1. #1
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    Default No Nomex in Structure Fire

    I've heard some firefighters don't like wearing their nomex in a house fire so they know when to get out if it gets too hot. Just wondering what some thoughts are on this. It goes against all the training I've had, but just curious about some thoughts. I'm sure there are some "tricks" for detecting heat. I've heard some FF's leave a small opening between their gloves and firecoat sleeve.

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    I used to think that it was necessary to leave some skin exposed to feel the heat. Since then I have decided that my ears are more valuble to me then to use them as thermometers. I have learned to work in my gear and feel comfortable with my ability to judge the heat. Learning to recognize the signs of flashover and rollover are important skills for every firefighter, that more than any subjective thoughts about the temp of the room will keep you alive and safe.

    You hear people talk about temperatures and what is safe and what isn't. I have heard firefighters say that 400 or 500 isn't that hot, well let me tell you that it is more than enough to burn your skin. While it is ony half of flashover temps it will still put you in the burn center. If you are in a deteriorating situation wouldn't you like a little more protection.

    For the medical people out there, What is a critical burn? Burns on the hands, feet and many others. Why would you want to risk these areas on your body?


    Stay safe

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    My coat, has a thermometer on it. It goes 2 - 9 is the scale and each represented like 200 and then goes through 900. all that happens is that it changes to a reflective color andthe rest appear black. so I would just see if you can find some of them.
    Firefighter/EMT Mitch Cowen
    Hose Co. 1 1st Lieutenant
    Randolph Fire Co. Inc

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    Well I have never been in a burning building. But we have done some training on staying on the ground where the exposure to heat is minimal.It seems rather stupid and dangerous to have any skin exposed to the heat. Isnt it NFPA regulations that all openings in TO gear have at least a 1 inch flap of outer shell material covering all openings?


    Grace Industries makes the "SUPER PASS 2 MOTION/TEMPERATURE DECTECTOR"
    It senses when temperature reach dangerous levels and sounds a separate sounding alarm. Its only Ten bucks more than the standerd model.

    Good luck,good training
    dfdex1
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    Question ??

    I've heard some firefighters don't like wearing their nomex in a house fire so they know when to get out if it gets too hot.
    I am not sure that I follow the question. Are you saying that they don't like NOMEX because they have to leave earlier?

    As technology increases and fabric improves, new PPE will surface. Nomex was one the latest and greates coming after the "cotton duct" gear that was in use when I joined. Vapor Barriers and Thermal Liners improve. With each change the level of protection increases.

    Think about this...In some cases the PPE that we wear will not even begin to show signs of failure until temperatures exceed 1300 degrees. The straps on your SCBA, your SCBA facepiece, your helmet and other parts of the PPE will begin to fail sooner. So...by the time you realize your butt is in a jamb...it is almost too late. A very well respected and nationally noted fire service leader once told me..."Stan...I believe that we are at a point where we are overprotecting our people to the point that before they realize they are in trouble they are dead." It may not be quite that bad...but...it is certainly something to think about.

    There is nothing wrong with NOMEX. You just have to be aware of the limitations and capabilities of what ever type of material you purchase. You need to chose your outer shell based on what will be the best for your department based on the incidents you run.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    captstanm, with all due respect, I belive he is talking about not wearing a NOMEX hood in a fire to feel the heat on his neck and ears like was done back in the day of rubber coat and 3/4 boot crust.

    Respectfully submitted
    dfd
    Last edited by dfdex1; 09-05-2002 at 11:07 PM.

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    Maybe we should apply that logic(not wearing your hood) to other fields:
    Perhaps we should:
    Stop wearing helmets
    Stop wearing gloves on EMS runs
    Stop useing our warning lights and sirens
    Stop creating a 'safe zone' by blocking traffic on the highways
    stop useing seatbelts
    Hell, lets get rid of SCBA's and just use a hankie,(so you can smell whats burning).

