Structural vs Wildland-Equipment
I have been reading, with great interest, the many comments and responses to the Wildland Forum about the use or lack thereof for the proper PPE to wear at wildland-W/UI fires. For many years I have been talking about, writing about and "preaching to the Fire Choirs" about this important firefighter health and safety issue.It is a life safety matter that needs more attention so that the message is finally heard and understood by all firefighters of all ranks whether career, call, volunteer, structural or wildland in all geographic areas in this country.
The message is simple enough. "Wear the correct PPE for the job at hand." When I teach the federal/National Wildfire Coordinating Group's (NWCG)class, S-205/Fire Ops in the W/UI, to firefighters, I spend a lot of time explaining and showing them what correct PPE to wear at wildland-W/UI fires. Health and safety issues related to PPE are discussed, in depth.
In my travels I am seeing more and more firefighters wearing the correct PPE. And that is great to see. However, I still see too many other firefighters NOT wearing what they should at wildland-W/UI fires. Change comes slow to the fire services, this we all know. Not an excuse. Just a fact of our lives. I think that with the new funds from grant and/or other money sources that more and more firefighters will be donning the correct PPE. Hope springs eternal.
For your information...This June the International Association of Fire Chiefs will hold a national teleconference to discuss "Wildland vs Structural" firefighting equipment, PPE and other subjects germane to the issue of the structural fire services becoming increasingly invloved with wildland-W/UI fires. I suggest that you and/or your chief contact the IAFC for more information on this obviously important topic.
Do not hesitate to contact me for any further information on this subject.