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  1. #1
    dritter9 Guest

    Post Personal Equipment

    I am new to the Fire Service and need some help with personal equipment ideas and purchasing from the people who know (Fire Fighters) not the people who sell the equipment. What items of personal equipment, other than those issued, should I consider purchasing that are both necessary and helpful without having to be a millionaire or independently wealthy? Is it wiser to purchase a few of those disposable flashlights for my helmet and pockets verses one expensive flashlight? Are those Res-Q-Rench's really worth the $ or is it wiser to purchase aluminum spanner wrenchs? Is a Truckman's belt as indespensable as the advertisement claims? Is Galls cheaper than Darley, or vice versa? Etc, Etc, Etc....?
    Keep in mind, I am not Donald Trump. I'm a working stiff with two kids who go through shoes so fast I'd swear my wife is putting steroids in their "Poptarts". Please don't misunderstand, I refuse to sacrifice safety or quality for few dollars but I can't afford to break the bank just because everyone at the department has the new little gadget. Please send help. The cheap kind.
    Thanks in advance for your reasonbly priced assistance.
    Wilmington, NC

  2. #2
    hazmat961 Guest


    First off welcome to the fire service! Since you are new, stick to the basics for a while. Add to your equipment gradually. Buy a cheap flashlight for your helmet and also spend the few extra bucks for a good quality light, Pelican Saberlight, Survivor light ect.. Ask what other firefighters in your department carry and what they think is appropriate for your district.

    Hazmat 961

    Also check out the other post about what some of us carry with us.

  3. #3
    ArmyTruckCompany Guest


    Spend a few bucks and buy a Streamlight Survivor- You won't regret it. You can get one for about 85.00 if you shop around. It comes with a 110v slow charger, and an ac adapter. Really, really worth the money. I know it's about 4 pairs of shoes, but you can't beat it for the size, weight and versatility.

    Other nice things to hhave in your gear: An inexpensive "Gerber" style tool- one of those thirty million use knives with the pliers. Don't buy Gerber, though.....too expensive. -A cheap set of standard/common size allen wrenches (Keyring) style- for resetting pull stations with these style fasteners. -A cheap pair of utility gloves- leather or synthetic leather, for extrications, packing hose, etc....where manual dexterity is needed and structural gloves just won't do. -20 feet or so of 3/4" tubular webbing- hasa million uses, and better than rope in my opinion (also stows much smaller than 20' of rope). -If you drive/pump, a set of friction loss/pump pressure cards. Usually available from any of the pump manufacturers....Great at 2am when you can't remember the formula to pump 200' of 3 1/2" hose extending up an aerial 45' using a 1.25 solid bore nozzle...I also have one of those EMS pocket guides, and a pocket guide for techhnical rescue. The pages are plastic coated so I dont have to worry about them getting wet. -a 35mm film "can" with a pair of EMS gloves. -wedges, both rubber and wood.

    Something else that I do- especially in the winter time....I have a small duffel bag that I keep near my gear. In it I have an extra tshirt, an extra sweatshirt, an extra set of structural gloves, an extra nomex hood, an extra pair of HEAVY wool socks, a small bottle of tylenol, and a disposable camera.

    Good luck on your career!! Stay safe!!

    "Loyalty above all else, except honor."

  4. #4
    FireDocCJC Guest


    Welcome to the most dangerous profession there is. But it is sure rewarding. You will enjoy it.

    Well there are several things that you can get that would be helpful. First off, get a folding spanner wrench (two if possible, you will always need two to make the connection)and put it in one pocket that can be reached in full gear. Also you might consider, getting one of the cheap $3.00 flashlights from wal-mart. The Gerrity ones are fairly dependable but cheap to replace.

    And if your area has a lot of buildings with sprinklers. Take a piece of wood and make it into a wedge. Should be long and narrow. This can be put in the sprinkler to stop the water and water damage. And then take a cross section of truck tire inner tube and use that to hold it to your helmet. Cheap and easy to replace all of these things.

    And don't forget the most important thing of all things to keep with you when on duty. A good pair of cool looking sun glasses. Just kidding that is up to you.

    Take care and keep safe.

    Keep your head below the smoke but in the game.

  5. #5
    Aerial 131 Guest


    Ahh, I think I will spend a bit of someone elses $$.

