03-25-2001, 09:49 PM #1fireflyerFirehouse.com Guest
Fighting wildland fires in turnout gear?
I belong to a VFD that responds to structural and grass fires within our county. Forestry backs us up when the terrain gets too difficult for our engines and personnel to reach or the fire gets too large. Because we are primarily a structural firefighting department, everyone responds to grass fires in structural turnout gear. We are in the south, so in the summer it gets extremely HOT and with the strenuous exercise of wildland fires, we have many who just refuse to don their turnout gear. Several of us have invested in wildland gear so we can last longer fighting the fire and not have a heat stroke, however, those in managment ignore our inquiries into purchasing wildland gear for the county firefighters. How do other structural departments adjust to the wildland fire aspect? Any suggestions to get people to gear up or get wildland gear? The SOGs do no good. Half the ones enforcing them don't wear gear at wildland fires.
03-26-2001, 12:33 AM #2LtStickFirehouse.com Guest
I think someone in management needs a wake up call. We don't use our tog on brush fires except for our bunker coats when its cold out or if the fire is endangering a structure we will use our full tog. It makes no sence. Up here they don't want us wearing our TOG on brush fires. That's not what it was designed for. There only making things harder on the Firefighters. Maybe talk to someone from Forestry and have them send a letter to the county recomending you not wear your tog on brush fires. You are the ones out fighting these incidents and you should be properly dressed for the job.
Hope this helps
03-26-2001, 07:00 PM #3RodFirehouse.com Guest
I have the same problem here in Illinois. We have always used our TOG for all calls because that it the only gear we have! Over the past few years we have seen an increase in the number of grass (brush) fires and an increase in the injuries. I have purchased my own Wildland PPE and have become the "Department Experiment". We are two years into this "experiment" and while the front line firefighters think my gear is great, convincing not only the command staff but the Chief is another. I asked him the other day, What is it going to take? I already know the answer: A LOOD! and maybe not even then!
Firefighting... the only REAL job for us crazy ones
03-28-2001, 06:34 PM #4Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
If your department recognizes NFPA Standards have them check NFPA Standard 1977, dealing with PPE for Wildland Fire Fighting.
Not for sure if Mississippi is an OSHA State or not, however it should not matter. Personnel need to have proper protective clothing when engauged in Wildland fire. Regular PPE work for structural fires, but not on wildland.
Might want to check NIOSH investigation pages relating to firefighter deaths and injuries.
Here's a couple which might help:
Other information which might Help:
Seen some of the firefighters in Florida having problem with wearing Full PPE's in 98. I know you could get a lot of information out of Florida if you can get with someone from there.
Also..the $250 to $300 dollars spent on Nomex pants and shirts for wildland fire fighting is a lot cheeper than the $1200 to $1600 spent on structural gear. Not to mention the possible saving in Workman Comp clams due to having to send someone to the hospital for heat exhaustion.
Our department issues Nomex shirts and brush helmets, which meet Standard 1977. The department also furnishes duty boots which will work in our area for wildland fire fighting. We do not furnish Nomex pants, since the largest part of our wildfires are in hardwood forest. We have been working on possibly updating the wildland ppe's by possibly furnishing the newer Nomex pants, which can be put on over our other pants while fighting wildland fires.
Good Luck and keep Safe
[This message has been edited by Captain Hickman (edited 03-28-2001).]
03-29-2001, 10:17 AM #5LtStickFirehouse.com Guest
That's unfortunate that so many departments still use structural firefighting tog for brush fires. The Forestry personnel around here wear nomex shirts hard hats, camouflage pants and leather boots. I'm not sure if Forestry provides them or if they have to buy there own.
03-29-2001, 11:19 AM #6PatDunnFirehouse.com Guest
If cost is a major concern try looking into cotton type coveralls for wildland fires. I know that many will be against this but they work fine and the cost is much cheaper than nomex or 2 piece ensembles. Here in Oklahoma many of our small rural fire departments are forced to this sacrifice. This type of gear works fine. I feel for you having to wear structure gear It really wears on a person. Going from high tech gear to simple fr cotton coveralls is a sacrifice, but it is 100% better than loosing a man to heat exhaustion
I hope this helps
03-29-2001, 09:53 PM #7countycrewFirehouse.com Guest
I know this isn't exactly the NFPA or OSHA way, but it beats not wearing anything or wearing full turn out gear. Most gear, structural gear has removable liners, pull those out and you are left with the outer shell of your turn out coat and pants. It will be lighter, cooler, and in reality just as protective (more so) as forestry gear.
*Just An Idea*
04-02-2001, 05:13 AM #8AC6Firehouse.com Guest
We are like a lot of you. We have no wildland gear but fortunately our chief is trying to equip everyone with them its just a matter of paying for them that is the sticking point.
For those of you that don't have the wildland gear and even those that do be sure and provide rehab and pay attention to each other. We had one call that ended up sending 2 guys to the hospital for heat and dehydration problems and they were 2 of the youngest that responded. Young and gung-ho but didn't pace themselves.