    Does anybody realize that the technical innovations and new products we see in magazines are not thought up because the engineers love us. The fire service overall is a small market. These new innovations and improvements are due to the fact that someone died, or was severly injured in a new way, or from a new hazzard.
    That Nomex hood wasn't thought up by some goofball as a neat party hat, it was thought up because people got tired of burning their ears off. Longer duration SCBA bottles aren't a quirk, they are because we have had Firefighters die from running out of air. Turnout pants replaced 3/4 boots because guys got tired of burning their b@!ls off.
    We should all know the limits and drawbacks of our equipment, but I for one will use every thing I can to keep me in one piece, healthy, so I can go home and hug my family. Please don't sacrifice the progress we have made, and the lessons we've learned.

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    Smile WELL...EXCUSE MY IGNORANCE!

    DFDEX1...DUH!.....I completely missed that. Thanks my young friend for setting the feeble mind straight..

    Ok....here is my take...

    The fire service goes full cycle on all issues every so many years. When I first got in the "hoods" were just coming out and anyone that wore one was know as.....well...you know what they were known as!

    Personnally, I wear mine all the time. My Girlfriend says I have cute ears and I prefer not to use them as thermometers. Now her on the other hand...I have to beat her with a stick to get her to wear her hood. I believe the term is...."I forgot"

    Bottom Line...it is PPE...wear it!
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    captn
    does your insurance cover i forgot

    hope so

    my dad has scarring on his ears from getting burned as a live burn instructor.

    he has had 4 layers of blisters before not a pretty sight,

    2197 10-8

    working the mountqain state fair
    2197 10-8<br />stay safe have fun stay healthy<br />
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    Have any of you guys actually been in a working fire without a hood or turnout pants? Unless you have, it is pretty hard to criticize those of us who don't.
    If you wear your helmet flaps down and your collar up, it provides a pretty good amount of radiant heat protection, but at the same time allows you to feel variations in temperature that can alert you to possible falshovers and can also direct you to the seat of the fire.
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    Default Pull down those ear flaps

    If I could go back to 3/4 boots on structure fires, I WOULD in a heartbeat. I dont wear a nomex hood either. I think it should be a personal choice using sound reasoning. We werent even issued bunker pants my first 9 years in the fire service. I did not have to wear them until about 4 years ago. I am not saying you shouldn't wear bunker pants or hoods. I would like to think I am experienced enough to know what works for me.

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    St Barnabas Burn Center just had a presentation at our station...does anyone know at what temperature skin begins to blister????

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    My first 3 years on the fire dept we didn't even own hoods. It didn't bother me that much, the helmet flap protected my ears enough for me. Now i wear a hood all the time. The extra protection is nice plus it's required by my dept to wear the hood.

    Hoods do come in handy for brush fires for keeping the smoke out of your nasal passage.
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
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    Off the top of my head, I would say skin starts to blister at 125-130 degrees farenheit...Just a guess. Of course a bad sunburn will cause blisters too.

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    Exposed skin will blister (1st degree burns) at 180 degrees for 3 seconds.
    Think I'll Wear My Hood...
    Last edited by blackleather; 09-06-2002 at 02:58 PM.

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    As a hood is part of the NFPA PPE I would venture a guess that the next Dept to have someone injured or killed while not wearing the hood will be sued and the scene commander or Chief will be held criminally liable. Its no longer a question of whats comfortable to you. It quite simply is CYA to wear all your gear (or at least the Dept CYA to make you wear the gear).

    Also I have never figured out who so many people need to feel ten or fifteen degree temp variation. I can feel the heat thru my mask just fine. When my face is farm i have no fear, when its warm and a little toasty I take a little look around, when its dang hot I get down, and when it spiders I leave and I dont have burnt ears.... Anyway I know its not quite that simple but I feel this issue is more about tradition and being macho both of which should be a category for the LODD list.

    Stay Safe,

    Andy

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    Originally posted by apatrol
    As a hood is part of the NFPA PPE I would venture a guess that the next Dept to have someone injured or killed while not wearing the hood will be sued and the scene commander or Chief will be held criminally liable. Its no longer a question of whats comfortable to you. It quite simply is CYA to wear all your gear (or at least the Dept CYA to make you wear the gear).
    If you are going to get injured in a fire, let alone getting killed, it is not going to have anything to do with wearing or not wearing a hood. If you are going to get burned bad enough to require a hood, then much much more of you is going to be burned than your ears. I would be more concerned by not wearing the collar flaps (which many, many people who wear hoods do not do) than by not wearing hoods. Ears are expendable, tracheas are not!!! The least protected part of a fireman is the exterior airway, and it is probably the most important.
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    Haligan.....No one was actually criticizing you..the question was about th opinion on wearing hoods or not..

