Thread: 3/4 boots vs bunker pants
01-30-2001, 05:39 PM #1nobull911Firehouse.com Guest
3/4 boots vs bunker pants
i was just wondering if any departments still use the high boots and long coats these days. do the big cities still use them? i can't imagine not having bunker pants on when entering a fire.
01-30-2001, 05:59 PM #2esvfdfirefighterFirehouse.com Guest
Bunker Pants, i never had a chance to wear the boots and coats, i started out with the nomex gear and then a few years ago we bought all new stuff, which was the PBI gold and this is by far the best gear that i have worn in my 8 years of firefighting.....i never experienced the boots and don't really think i would want to try them either...
01-30-2001, 06:48 PM #3StaylowFirehouse.com Guest
We don't wear the 3/4 boots, but do wear the wool pants and long coats. I would much rather wear them to a fire than the turnout pants. They are much more comfortable and less cumbersome to work in. This is particularly true while on a roof. I'm sure one of these days we'll have to go to full turnouts, but for now I am fortunate not to.
01-30-2001, 08:48 PM #4GreenCapFirehouse.com Guest
When I started out we had the 3/4 boot's and long coats. Some of us even had the Cairns & Brother "rubber" coats that the New York guys used to wear. I liked it and so did most of the guys I work with. I am aware that the new stuff offers more protection. I am also aware that their are arguments that say it protects us too well and we may not know when we are getting into trouble. But personally I would rather wear the old stuff. It's cooler in the summer and there's nothing worse that having a fire in the beginning of your shift and then putting on wet stuff for every run you have all day long.
01-30-2001, 08:55 PM #5allhandsFirehouse.com Guest
I've been in the fire service for 15 years and seen the "innovations" of bunkerpants, nomex hoods and all the rest of the S#$t, and I can honestly say that the 3/4 boots and long coats are definitely better. Todays recruits have never felt the heat of the fire, never known the feeling associated withthe invisible line that signifies the time to leave. We are at the point where we are trying to take the judgement out of the fire service and forcing unproven "safety" standards of gear on a group of newcomers who don't know the difference. MANPOWER puts out fires and until we have the standards in place that require volunteer andpaid depts to muster a minimum amount of strength to a scene,we will continue to depend on the clothing manufacturers to give us a false sense of safety by legislating what we need. Go to a major fire where the crews are really working and watch what goes on because of this high tech safety equip. on a hot day and you'll know why we can't function....we're beat and there is no help coming.
01-30-2001, 08:57 PM #6firehat87Firehouse.com Guest
I understand that Chicago just went to bunker pants about a year ago. I'm sure there are still some northeastern departments that wear the 3/4 boots.
01-30-2001, 09:13 PM #7Neptune 33Firehouse.com Guest
If I recall, in the early 90's our insurance company made us switch to the full set for interior firefighting. The only members who use the long coats and 3/4 boots, are our junior members, who can really only roll hose.
01-30-2001, 09:38 PM #8ENGINE18-3Firehouse.com Guest
Being a Firefighter for only 2 years 2 months & 19 days all I have ever worn has been the full bunker gear ensemble I have posted previously in favor of bunker gear and from hearing from the older guys at the FD and the other posts of guys who wore the 3/4s & longcoats I have to say that I am starting to agree with them about 3/4s & longcoats and if my Dept. gave us the option I would wear the 3/4s and longcoat.
That might make some people that I know cringe but oh well.
The statements above are my own opinions
FF Greg Grudzinski
Oaklyn Fire Dept.
01-31-2001, 12:25 AM #9AdzeFirehouse.com Guest
Been in my FD for 9 years...Bunker gear the whole time. My FD switched to bunkers about 11-13 years ago. I still remember my brother and father coming home with the brand new gear. They also issued my brother a metro with the bunkers. However, they never took his issued New Yorker away. Gee...can you guess which one he wore? Still got the metro laying around my parent's house. Good as new, never been worn...anyone interested?
Engine18-3: Most old guys in this service bitch about the bunker gear because most people (especially the ones who have been around awhile) in the fire service don't adapt to well to new things. They learn something, do it for years, then if you try to do it differently you tend to meet alot of resistance.