04-02-2001, 09:59 PM #9d308Firehouse.com Guest
A trick that we use is to take the liner out of our structural PPE. May not be the best thing but when money is short you do what you have to to ensure saftey.
Hope this helps
04-03-2001, 06:41 PM #10nomad1085Firehouse.com Guest
We will often jus wear the bunker pants/ boots without the coat, or if it isn't major, work boots and jeans. Most of our brush fires are just leaves and under brush in a small area. If the situation dictates, it is easy to put the gear on when needed. There is no need to have a Heat Stroke fighting a fire tha is 5" high burning in the back yard.
04-04-2001, 06:28 PM #11Fireguy57Firehouse.com Guest
The last large fire I was at, made me wonder if the other companies had anything left "up there"(brains). The fire tower reported a small fire with in very well view to them. But of course they only put towers away from normal civilization(at least in this part of Pa). By the time we got the call, and arrived On scene(about 20 miles from the nearest state road) almost 40 acres of forest was well done-but burned out. They called out only two companies at the time because a land owner reported a structure fire instead, which when we got close, obviously was not the case, by that time the DNR had JUST contacted dispatch about the coordinates! We asked that all brush trucks and two forest fire crews would respond, and the DNR with a fly by to make sure it didn't get into the valley. Here about 10 guys show up with full TOG. They said we were crazy not to where it because the briar bushes don't burn. We simply stated that we didn't wear the TOG so we didn't have all that extra weight when we carried them out for heat stroke...They left, end of story.
04-05-2001, 12:51 AM #12LtStickFirehouse.com Guest
I've seen a few use there TOG gear on brush fires before. I have used my turn out coat a time or two when it was rather cold out but, I've never used my bunker pants when going to one. It would be acceptable if you were going on an Engine to protect structures but, not to go tramping through the woods. I've been to ones that when you got there you got off your unit and walked several miles through the woods. This is not what TOG was designed or meant for. Around here forestry will even tell you that they wouldn't recommend you wearing TOG. Why work harder than you have to.
04-14-2001, 07:05 AM #13Terry StokesFirehouse.com Guest
Shame those who expect you to fight fire in structural gear. Has the brass lost touch? Captain Hickman has the right chain of thought on this. Use wrongs of the past to make rights of the future.
04-14-2001, 12:33 PM #14LogsFirehouse.com Guest
Isn't firefighting tough with using the right equipment? Would you fight a structure fire with wildland gear? Get your safety folks and officers to get the appropriate equipment to do the job.
Wildland coveralls are an option. I've had that introduced in my own department. If you're going to buy the gear, shop around. I'd go with the nomex rather than the indura cotton.
04-23-2001, 02:11 AM #15Westlake23Firehouse.com Guest
I agree with using just plain nomex. Personally that's what I use, and I purchased my own. Yes, I know it can get expensive, but I got mine from a supplier, and the three shirts & two pair of pants cost me $150. And that was indura. Which is the heaviest stuff that I know of. But did come in handy last year on a large trash fire that ended up being 4 departments fighting on it. There were people out there in full turn out, fighting this trash fire and sweating like there was no tomorrow. Also they were havig to slog through the mud with all that turn out gear on. Needless to say I got some strange looks fighting on that fire in blue nomex. But I was alot cooler, and a lot mor comfortable.
[This message has been edited by Westlake23 (edited 04-23-2001).]
04-23-2001, 02:17 PM #16cfr3504Firehouse.com Guest
My department right now is currently looking into applying for a grant for wildland gear. We don't have any, and run a lot of brush fires. I've only used my coat once or twice, like has been said, when it was cold out. I do usually use my pants, boots, gloves, and (if in the woods) helmet. But this all depends on what clothes I have on when I leave the house. If I've got jeans and work boots on , then I'll just use that, and everyone else pretty much does the same. I've got an old pair of bunker pants, and I'm going to start carrying those with me, along with a pair of work boots, cause it would be more comfortable than my fire boots , and I won't have to worry about burning the scotchlite off my new TOG pants.
04-23-2001, 10:53 PM #17fireeater650Firehouse.com Guest
Yeah we bought some wildland gear a few years ago, and it looks real nice considering it is STILL SITTING IN THE BOX IT CAME IN!!!!
What a crock of $hit.
04-29-2001, 07:52 PM #18ff emt-p bleveFirehouse.com Guest
Structural firefighters responding to ground cover fire / interface fires need to operate in both worlds, wildland and structural.That requires both types of gear with training.In kentucky most fire departments do not have both they make do with tog or a budweiser t-shirt they happen to have on.If your paid your duty uniform. lets wakeup. 1999 cost a lot of firefighters there lives, some were over protected on wildland(TOG) which caused heart attacks. Some were under protected no shelters.Lets educate firefighter about the importance of both.I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A NICKLE FOR EVERY TIME I'VE HEARD THE phrase( BUT WE ALWAYS FOUGHT THEM THIS
WAY).So many times my department is dispatch to a brush fire and find a structural involved or paged to a house and have brush only involed.Structural gear for a quick initial attack 30 minutes or less is ok, but watch your folks, rehab and get them in the light weight gear for the long haul. A Wildland / Wildland urban interface is a different type of animal which require training. They have on any given day the ability to take a life.
