What are your opinions on protective hoods? Does anyone agree with the statement that if you wear one, you may be too "encapsulated" to know when you are in too far? Can you better judge the heat conditions without one? Is it worth the risk not to wear one? This is an argument that I've heard before from a variety of people. There are times that it has saved my hide from serious injury, like when I was leading the search team in a split-level two story home and had passed the fire, a heavily involved living room, to continue my search. I was in a hallway that had a little rollover, but great visibilty as the fire had vented through the front bay window. As I reached the end of the hall to enter a bedroom, some unnamed truck-ape decided to vent the window from outside without communicating to anyone. In seconds the visibilty dropped to zero, and the heat dropped all the way to the floor as any fire that wasn't going out the front had been pulled into the hallway, and the area became heavily involved (above four feet from the floor). I was forced to bypass the fire a second time in order to reach a position of safety (the bedroom had a hollow-core door that had burned away from the knob-level on up, and would have provided no protection), this time in a flat belly crawl instead of on all fours. all of the paint on the top of my leather almost completely burned away, but I escaped with only first-degree burns on my ears and neck, and around my face. I realize that the hood saved my butt. However, on smaller fires (bedroom, small room-and-contents) I often don't wear one, and have had no problems. Sorry for the long war story, but are there any thoughts?
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Thread: Protective hoods...
01-07-2001, 03:45 AM #1lumpy649Firehouse.com Guest
01-07-2001, 04:15 AM #2Chris309Firehouse.com Guest
Good point about "human error". That's a very valid argument for wearing hoods, helmet earflaps down and collar up. Things can get ugly in a hurry.
I personally have always felt that we are indeed too well protected. I figure if you start feeling uncomfortable, it's time to split.
Our county training center has one of those Flashover Simulators, and I've gone in with a set of Nomex gear, rubber boots, a thin, crappy hood and cheap gloves. You feel the heat, big time. I then went in with my PBI gear, leather boots, PBI hood and tempo gloves. What an unbelievable difference. I felt like I could sit in there all day.
I believe this high level of protection makes us indifferent to the high heat levels, and makes us prone to take greater risks and travel further into the fire building. The fact that the equipment is so light now doesn't help either. We've got Scott pack 50's with the composite bottles, and you hardly realize you're wearing it.
But, I do wear my hood most of the time, or at least keep it around my neck, with my helmet flaps down. I guess that's better then using it as a snot-rag. LOL
LEGAL MUMBO-JUMBO: Any and all views I've expressed above and on this site are not representative of my department. They are my personal opinions and views. If my department knew the stuff I was spewing out here, they would disavow any knowledge of me anyway. LOL...Stay Safe
01-07-2001, 08:17 AM #3LitchFirehouse.com Guest
As pointed out in the original post, condiditons can change rapidly, either from human intervention or some unknown factor - your room & contents fire turns ugly (because the occupant is storing kerosene for their kerosene heater in the room). It seems to me that, with the unknowns involved in this job, that it is prudent to wear all of your protective equipment when fighting fire. Yes, the gear we now have does a wonderful job (sometimes too wonderful) protecting us from heat. Thus, WE, the occupants of that gear must be MORE aware of our circumstances and know when to bail. Using my ears as a thermometer is not my idea of being aware of my circumstances.
01-07-2001, 01:12 PM #4TowerLadders ForeverFirehouse.com Guest
To me that is a big part of the problem,as was stated in the previous post I don't like to use my ears as a thermometer. Well what do we use as an indicator of when its time to get out but our senses. I to believe we are becoming to encapsulated in our gear and losing some of our senses. How do we know when its time to bail? Litch, how do you know when it's time to leave,what do you use as an indicator when your getting in to deep? I think experience plays the biggest part of when conditions are getting to bad,to new f/f put in situations without someone with more experience I can see your point of wearing a hood but at the same time how are you to laern when condition are getting bad. I do wear my hood around my neck if conditions start to get that bad I can always pull it up.
01-07-2001, 01:37 PM #5jmk271Firehouse.com Guest
Even though department policy is to wear your hood, I do not because I feel to encapsulated when wearing it. Really the only time I use it is when we are at another departments' training and they require it, or if it's really cold outside. Other than that, it stays inside of my helmet. If that makes me sound like I am crazy, then so be it. I want to be able to feel the heat. If I lose some skin on my ears, so what. I'd rather it be that than losing my ***.
