboy", but they still work for you too. The FD may be using your class as "pawns" in a budget battle. Go through your steward, or bring it up during new business at your union meeting. Definitely BS.

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    Default Used turnouts for academies

    I think this is ok to have used gear for an academy because it is going to get dragged and abused around and you don’t really go into fires every day during the academy. I know my academy gave us better gear within the limits when we went to our burn days at Cal Fires main academy. But hopefully when they say it could be a while until new gear comes in it means they are ordering them. I think you should definitely be given new gear when you start your probation or time in service.
    Hope this helps good luck
    Last edited by Rook2010; 10-12-2013 at 04:52 AM. Reason: I am not the best at spelling

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