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Thread: Black turnouts

  1. #1
    dmk
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down Black turnouts

    My department is thinking about going to black turnouts. We have Tan ones. 1)I would like to know who has black ones.
    2)Is black better than Tan. 3)safer to be seen
    4)Black does not show the dirt. How do you know they are dirty. 5)Why does most everyone wear tan turnouts.

  2. #2
    toddmcbr
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    My department has black bunker gear with orange stripes and I think they show up just as good as anything else. I actually like them better because they don't show the dirt.

    I don't think black is better. Its just a matter of personal preference.

  3. #3
    OLE
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    We have tan and I see more and more people getting away from black (absorbs heat, and yes, you do want the dirt to show so you are able to get it off! Can't see it as well in the dark as light tan turn outs. Any more it's not how you look, it's how you want to be most safe!

  4. #4
    Truckman
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    This is a subject of debate among all kinds of safety extremists. Is black a "safe" color for turnouts?

    Now I prefer black. I believe that it maintains a professional appearance longer than lighter colors because it doesn't show permanent stains (take a look at tan, yellow, or white after one fire). As far as not knowing if it's clean, I say the individual should be responsible for cleaning their gear. If you think they're dirty, clean them.

    As far as the visibility of the color, any color can be difficult to see at night, that is why there is a requirement for reflective trim.

    Finally, there is the heat factor. My department issues tan. Reason being that the ones responsible feel that it is cooler in hot weather. Having worn both, I don't notice much differance, if any. When it is 100 degrees with 80% humidity, it's all hot.

    The issue of color is more about tradition, not safety. We can hold on to traditions and still be safe, i.e. NFPA still allows red fire apparatus even though someone said it was not a safe color.(thank god for that)

    Good Luck, Be Safe


    [This message has been edited by Truckman (edited 05-29-2001).]

  5. #5
    eyecue
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    You are right about black looking good longer. It doesnt show the battle scars as bad. As far as sun heat goes its no biggie because they are designed to keep high heat out. The lighter colors reflect heat and light better and there is an issue with dyeing PBI. Also Kevlar fades in the sun and shows that it is time to replace it if you see red spots due to heat exposure. As far as washing goes: After every exposure to heavy smoke it should be washed. If you are in an interior attack and you are done, the gear should be sprayed down while you are in it and have SCBA on. Then it needs to be removed and bagged, taken to the station and washed. IF you can smell smoke on it, wash it.

  6. #6
    FRED
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Interesting topic...

    I read a report conducted by the NTIS(or one of those organizations) and other organizations some years back...they looked at the color of gear.

    If memory serves the studies found little effect of radiant heat on the body's core temp.(which is what is really important.) The surface temp increase vs. tan was negligent.

    As for tan being more visible...my personal experince has been at night all I can see is the reflective striping thus making tan gear look black. The striping is what makes it visible not the tan color.

    As for stains and cleaning...black does have a better appearance in my opinion. There are some stains that just wont come out...Tar being one of them. Black hides them well.

    I have not seen NFPA or OSHA come out against black gear. which to me is more evidence that if one wants to have black gear...so be it, if you want tan, blue, red or what ever color you so desire who cares. Just so it is what your men need to operate effectively and efficently.

    Two cents from a fireman.

  7. #7
    Plug-Ugly
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    One word sums up why fire coats should be black......TRADITION. They go with leather helmets and red fire engines. Maybe it's just more of a northeast tradition.

  8. #8
    Captain Gonzo
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    My Department issues black turnout gear. The last time that we made a gear purchase, the Chief allowed us to decide the color...after all, we are the ones that have to wear it.

    In 1982, we did get yellow Nomex gear...with the yellow reflective stripes....we looked like a bunch of bumblebees! They didn't stay yellow for too long, and even after washing had a dingy look to them.

    Black does hide the dirt well. If it is exposed to extreme heat, our gear (made out of P84) will turn brown. Gear washing is important. I try to wash my turnouts at least quarterly and after any structure fire.