***Stay safe out there***
***These opinion(s) are my own, and not that of the department in which I serve***
01-07-2001, 10:57 PM #6axmanFirehouse.com Guest
jmk271, not wearing you hood is not only dangerous for you but also for the crew that in the structure, I cant believe that your incident commander lets you get away with endangering your self and your crew like you do, your going to loose your a## the painful way.
STAY SAFE ALL OF MY BROTHERS.
01-08-2001, 01:10 AM #7Halligan84Firehouse.com Guest
So... as the place flashes, aerosol can BLEVES, heat drops to the floor you stop, take your helmet off and put your hood up, then put your helmet back on? Id hate to be your partner depending on some help!
JMK.. your a training officer? How much skin do you train your firefighters that it is ok to lose? Ever visited a burn center? Ever had a burn?
Lump.. at what point does the single family dwelling you described go from a small to large fire? I guess there is also a lesson about passing an uncontrolled fire without a line on it too! You got lucky, don't press that luck.
Wear your hood!!! Raise a gloved hand over your head once in a while to check for heat, watch for rapidly changing conditions, buy some sensors.. use thermal cameras, do something other than accept a burn as a routine thing.
01-08-2001, 11:27 AM #8FitzBFDT2Firehouse.com Guest
So you don't feel like wearing your hood. This is 2nd and 3rd degree burns around the ears neck and face.
Also, I am pretty sure if your department requires you to wear a hood and you don't and this happens to you, they are not liable because they have provided you with the equipment.
Kevin M. Fitzhenry, firstname.lastname@example.org
Firefighter, Truck Co. 2
City of Bayonne (NJ) FD
[This message has been edited by FitzBFDT2 (edited 01-08-2001).]
01-08-2001, 11:58 AM #9daysleeper47Firehouse.com Guest
Well, that photo made me enjoy my lunch even more! Well, actually, I am glad some of us get to see the possible damage done when proper equuipment isn't worn. Thanks.
On a lighter note, if you guys are looking for a handy head cover when you shovel out from all the snow you have been getting, I recommend nomex hoods...they work fabulously from what a maintenence guy at work said. He is a former firefighter and lives by those hoods in the cold and in the fire.
"When the bell goes ding-ding, its time to get on the woo-woo."
"Dusting desire - starting to learn. Walking through fire with out a burn..."
01-08-2001, 12:29 PM #10FIREXFIREFirehouse.com Guest
Was that a picture of a firefighter, and are they back at work? What was his down time? I myself where my sock hood religously, even on the smallest of calls, i.e vehicle, brush/grass. On structures I wear my Reed hood.
01-08-2001, 12:47 PM #11FitzBFDT2Firehouse.com Guest
01-08-2001, 01:05 PM #12GBordasFirehouse.com Guest
I posted this topic a while ago (Are nomexhoods really necessary?) and I got a lot of responses both good and bad.
I do not use a nomex hood. If my ears start to get hot then I have gone in too far. Our department has them but they are an option. Infact we use them only in winter to keep our ears from getting cold. If I need protection I just pull the flaps down from my helmet. NFPA doesn't require the use of a hood if you wear your helmet with the earflaps down and keep the collar on your turnout coat up.
[This message has been edited by GBordas (edited 01-08-2001).]
01-08-2001, 03:44 PM #13Halligan84Firehouse.com Guest
Fitz.. as they say, a picture says a thousand words!.. thank you!
01-08-2001, 04:07 PM #14ffemtarmyFirehouse.com Guest
I agree with Halligan84 on this one. there is just no reason not to wear your hood in a fire if it was issued to you then it was for a adarn good reason. Because a dept. dosen't just go around buying equipment they buy it because it PROTECTS you from the elements of a fire.
01-08-2001, 04:19 PM #15firebartmanFirehouse.com Guest
Most of the PPE we wear is to protect us in case things really go south. I am a firm believer in wearing the hoods. I also understand the trade off you are referring to, but that needs to come through training and experience.
01-08-2001, 06:13 PM #16pokeyfd12Firehouse.com Guest
This topic was posted a while ago and there were quite a few respondents. Some were in favor of not wearing the hood but for the most part from what I coulc tell, the mass majority was in favor of wearing a hood.