    1. 2 utility strapps connected by a very large man rated caribiner

    2. Pelican Supersaber light, have had one for years has never failed as yet. Liked them enoough to by them for my whole crew

    3. Gerber or leatherman tool, get one with a locking knife blade.

    4. Nomex hood, the long type. Ok you have now wear it.

    5. Work gloves, not your FF gloves but for after fire out or other details/incidents.

    6. Folding , plastic spanner wrench, sure beats beating the fittings to death to get them to work.

    Now theat your a bit poorer, just keep it simple, KISS works very well 99.9 % of the time.


  6. #6
    Aerial 131 Guest


    Ahh, I think I will spend a bit of someone else's $$.

    1. 2 utility straps connected by a very large man rated carabinier

    2. Pelican Supersaber light, have had one for years has never failed as yet. Liked them enough to by them for my whole crew

    3. Gerber or leatherman tool, get one with a locking knife blade.

    4. Nomex hood, the long type. Ok you have now wear it.

    5. Work gloves, not your FF gloves but for after fire out or other details/incidents.

    6. Folding , plastic spanner wrench, sure beats beating the fittings to death to get them to work.

    Now that your a bit poorer, just keep it simple, KISS works very well 99.9 % of the time.


  7. #7
    Skidz Guest



    Like everyone else said, Welcome. I am glad to see another one of us. Well, I will say take a look at the Forum question, What do you carry in your turnout gear? Many people carry many things but, they did not buy them all at once. Build your collection when you can afford it. Most every item the FD should already carry for you, ie. Flashlights, EMS Gloves, Spanner Wrenches, etc. What you carry are nicee things. Safety Items that the FD most like will not provide webbing, carabiners, shove knife, winter hat (yes, a winter hat is a safety item if you live in cold weather), hearing protection, and truck belt or / last resort belt. Most everything I mentioned can be purchased for about 100$ if not less. K.I.S.S. Just be smart about what you carry on you. Don't over load yourself.



    Montgomery County Division Of Fire/Rescue Services
    Member IAFF Local 1664

    [This message has been edited by Skidz (edited 01-01-2001).]

  8. #8
    TXFIRE6 Guest


    If you had to buy one item, it would be a Streamlight Survivior flashlight. it clips on your coat, so you nevr forget it, and a flashlight is one of the most important tools to have, at fires, and every other type of call. I've had one for 6 years, and had to replace the battery once, cause it cracked(Gall's replaced it free). I agree with the 20'foot piece of webbing, that has so many uses. As for your spanners? aren't they on the truck you rode to the call on? 8 years in the fire service, and I've survived without them. I do think that a Gerber multi-purpose tool, and leather work gloves are also important. Other than those 4 item's, I'd give it some time, and see what you really need, before you go spend the money. Some of that stuff is garbage,made by manufacturer's to rip off new comer's and "jippy-joes." As to the other question of pricing, shop around, I see you have a computer.... But Gall's has some of the quickest shipping, and best customer service, in the business. Some of the other dealer's give you the run around if you have a problem. Good luck guy.

    Any Opinion expressed, are my own, and do not reflect my Department...RB

  9. #9
    Davidjb Guest


    Well let's see, In my pockets are a Pelican light, 2 folding spanners, 4 door chocks, a small 6" slim jim, glass punch, leatherman, and in the winter some thick wool mittens.

    David Brooks,
    FFII, Driver/Op, NRFR
    Newmarket Fire & Rescue
    Newmarket, New Hampshire
    (All opinions are my own)

  10. #10
    st34ff Guest


    Welcome to the Fire Service. A few good things to carry.
    Spring loaded center punch ($5 or so)
    Seatbelt cutter ($5 or so)
    Granola bar (For those long overnight fires)
    a cheap flashlight (We carry good ones on the trucks)
    Talk to people at your station and see what they say is good or not.


  11. #11
    SteamTrain Guest


    Add to all that a disposable camera. (35mm) Tuck it in your inside bunker jacket pocket and use when you can. My favorite leather-like tool is a Kershaw Multi Tool. Get you 2 cheap Garrity lights, one for yer lid and one for yer pocket. Them high dollar lights are exactly that. Replacement bulbs and batteries are 'spensive. GOOD LUCK!

    GOD is my Fire Chief, JESUS is my Incident Commander!

  12. #12
    GoodFella Guest


    - A few homemade wooden door wedges for the helmet.