    ------------------
    Firefighters: Today's heroes protecting everyone's tomorrows!
    Captain Gonzo

  9. #9
    ggtruckie
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    My department swithed back to black after about 10 years of wearing that tan crap. I perfer it, my reason is that no one else in our jurisdiction wears black gear so we stand out, and can easily recognize our crew. No dirt dosent show up as easy, and yes thats a bad thing, so just wash it reguarlly which we should do anyway. and does it really matter if black absorbs heat more, its like wearing a winter jacket during summer, do you think that the color of this coat matters, I haven't noticed feeling hotter in it yet. Plus we look damn good in it.

  10. #10
    jizumper-5
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    I happen to have 2 sets of gear with 2 departments. (recently moved) One black and one tan. It doesn't really matter what color I where, I just want the best protection. My personal preference in tan (PBI/Kevlar) for no other reason except it looks good with the black leather . Just my 2 cents.

    ------------------
    Keep Safe!

  11. #11
    FHandz17
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I don't understand the "black hides the dirt arguement". I thought it was every firemans goal to look as if he just crawled out from under a coal pile. We want our helmets to look like they were baked at 400 degrees for 2 hours, but we want out turnouts to look like they brand new????????

    However, I do think black looks better, more traditional, not because it's cleaner.

  12. #12
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    I've had black, yellow, tan and off-gray turnouts over the years. I have one set of tan (PBI) and one off-gray (Nomex III) now. It really has never made a difference to me what color my turnout gear was, and it still doesn't. I wash my gear often because it's simply good maintenance of the gear, not because I care even the slightest how it looks. I've never been convinced of any performance difference based on color of gear (material, design, and construction are what makes the difference, as far as I can tell).

    Frankly, I don't understand what all the fuss over how we look is all about. I buy based on what works for me (which is why my flashlights came right off the MagLite shelf at Kmart), what I think is the best overall value (that's how I got the Nomex III gear), or to evaluate new products/compare products (which is why I have three hoods...one Nomex, one PBI, and one P84...in case anyone cares, I like the P84). Shouldn't we be more worried about what works than about how pretty we look?

  13. #13
    FFShooty
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    Gee....I thought it was all about black gear, and leather helmets with bourkes. I mean after all, when you cut through all the b/s, it's about how we look isn't it?


    FTM-PTB-EGH

  14. #14
    Captain Gonzo
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    As Billy Crystal's Saturday Night Live character Fernando would say...

    Firefighters arriving at a scene wearing black gear, leather helmets and riding on red fire trucks....darling, that's mahvelous...simply mahvelous!!!

    ------------------
    Firefighters: Today's heroes protecting everyone's tomorrows!
    Captain Gonzo

  15. #15
    FF 13 50
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I think one main advantage black gear has over tan is when its exposed to extreme heat the dye actaully burns out of the coat, its a good indicator that your gear is going to defect. I think it might be a pyschological thing also but because of the extreme contrast between black and yellow striping, compared to tan and yellow striping, i think the black gear's more noticible at dark. But im not sure.

    _____________________________________________
    The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.

  16. #16
    firefighter0143
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    my department (s.f.f.d)
    issues black turnouts with yellow-green stripes
    for the reason of tradition.we even still use wooden ladders

  17. #17
    firefighter0143
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    my department (s.f.f.d)
    issues black turnouts with yellow-green stripes
    for the reason of tradition.we even still use wooden ladders....yep we gotta have our leather helmets too.....if your going for black get the pbi's there better .....
    so you guys stay out of trouble now ok
    station 2
    dan

  18. #18
    FFShooty
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    Wooden Ladders eh? You guys still using buckets or have you graduated to a Steamer yet?


    FTM-PTB-EGH

  19. #19
    OLE
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Gee TRUCKMAN, where was my LOGIC??? It's pretty sad that the safety EXTREMISTS have to look at all angles for the betterment of the departments instead of LOOKING MACHO. "SAFETY EXTREMISTS" hummmmm, an oxi-moron????