    When I first got in in 1971 there were only 3/4 boots issued and no hoods in my volunteer department. My Cairns Leather helmet (which cost me $71.00 including the leather front at that time by the way0 only had short ear flaps... Most of us bought our own hoods. and by 1975 or 76 my junior department had raised enough money recycling newpapers to equip all the juniors with bunker pants. We were in style let me tell you and the seniors were still wearing 3/4. It was the early 80's before I managed to convince my volunteer department to buy bunker pants for everyone. It was a tough choice for them to make. It was either buy a trophy cabinet or the pants. We got the trophy cabinet first.

    When I started in my career department in 1979 they still only isssued 3/4 boots and if you had your own hood you could wear it.

    If you have em I suggest you wear em. I will not fault any department that does not wear em for whatever the reason. That does not mean I agree with their philosophy..

    I just don't think I like continuing to use my ears and neck as thermometers....
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    HalliganHook,
    yes I have worn 3/4 boots and been without a hood in a structure fire, more than one actually. I started in the fire service in a volunteer department, and money was an issue. We were given long coat, 3/4 boots and a helment. A few years later I started with a Paid department, and was issued a hood, and bunker pants. I have experience with both. If anyone wants to continue to were boots and no hood, that is their descision. But consider this:

    Many of the 'improved' materials being used today in construction and furnishings are composed of a great deal of plastic products. Carpets, furniture, bedding, appliances are all useing an increasing amount of plastic and polymere in there construction. In short, fires have a tendency to burn hotter, and burn faster than in years past. The days of cotton upholstery and cotton insulation, and metal appliances are gone.
    Remember, a pound of wood burning gives off 9,000 Btu's, a pound of 'plastic' burning gives off 18,000-24,000 Btu's.
    In response to this increased threat, we have fully covering PPE. Helment flaps pulled down do give a certain amount of protection to RADIANT heat. With the increased Btu output of todays fires, the room can and does reach flashover temp. faster. The increased room temp is convected heat, not radiated. the hood provides an insulation barrier between your skin and that CONVECTED heat.

    I personally do not want to use my skin to tell when the temp varies. Good training over flashover and fire behavior should be used to judge the signs of a room getting too hot. Experience, both your own and that passed down from vetrans should be used to learn what to look/listen for. There are other ways to 'watch' the heat buildup without chanceing your skin. Pass devices can be used for their thermal alarms, signs in the fire/smoke itself also.

    When we put on new levels of protection, be they hoods, or pants, or any other form of protective equipment, we do lose some of our'old' senses. But we then learn or develop new ways to work around the drawbacks of the equipment. The fire service, and more importantly the People in the Fire SDervice MUST learn to evolve with the new technology, and use it to OUR advantage. The advancements in PPE are just that, advancements.

    Veterans: If you are comfortable with boots and no hoods, tha is your decision. But please don't Poo Poo the idea to the younger guys. Be willing to see that their have been advancements in equipment and methods since you started.

    Newbies: Listen to the Vets., but realize that YOUR training is newer and probobly more up to date than theirs. Vetrans have a lot of experiance to offer, some of it can save your life one day. Realize that some of their advice is based on opinion more than fact. (100 years of tradition, unimpeded by progress.) Use all of your protective equipment, and be willing to learn about advancements in PPE.

    I bet there were more than a few arguments about those "air bottles" when they were introduced. Just because the 'Old Heads' didn't use them doesn't mean they are not a good idea!!