    - cheap light for helmet

    - if on a truck co. and you have to buy a good, powerful light: attach break-away shoulder sling made out of old seatbelt with connector/latch in tact. If you get hung up, just depress connector to release latch so you can escape.

    - simple, small plier/wire cutter/knife type tool

    - hose straps

    [This message has been edited by GoodFella (edited 01-04-2001).]

  13. #13
    F52 Westside Guest


    I agree with the posts so far. Flashlight would be the first, I think, and the Streamlight Survivor is the best choice. I love mine and would not trade it for anything. Buy the stuff as you can. is another good place to look. I just bought myself a Gut Belt from there, ordered online and got it in less than a week.

    Eddie C. - a.k.a - PTFD21
    ECarn21's Homefire Page
    Local 3008
    "Doin' it for lives n' property"

    [This message has been edited by F52 Westside (edited 01-04-2001).]

    [This message has been edited by F52 Westside (edited 01-04-2001).]

  14. #14
    CFDENG23 Guest


    I have to agree with everyone else light is a must, you'll use alot of wedges i keep a bag full of them in my locker. The one thing I find myself using alot is a small pair of vice grips. not very expensive and a million uses. Oh yeah darley and galls will rape you on cost either search the net or find out about some local suppliers. Example Warrington pros Gall and Darley 279.00 My local guy 203.00. Good luck stay safe

  15. #15
    spotthedalmation Guest

    Thumbs up

    Welcome to the service, best of luck and safety to you.

    Buy a flash-light -- Get a Streamlight or a Pelican. I like my mini-maglite too.

    Get a pair of work gloves, make sure they're comfortable, and the dye doesn't run when you get them wet -- I suggest a non-dyed pair, speaking from experience.

    Keep a bag at the station with a complete change of clothes, a few bucks, and a spare set of keys to your car.

    I suggest a Gerber-Tool and a pair of spanner wrenches as well...

    Beyond that, see what you find yourself needing, and add accordingly. Talk to the other guys at your station.


  16. #16
    RescueJay Guest


    Well i haven't been in the service long and I am an explorer but the things i use and see used most are:
    1.Res-q-wrench...the good thing is that its a window punch, seatbelt cutter, spanner, gas shutoff, and prybar-it works pretty well
    2.Responder flashlight...looks almost like the survivor but works better, 60,000cp as opposed to 15,000cp plus it runs for 5 hours as opposed to 90 minutes
    3.A good knife for the outside of your jacket,Gerber is the kind i have
    4.20ft of webbing or 10 ft of rope, they both have a lot of uses make sure to have a biner or 2 with them
    5.Gloves: good leather or mechanix gloves are great for extrication hosepacking cleanup ect.also 1 or 2 pairs of latex
    6.2 or 3 chocks
    7.A multi purpose tool is always good to have
    8. And at the station have an extra pair of structural gloves as well as an extra hood,and a change of clothes with two pairs of socks

  17. #17
    EFDCapt Guest


    There have been many good suggestions in the various replies. My 2 cents would be to #1 don't try and carry the entire "kitchen sink" in your bunker gear. Too many times as an instructor at a regional fire academy I have seen new recruits try to carry everything that the vendors will try to sell you. Keep it basic. The second item, and to me the critical one, is in selecting what to carry in your gear some convenience items (folding spanner, etc.) are alright but put an emphasis on things that are going to HELP SAVE YOUR LIFE! I believe in every firefighter carrying sidecutters in their bunker pants (so much that it was my gift to the guys in my company this Christmas). The incidence of firefighters getting entangled seems to be increasing especially in the "slinky wire" that is in the flexible ductwork in many buildings. In these situations your leatherman tool (which is a nice utility tool but not a firefighter survival tool) is not going to do it for you.

    Good Luck - Welcome to the best job (career or volunteer) in the world and stay safe.

    Rudy Horist
    Elgin Fire Department, Elgin, IL

  18. #18
    trumpeter75 Guest


    Couple of things I'd recommend:

    1. A good locking blade knife (for cutting seat belts, cutting yourself free of stuff, etc.) Multi-tools are nice (I carry one, too) but in a burning house with your gloves on it's a pain to try to find the right blade.

    2. A locking D-ring or two and about 10 or 12 feet of webbing. For rescue of victims, draggin hose, hanging fans, etc. Real handy.