01-31-2001, 10:15 AM #10Halligan84Firehouse.com Guest
In 15 years, have you seen any difference in fire behavior? Do windows vent themselves as easily as they used to? Changes in furnishings resulted in hotter fires over the years? Are we arriving and getting inside as flashover occurs more often rather than post flashover? Was Project FIRES, which the IAFF was a major player in, an unproven safety study? Finally, given that reduced manpower is reality, why would we ever reduce the level of protection for ourselves? It would be nice to have a 6 man truck and get the windows out each and every time and the roof opened fast when we need it, but do you think that is around the corner? As far as heat, I think you can learn to get out in time. You can feel heat through your turnouts in many cases, you can watch whats happening around you, you can use thermal imaging, companies are making sensors to let you know. By the way, the same guys that never experienced heat are going to fewer fires than ever before, how does that add to the mix? Some of the more notable fatals involved an extremely rapid rate of fire growth, light to moderate conditions to flashover in seconds, where your additional sensitivity would be useless and your reduced protection critical. I won't doubt that Boston (which went against NFPA/OSHA) has reasons for its study and many seasoned firefighters capable of making their own minds up, but when the kid from 18-3 with 2 years and probably 2 fires under his belt starts to think that way its scary. Im sure if the internet were around 20 years ago, some guys would still be having this conversation about SCBA. If manning and training is the issue, address that, figure out how to do the job with what you have. Don't do things the same old way with new equipment and less manpower, then complain about it.
01-31-2001, 12:32 PM #11FireLt1951Firehouse.com Guest
After 28 years and many of those wearing the 3/4 boots, I have to say that bunker pants are the answer. They were hard to get use to but after numerous incidents in Detroit, where myself and other firefighters ended up with severe burns to you know what area, by means of floors giving way, falling down during interior attacks, ceilings collapsing and embers getting in your boots plus the other numerous mishaps that are inherent with interior attack, the bunkers are better protection overall. Besides your knees don't get burned as often
01-31-2001, 01:05 PM #12Lewiston2CaptFirehouse.com Guest
I mentioned this in the last forum about this topic. For the career FD's this is a feasible discussion, as for the Volunteer contingent it is a moot point, as I volunteer I know that I tend to show up to fires in what I am wearing at the time (mostly jeans and a t-shirt), these articles of clothing is neither heat resistant, nor fire retardant. IMHO Bunkers are the safest way to go for the Volunteer fire service. Lighter weight and more manuverable is obviously better.
Shawn M. Cecula
Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2
01-31-2001, 01:38 PM #13RJEFirehouse.com Guest
I started as a Jr. in 1978, and was issued a "well used" long coat and pull-up boots. They were "retired" gear from full FFs (I was a junior). Two years later I got my full gear w/bunker pants. I used both. But...
6 months later dept policy changed to bunker pants only for interior firefighting. I agreed with the policy at the time, and I still do. My dad's assistant chief (I moved away years ago), and the policy is still the same. Pull-ups and bunker coat are okay for EMS and MVA (w/o extrication) and wildfires. Bunker pants are required for extrication or interior structural firefighting (and yes, nomex hoods are required for interior as well).
This was a vol. dept., so we had the typical problem with showing up wearing polyester pants (remember, 1978 here!). About '84 or so, we all got issued nomex jumpsuits for wildland fires or to throw on over whatever if we were wearing the "wrong" thing.
01-31-2001, 11:21 PM #14EngineforlifeFirehouse.com Guest
Different jobs require different protection. As an engine man for life..I will be wearing pants for a better advantage at the seat of a fire. 3/4 boots or the wool pants and work boots, like my man from San Fran wears, would be great for truck companies. Less cumbersome and more stability climbing ladders and working on roof tops.
Trucks without bunker pants would also help out the engine companies by keeping the truckies away from the seat of the fire to perform their vital functions that are mainly outside.
01-31-2001, 11:25 PM #15nobull911Firehouse.com Guest
i'd be afraid to burn my butt. not wearing bunker pants would be on the same level of not wearing SCBA....no way in hell
02-05-2001, 05:18 PM #16CFDENG23Firehouse.com Guest
I was one of the posters on a previous thread on this subject and I got rubbed the wrong way by a few of the other posts. Everbody has an opinion and everyone thinks that their's is the right one. I'll say the same thing I said before, I don't think I'll ever be convinced that going back to hip boots and rubber coats is a good thing. Adze hit on the head with some being resistant to technology and change.
And eng 18-3 stick with what you were taught and don't go backwards.
02-05-2001, 07:19 PM #17FCDaveFirehouse.com Guest
In my time, I have only used bunker pants, and I don't think that I'd want to experiment with anything else.
Also, Chicago FD is still wearing the 3/4 boots. Tradition is VERY important in their department. I don't know if that's a good reason to con't wearing the 3/4 boots, but who am I to judge?
02-06-2001, 04:52 PM #18fireeater650Firehouse.com Guest
i think any male firefighter would agree, 3/4 boots leave your most important part unprotected.........your crotch.
[This message has been edited by fireeater650 (edited 02-06-2001).]
02-06-2001, 07:56 PM #19allhandsFirehouse.com Guest
To Everyone: I know you think I am backwards in my thinking but if you look at the most recent finding from Boston you will see that the bunker pants and coats are causing more injuries than they are preventing.A second degree burn on the thigh or whatever is far better than a heat stress induced heart attack or stroke. We all have the same job to do, protect life and save property. Lets look at all the facts before we end up killing ourselves in the long term from the cumulative effects of these garments that the manufacturers push as the standard.