  20. #20
    APG1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I personally don't think it makes too much of a difference. Clean looking black looks just as professional as clean tan. Personally, I wear tan, but it's beginning to show it's years. I probably need to replace my trousers here soon (if anyone has size 30 tan pbi trousers they want to pass or or sell cheap, drop me a email at tgeil@mail.cu-online.com. )

    It all looks the same in a burning building. So long as it's not that yellow bumblebee stuff, rock on.

  21. #21
    Truckman
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    OLE

    Just so you know, I was not singling you out.

    For the sake of argument, a few years ago I read an article on a fire apparatus color study. In a nut shell they found out that red fire apparatus were in more MVA's than other colors. They concluded that this was also because there are more apparatus that are painted red.

    Now, my so called "safety extremists" used the first part of this to justify the painting of apparatus to "slime green," white or any other bright color. They failed to look at the entire picture.

    If this scenario is the basis for the safety of turnout color(one could argue that it is), then maybe we should all go back to black turnouts, because I see more pictures of firefighters wearing yellow and tan than black. So I might be justified in saying that more of them are being hit by cars and falling out from heat injuries.

    Until NFPA or OSHA stops approving black it is still safe.

    I hope I did not offend the brothers who ride in other than red apparatus.

    Be Safe

  22. #22
    truck12tillerman
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In S.F.F.D, we also make our own ladders, and brass appliances. Tradition is a way of life for us, and we are really an anachronism on the west coast. We are much closer to FDNY than LAFD... Also, the black gear encourages the youngins to wash their gear regularly because it doesn't look much dirtier whether you do or don't wash it, so they can't look "salty"....along with the discoloration from heat already given.
    As far as hoods go, we dont WEAR no stinkin hoods...feel it with your ears..
    IF you can afford it, get Morning Pride gear..Its probably the best out there.

  23. #23
    Lewiston2Capt
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I wasn't offended by the non-red apparatus comment truckman. I deal with those comments every day. Besides I like yellow (not slime green YELLOW)... on my apparatus, not on my gear.

    ------------------
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Captain
    Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2

  24. #24
    Truckie5553
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    As far as hoods go, we dont WEAR no stinkin hoods...feel it with your ears..

    Oh my god! Do you also run into the building with your coat hanging open and no airpack? Come on..this is something that was done way back when...How hot is it gonna be the first time you get caught in a flashover, well after many skin graphs, surgeries, etc...you will wished you would have had that hood to protect those ears. Maybe your department allows it, but in order to make an attack with my department, you will be in full PPE, which includes THE HOOD! Please look into this, before you get seriously hurt!

    Originally posted by truck12tillerman:
    In S.F.F.D, we also make our own ladders, and brass appliances. Tradition is a way of life for us, and we are really an anachronism on the west coast. We are much closer to FDNY than LAFD... Also, the black gear encourages the youngins to wash their gear regularly because it doesn't look much dirtier whether you do or don't wash it, so they can't look "salty"....along with the discoloration from heat already given.
    As far as hoods go, we dont WEAR no stinkin hoods...feel it with your ears..
    IF you can afford it, get Morning Pride gear..Its probably the best out there.


    ------------------
    Captain James Collier
    McMahan Fire Rescue
    KCTCS Area 6 Instructor

  25. #25
    Truckie5553
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I have wore both colors. There is not a difference heat wise with the black. I like the black for the look because after a few good fires the tan looks like a rotten banana. Dont let the "cant tell when its dirty" throw anyone off. If you see fire or any type of heavy smoke conditions, the first place your gear should go when you return the the station is to the washer. Your PPE is as good as upkeep on it. If it didnt matter whether it was dirty or not for the protection, venders would be selling it looking like it had seen 100 fires.

    ------------------
    Captain James Collier
    McMahan Fire Rescue
    KCTCS Area 6 Instructor

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