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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    New England

    Question When should turnout gear be replaced?

    About half the active members of our VFD went through flash over recognition training recently. Some of our bunker coats were damaged from the heat in the trailer. Some coats had their reflective strips melt. My coat had some of the black dye "burn off" leaving a patches of red around my shoulder. Some of the guys want new coats. When is gear damaged to the point that it no longer provides maximum protection?

  2. #2
    Senior Member shammrock54's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001


    The red patches in your black gear are usually an indication that the gear is damaged. I would contact the company you bought the gear from ask about the red, in how its dyed and if that means its bad, and what can be done to check the gear to see if its still safe. Whatevers damaged needs to be replaced obviously can be and you could save money by replacing only what is needed and not the whole lot. The reflective stripping might be all thats needed on some and you might have to get a new coat or maybe just an outer shell and not the liners as well. Talk to the company and the department. Good Luck.
    Member IACOJ & IACOJ EMS Bureau
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    As always these are strictly my own opinions and views

  3. #3
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000


    When balck gear turns red, it usually means that the red areas of the gear were exposed a high amount of heat. I had little dots of red all over my original turnout gear after going through the academy from embers flying around and landing on me.

    I would have to agree and direct you to either the supplier or the manufacturer of the gear and see what their standard line is about when the gear is unsafe and go with that.

    As for the reflective striping melting, I wouldn't worry about it all that much. It is easy to replace and is not a great indicator of damage to the gear, as it is a separate part of the equipment and has its own standard.

    On the straight question fo gear replacement, I think most departments that do replace gear on a schedule usually do it on a 3 -4 year interval. this being that after 3 or 4 years you get a new set of gear. I believe this is because of the use, and exposure to sunlight, which breaks the gear down.
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  4. #4
    Forum Member RyanEMVFD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 1999
    Why? It's not like you're going to visit me! But I'm near Waco, Texas


    check out http://www.turnout-info.com
    it has some good info and links to most of the companies making bunker gear.
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
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  5. #5
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001


    There are many many takes on Protective Clothing replacement.

    Contact Southern Labs for information on inspection.

    www.turnoutgearcleaner.com has information on NFPA 1851 wich is the care and maintenance standard.

    www.quakersafety.com is another site.

    The top manufacturers as far as I know are as follows:
    #1 Lion Apparal/Janesville
    #2 Globe
    #3 Morning Pride
    #4 Quaker Safety

    The others that have commented on the changing of colors are right on targer. That is an indication of excessive heat exposure. Take out your liner and look at it. Is it scorched or discolored under the discolored outer shell. If so...it is time to have the gear evaluated by the "3rd Party" indicated in NFPA 1851.

    As far a what kind....well...most of the manufacturers buy their fabric from either dupont or Souther Mills. They all have to meet the same construction criteria (NFPA 1971, 2000 Edition). Therefore it boils down to the following in order of importance in my opinion:
    #1 durability, reliability and level of protection
    #2 construction process (which enhances the above as well as the next)
    #3 Comfort for the wearer
    #4 Cost....remember...compare apples to apples when you shop. THE MOST EXPENSIVE IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST. You can often buy a PPE ensemble for one manufacturer for $1200 and the same identical set (just different name) for $1000 or less. SHOP AROUND.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    New England


    Thanks Ryan,
    That link is exactly what we were looking for. I was ordered new gear prior to the Flashover trailer do to the age and fit of the hand me down gear I was issued, but a few other fire fighters are not due for new gear, but did receive some damage from the heat in the trailer.

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