Let me get this straight, it's OK to not wear a hood into a fire and receive burns that will put you out of work, cause extreme pain, cost thousands of dollars and is a recommended practice by the NFPA......BUT it's not OK to get frostbite??????????
If you have a hood, wear it, if you don't purchase one. Yes it is your skin, yes it is your life but I'm sure your family, friends and co-workers and brother FF see it differently when you are lying in the burn unit. The hood is issued like the rest of your turnout gear. Do you wear an air pack in a smoke filled hazardous environment or would you rather die of lung cancer 10-15-20 years from now.
If you can't tell it's hot by other practices otther than risking your skin, you aren't a smart firefighter. Anybody that has been in a flashover simulator will tell you they can feel the heat through their gear, has felt the air from the tank get warmer the longer they sit in there and watch plastic items on their gear melt. Use a gloved hand, use a gear mounted heat sensor, ventilate as needed but don't take your body and life for granted just to judge the heat. By the time you feel the heat on uncovered skin, you are already burned.
Lt. Kevin C. (aka Pokey)
01-10-2001, 06:15 PM #17MB1213635Firehouse.com Guest
The days of 3/4 boots and long coats was a little bit before my time. I've always had bunker gear and a hood. The idea of using my ears as a thermometer just does not sit well with me. Pokeyfd12 makes a good point. There are better indicators to tell you when its time to go than burning your ears. And if everything goes to **** you should know to get out...whether your ears are sizzling or not. If you are worried about knowing when to get out with bunker gear and a hood, train with it and learn what signs to look for to tell you to get out. Flashover simulators are great and if you have access to one, you should definitely go. Train with the gear you have. Learn it's limitations and properties. Use that knowledge to your advantage. With your training, experience, and knowledge you should be able to identify when it's time to go. Like I said, I whave no desire to get burned. Be Smart, Stay Safe, and Have Fun.
01-10-2001, 07:20 PM #18FrenchyFirehouse.com Guest
Good topic guy's personally I would not go inside a burning building whithout my blue hood. I have done some reasearch on burns and from what i have found the skin on the face is some of the most sensitive skin on your body meaning it will burn faster and be more painful that many other burns on other parts of your body. Burns on your face are more likely to get infected and are harder to repair. I mean soory to dissagree with the guy who wont wear his hood but to me its just insane.
Take care guy's and gal's be safe.
01-10-2001, 09:57 PM #19FyredUpFirehouse.com Guest
This is another one of those topics that appears to be cut and dried. Wear your hood if you want to, don't wear it if you don't want to...However it isn't really that simple. If every member of the crew except for one wears a hood and the non-wearer has to bail, perhaps at a less than oportune moment, who is affected? The entire crew, and possibly any civilians still savable past the area of intense heat, and to a lesser degree perhaps the building because we couldn't stick for another minute is affected by that choice.
I am an officer, our policy is clear, full PPE to include the hood for structure fires, if I don't enforce it I am negligent. The argument that you can't tell what is going on around you unless you turn your ears into pork rinds is ridiculous. I have been a firefighter for 23 years, I hope in that time I have learned a few things about fire growth that will allow me to see the danger signs. If that isn't enough, and you still want to cook something, reach up with your gloved hand to check the heat. Yes, you will feel the difference through your glove.
For the guy here who says it is department policy to wear his hood and he doesn't. Here's what I would do for him, document every call he went on that the hood wasn't worn, verbally counsel him, then if necessary write him up, if he was injured by not following policy I would see him medically cared for and then suspended from the FD for whatever term was appropriate. We cannot pick and choose what rules to follow on this job, particularly safety ones.
I am sure I will have stirred some strong emotion with my comments...but so be it. This issue shouldn't even be an issue, particularly where its use is FD policy.
Take care and stay safe,
01-11-2001, 09:06 AM #20rfd241Firehouse.com Guest
I dunno if you are trying to be superman or trying to protect your macho image here or what the deal is. But there is absolutely no reason to not wear a hood. You should have enough proper training with a hood that you know what the indicators are of when you need to get out. Like when your shield or gear begins to melt, I think you could consider that a good time to get out. Or when the air you are breathing from your bottle is too hot for you to breath in. There are many other indicators for knowing when to get out other than using your ears as "thermometers". I am not sure what the rest of you think but I am no sacrificing my hearing and ears to discover that I am too close at a job.
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