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    Originally posted by HalliganHook25
    Have any of you guys actually been in a working fire without a hood or turnout pants? Unless you have, it is pretty hard to criticize those of us who don't.
    If you wear your helmet flaps down and your collar up, it provides a pretty good amount of radiant heat protection, but at the same time allows you to feel variations in temperature that can alert you to possible falshovers and can also direct you to the seat of the fire.
    Yes I have. Just because you are more aware of changing/rising temps, does that equal your response/reflex time to exit that environment before the burning starts? What role does your bodies "adreneline rush" have in masking your ability to detect pain sensations that are at levels that would otherwise be untolerable?

    I want to express an idea from the company officer (management) perspective. So far, it seems the responses have focused on "the individuals" right to wear or not wear certain levels of protection. But look at it from the department/organizational side. Failure to wear supplied/required PPE can increase the risk for injury - identifiable risk is preventable risk. What is/are the fallouts from incurring an injury while on-duty?

    1. Loss of an employee from the manpower roster during recovery time. Is there an overtime cost for the replacement? In a volunteer setting, will this effect the ability to get a right-sized response on scene?

    2. Disruption of crew consistency. How will the fill-in assigned member mesh with the crew? When you get injured, are you taking away any special knowledge, skills, or abilities that cannot be replaced during your absence?

    3. Emotional impact on the members you work with? Will they have feelings of guilt for not taking actions to help prevent or minimize the injury?

    4. Emotional impact on your family. Will your significant other(s) be unusually stressed by the injury?

    5. Long term disfigurement, some people call them "battle scars" and wear them like a badge of honor. Will those wounds and scars cause additional problems (infection site, limiting range of motion, etc.)
    later?

    6. Will the time off effect your part-time work (career) or paying job (volunteers)? Will that effect your family?

    7. Going to physical therapy everyday until the blisters are healed -is that your idea of a good time?

    I am sure I could list more, but I think you get the idea. The decision not to wear proper PPE has a significant impact on more than just the wearer/nonwearer. Let's be safe and smart....

    John

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    Thumbs up

    Well Said John!!!

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    I think we have to realize that there are other ways to sense the heat of a fire and know when to leave, than to risk yur skin. We just have to learn something new. We have to attend a traing session and learn a new way rather than sit around the station and reley on old methods that have proven unsafe. My life, health and safety are worth a little time training to prevent injuries.

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    Training and understanding fire behavior are certainly the key. You have to know your PPE and what it's limitations are and what the performance ratings are. Then you have to apply that to your training and recognize when you are in a "no win" situation before you get hurt. Sure...there are some unknowns that you can not prepare for. But we need to do all we can to protect ourself for sure.

    I am still reminded of the quote from an seasoned and well respected fire service leader that I used earlier in this thread.

    ..."Stan...I believe that we are at a point where we are overprotecting our people to the point that before they realize they are in trouble they are dead."
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    Ok...on a different tack then.
    As far as total protective gear goes, for those departments that wear hoods do you also get the highest layer of protection availible for turnout gear? For example, NFPA/OSHA require at least 38 tpu for gear. We wear the minimum tpus that the manufacturer of our gear will make - 41 tpu. This is also an important factor.

    You may have misunderstood my replys earlier. I am saying to the new guys as well as the old, that progression and use of technology is a good thing, but don't be blind about it. Try different things to see what works for you. Fires in non-windowed/non-vented compartmentalized concrete structures are not meant for 3/4 boots and no hoods. They are just too hot, probably too hot for a direct attack on the fire. However, in MY OPINION (nothing else) a bread and butter structure fire with a competent truck crew that aggressively vents the building, hoods are not needed or even necessarily a good idea.

    BTW - I have worn hoods before. People within my department wear hoods. They are not mandatory, nor are they prohibited. People are allowed to make their own decisions like the adults we all are.
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    My department does not issue hoods, members have purchased them on their own and that is alright with me. Remember that NFPA is a standard it is not law. Personally I have always choosen not to wear one. My collar and ear flaps with a velcro strap work just fine. It leaves just enough area for me to feel the heat around me. I feel that we have become over protected to a large extent. Training is a good idea but it is not the end all. You will run into situations that your training never covered, especially if you do not do live structure burns. You can't always see conditions inside the fire when making your attack, to leave a little open space will help you know how fast conditions are changing and you can act accordingly. I'm more inline with HalliganHook 25, but then again I'm a dinosaur, what do you expect

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