April 6TH 1999 Island Fork Rowan County Kentucky.That day my department lost the battle and paid a terrible price.
[This message has been edited by ff emt-p bleve (edited 04-29-2001).]
04-30-2001, 10:03 AM #19fyrepiper1Firehouse.com Guest
Here in Florida after the 98' fire's my department issued to our designated wildfire stations nomex cover gear that could go over your uniform or be worn with a t-shirt. We utilize our issued bunker boot which is the Wellington leather bunker boot. Though it is not quite the optimum gear it is a lot better and a cooler then using regular TOG. It's working for us here in Central Florida
04-30-2001, 07:53 PM #20weir_33Firehouse.com Guest
I agree with ff emt-p bleve If your not part of the solution your part of the problem. If your going to go wear the right gear and know what to do when you get there or you may be the next call !! Our DNR just started a 8hr basic training course for wildland fire. The biggest empaphis was put on saftey.they pay for expenses and manpower on extended calls which is to the tune of $2-$3,000.00 a year this year we bought treated cotton coverals with the money for $100.00 a pair for anyone who was willing to take the course Incentives pay off STAY SMART STAY SAFE
Summerville Vol Fire Dept
Pride In Service !
04-30-2001, 09:00 PM #21killerbFirehouse.com GuestOriginally posted by fireeater650:
Yeah we bought some wildland gear a few years ago, and it looks real nice considering it is STILL SITTING IN THE BOX IT CAME IN!!!!
What a crock of $hit.
Assistant Fire Chief
Silver City VFD, OK
05-01-2001, 06:08 PM #22wtfd655Firehouse.com Guest
Related to fireflyer's original question, for those of you who do use wildland fire gear, how did you get the officers to originally agree to it?
I belong to a volunteer department that makes approximately 400+ runs per year. About 4 or 5 of these turn out to be grass/field fires.
I have submitted a written request to our line officers to allow me to wear the set of Nomex that I have. I should probaly state that I do have red card certification through the state DNR. There are others on the department who currently have the certification, or have held it in the past.
Nothing has come out of this request yet, though I haven't pressed the issue. My request asked that those of us that have the certification be allowed to wear the Nomex on wildfires, with the understanding that we will have tog with us in case of structure fire.
Anyone have ideas?
I'm afraid that if I push the issue too much more, I'll get "we've always fought it with tog" or "we'll tell you to take your coat off if it's too hot" or something similar that basically tells me they won't consider it...
05-02-2001, 07:18 AM #23koalaFirehouse.com Guest
My agency actually got its head together with PPE manufactures and said 50% of our business is wildfire related and the other 50% is structural/rescue/hazmat/other and designed TOG that meets Australian standards by manufacturing a nomex shell garment with detachable liners. Respond to a wildfire incident and only wear the shell garment, respond to a structural incident - done the liners, then pull the shell over the top.
Helmets are the New Zealand made Pacific weighing approx 1100 grams compared to the Bullard of approx 1300 grams.
It might not sound ideal but it works alright.
05-02-2001, 08:25 AM #24LogsFirehouse.com Guest
As far as convincing your management team to accept your suggestions for wildland gear, here's a few recommendations:
1. Ask for a meeting with them and review NFPA 1977 with them. Make a strong point on the purpose of the standard and applicability pf the propper PPE for the incident.
2. Review NFPA 1500 with them and emphasize the sections for rehab.
3. Invite them to work on fires wearing tog and wildland gear. Let them see and experience the difference.
05-02-2001, 02:31 PM #25Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
Another two cents:
As Log stated..Look at the National Fire Protection Associations Standards...
However, you may have a hard time justifing Wildland PPE's if you don't run to many wildland fires. We may not run a great number of wildland fires, as compaired to other types of calls, but we do a fair share of them. When you talk cost of PPE's to management, it sometimes get hard to justify the expense.
Since some of us are recognized by the Forest Service as being Red Carded, we are aware of the importance of having proper Wildland PPE's. There are many departments which have never had the proper training or the need for wildland gear since their fires seldom reach a large size. We sometime get to the fire, knock it down and mop-up the situation quicker than it takes to get our PPE's on. But there are the times when we're out for 10 to 12 hours and that bursh gear is really nice to have.
One suggestion you might do is to have management look into the cost of wildland gear. With the price of a set of Structural PPE's today, approximatly $1300 to $1600 per set, a department could purchase several brush helmets, pairs of paints, and shirts for the cost of say two sets of structural gear. this maynot outfit the entire department, but it could be a good start. You might also work out some type of program with your state or US Forest Service in your area, to supply some shirts and pants. Your department will be held accountable for the equipment since it is not likly they will give it to you, but it might be worth the shot to try.
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