    3. Extra pair of leather gloves are a MUST, especially now in winter when your #1 pair gets wet.

    4. Wedges are cheap and handy. Just wood, for doors (although I'd never thought of sprinklers, as someone else here has mentioned...).

    You don't need to go overboard if you just joined. Also remember YOU'LL have to carry what you I don't recommend loading up those bellows pockets. If your department also does EMS, you might consider getting a personal CPR mask and some gloves.

    Hope this helps, and welcome.

  19. #19
    AZ3 Erik Prager Guest


    Welcome to the service!
    Aboard ship, since our gear is stored in designated repair locker staging areas, we don't carry alot of gear in our FFE's. Myself and most of the other Flying Squad members carry a flashlight (I've got a good mini-maglight, dependable and lightweight) and a pocket multi-tool (I've got a Leatherman Wave, very nice since the cutting blades are on the outside of the tool). In addition I also carry a small folding spanner, since the fire stations on ship never seem to have them. We also carry our flash hoods and gloves at all times, so we can don them before getting to the locker.

    AZ2 Erik Prager

    USS Kitty Hawk(CV-63)
    Flying Squad
    "Freedom's Firefighters"

    ***These statements do not neccessarily reflect the views of my command, the US Navy, or the US Government. They are strictly my own.

  20. #20
    Quint1Medic Guest


    Flashlights and wedges are good (I've carried a multi-tool, but when I wore it on my uniform pants it was tough to get to when I was in turnouts). How often do we have to run to the truck to grab a screwdriver out of the toolbox? Sears makes a nifty screwdriver that I just picked up for myself (for about $20). It has 3 flat/3 phillips bits stored in the handle, so you can carry most of what you're likely to need. It's well-put-together and feels nice and solid. The handle's only about 5" long, and since the bits are carried inside it, you won't poke holes in your gear or yourself. Plus, it's a Craftsman, so when you break it with your superhuman firefighter strength, you can get another one

  21. #21
    Tom Erwin Guest


    Welcome to the fire service the only job in America where the boss has to put out an order not to report to work to early. I agree with the previous posts, but here is my two cents.

    1. A flashlight is the first thing you will need. Get a less expensive one for now if you can't afford a good one.

    2. Take is slow and apply the KISS method.

    3. Don't overload yourself!

    4. Mark your tools to identify them in case you misplace or loose them. This also helps to discourage someone from borrowing your stuff permanently.

    Have fun and stay safe.

  22. #22
    JBROWNL8 Guest


    I have several tool in my little bag of tricks. I wear a gut belt and one side I have a light and the other I have a bag (rope bag) with assortment of small tools;

    2-3 wooden wedges
    two screw drivers
    wire cutters
    TFT folding spanner (local salesman give away)
    small set of allen wrenches (resetting alarm panels)
    small electrical tester for electrical outlets
    folding sheetrock saw (actually its hunters bone cutting saw) works great cutting through sheetrock.

    In the bunker pants: small flashlight called the hubble light. Its the same thing as the pelican light but found it at a local home center for $10.00 cheaper, pair of work gloves, 2 12ft section of webbing.

    Use your imagination, you don't have to spend alot of $$$$. Why go back to the truck and search for your tool, have it with you. Just remember, you can't carry everything.

    Stay safe. JB

  23. #23
    dritter9 Guest


    Thanks for all the ideas and advice. I think I'll take it slow & shop as I go.

    Be safe and stay low....

  24. #24
    EUitts Guest


    Lot's of great ideas here already, so I'll only make a few short additions to the list. Something very important to carry in your gear is hearing protection, whether it be the disposable ear plugs or the style that you can reuse. Granted it can look kind of goofy at times, but refer to the articles in the magazine on tinitus and you have a good reason to make wearing hearing protection a habit. Also, another inexpensive tool that can come in handy at times is a large construction crayon to use for marking doors/rooms that have been searched. They sell metal holders for them so they don't get too bashed up. Another tip that could be helpful is how you organize the tools and equipment you carry in your gear. I carry my self rescue equipment and a supply of wedges/latch guards in my left bunker pants pocket...left for life. As everyone has said, use what works for you and don't try to carry too much.

  25. #25
    AVF&R452 Guest



    Try this link to 145 posts of who carries what, and why. A good read!

    Good luck in assembling your arsenal!

    Stay Safe,


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