02-06-2001, 11:50 PM #20Halligan84Firehouse.com Guest
I don't think your backwards for wanting to reduce stress related injuries, but lets look at the causes before reducing our protection. I'm curious if I missed something or what, but did Boston do a study or is this the study?... FDNY recently came out and said the PPE was necessary and they would look for other ways to combat stress. Another question is, how do Phoenix, Houston and LA.. places that deal with much more heat than we do deal with it? Differences in fitness? response policies? Rehab? All need answers.
02-10-2001, 10:47 AM #21FireLt1951Firehouse.com Guest
Most departments now are going to a system that only allows the interior attack crew to be in a heated area for 15-20 minutes and then they will switch crews. This allows the original attack team to go outside and cool themselves off. This system has helped to reduce heat stress related complications.The problem here is that in some departments staffing levels sometimes do not allow for this. Irregaurdless of that, the bunker pants offer better protection overall.If you feel the stress from heat inform your officer that you must leave the area.Tis better to leave and let others continue than to suffer the effects of heat stress related problems.
02-10-2001, 10:49 AM #22FireloverFirehouse.com Guest
My department had an old pair, but this was way before my time. I'm bunker pants and if I was given the choice I would probably go with Pants anyways.
If you sent us to HELL, WE'D PUT IT OUT!!
02-10-2001, 01:30 PM #23FREDFirehouse.com Guest
I sat down for awhile and thought about this question for awhile before I wrote. Although it is a bit long I think that a discussion on this topic requires more than just a "two paragraph" thought
I personally wore 3/4's only a handful of times in my former dept. There was a noticeable difference in heat build-up and stress.
I will not pretend to be an expert or have all the answers however I can see benefits for both sides of the argument.
I belive that what Boston and Chicago are doing is the smart way to tackle the issue. They are both evaluating the Bunker gear, before purchasing it in Chicago's case and in Boston's Re-evaluating after years of data have been obtained.
It would be nice if the problem was just burns but reality is that it is not. There are other mitigating circumstances that are effecting the studies...heat stress, heart attacks ect.
There are those who would say that they are only sticking with the 3/4's because of Tradition, Using "tradition" in that sense makes it sound like a bad thing...Tradition is not something that is done "just because that is the way it has always been done" There are reasons that certain practices are repeated...because they work! Thus it becomes standard practice or..."traditional"
It makes more sense for a Dept. to evaluate the gear on their own than to take to word from some dealer.
Yes, FDNY did evaluate the gear before implementing it, however no test program can always fully evaluate all possible events that will be encountered. One must remember that in all of these Depts there are major political and financial issues that affect the decision process.
There has been some (the UFA and UFOA) in the FDNY who have spoken of its limitations after the recent cases of LODD's.
The Dept of course is going to support the gear...The city spent millions to outfit the FDNY, do you think that it is wise for the commissioner of the FDNY(who is a political appointment) to come out and say "We were wrong...we shouldn't have bought all this stuff!" I also don't think that it is beyond the realm of probabilities that Morning Pride had thrown in some incentives to sweeten the deal.
There are also many members who wish they could go back to the 3/4's. On the flip side there are many who like the new pants.(especially engine guy's)
I would like to think that's why Boston left it up in the meantime to the men themselves to decide what they would wear...After all that's what the stuff is called, isn't it....PPE--PERSONAL Protective Equipment.
Overall I think we all should look to see what the results of the BFD and CFD's studies are. See what the reasons behind their decisions are. If those same reasons apply to your dept. perhaps one should look at his dept if they are needed there. These larger Depts. can be an asset for the smaller ones that don't have the $$$ to properly evaluate such issues. This information will be of more value than that from a dealer who is out to make $$$.
Those are just my thoughts I would also like to hear what others think on this issue. Until then I will still be wearing my bunkers and waiting for their results.
Two cents from a fireman.
[This message has been edited by FRED (edited 02-10-2001).]
02-10-2001, 05:19 PM #24John_FordFirehouse.com Guest
Started in 3/4's and long coats. Pre SCBA too and I'm not braggin. walked out of too many buildings with my boots filled to the top with water. First guy to buy bunkers in my co. I still have 3/4's size 13 dontcha know. Basements and flooding conditions. Went through a floor once, again not bragging. If I had worn 3/4's and a long coat, I would have been burned. Sorry I'll deal with the heat, just have to slow down a little and watch your brothers and sisters to make sure they aren't burning themselves out. Saith this old dog.
02-14-2001, 12:30 AM #25ceiliFirehouse.com Guest
Here in San Antonio we switched to full bunkers several years ago. We had the same arguments against full PPE. So far we have not had anyone die of heat stoke. We did adjust tactics to provide more manpower as well as set up re-hab criteria before you can be released to fight more fire. We have not looked back nor do we long for the pull-ups.
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