Thread: Uniform Shorts

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    Post Uniform Shorts

    Some time ago I wanted to know about other departments that wore uniform shorts, and asked for any information that I could get. Well, i'm here to tell you that we have gone to uniform shorts at my department. The one's that have bought and are wearing them, as myself love them. They are an optional uniform, the city won't buy them for us, but we can wear them year round if we want. We do have certain restrictions on types of calls that we have to either put on our turn-out pants, or a pair of our uniform paints. Just wanted to feel anyone in that had responded to my earlier entry.


    Thanks,
    Rick

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    Good for you guys. What kind did you end up going with? Still trying to get them here.

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    Our department is so diverse that I doubt we could ever pull anything off like that. We'll goof a little and wear PT shorts around the station until we run calls, but don't wear them outside the station in public. We range from industrial to residential to rural to suburban to wildland. What kind of shorts did you get? Are they nomex? What are your limitations with them?


    *Mark
    FTM-PTB-RFB-EGH

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    Rescue 21 and Mark440, the brand of shorts are FECHHEIMER. They are an EMS style short, with the extra pockets on the legs. They are 100% cotton, not Nomex. As far as when we can and cannot wear them, any medical aid call that sounds like there might be extensive body fluids, such as stabbing or gun shot, than we are to either put on uniform pants, which we now must carry with us in our bags if you are wearing shorts, or our turn-out pants. Wildland fires we are to put on our uniform pants under our wildland pants. I must say that we have gotten quite a good response from local fire department members that have seen us wearing them, and also wanted to know how we went about being able to wear them. Oh, and by the way, our Chief and Division Chief wear the shorts to!!!!!! Good luck!!!

    Rick Wilson

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    Wearing shorts on duty isn't an option for our department. However, our union's contract expires in another 8 months, and that is an issue that will be brought up. I am looking for any suggestions that will make the negotiations go smoother. Also, if anyone ran into any problems trying to pass the issue and how it was resolved. Any info will be greatly accepted.
    Be Safe, and watch your brothers back.

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    There is an ongoing research project at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Building Fire Research Laboratory into thermal injuries sustained by fire fighters despite the wearing of personal protective equipment. There is an article from Fire Engineering magazine in which some of the findings of this reseach project are discussed. The types of injuries they speak of are steam burns, scald burns, dry garment burns, wet garment drying burns, etc. The research seems to suggest that these injuries are exacerbated by the skin being exposed under the PPE. It seems to me that there would be an increase in the risk of thermal injury when wearing any type of garment under the gear that leaves exposed skin.

    Here is a link to the article http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/fire98/PDF/f98066.pdf. Please read it if you plan on disagreeing with me. It is an extremely eye-opening document in terms of the mechanism of injury for fire fighter thermal injuries.

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    That link might not work. If it doesn't use this http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/and search "protective clothing" and "burn injuries". There are about six articles describing the research and the risk of injury.
    Last edited by GeorgeWendtCFI; 10-13-2002 at 12:16 AM.

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    Default No to Shorts - Duty or Volunteer

    I'm going agree with George on this one. We are all prone to serious Skin Burn Injuries if our Skin is exposed. --- Yeah shorts are more comfortable in the Warmer Months but there are statistics out there that show exposed skin under P.P.E. is more likley to burn than if you were wearing pants. Now I know somebody will say "Well we wear Short Sleeve Shirts....Whats the Diffrence?"....Medically I can't say for sure...But I herd a Story quite some time ago where two fire fighters were on duty in a station working out in the weight room when a box was transmitted for a working structure fire. Both Firefighters were wearing station issued short sleeve T-Shirts. One was wearing shorts and the other sweat pants. Something occured at the scene and the two firefighters I mentioned were caught in a bad situation {Room Flashed to some degree} and both firefighters were burned. The one with the shorts had 3rd degree burns on his legs all the way up to where the shorts started...His upper thighs. His arms and chest sustained burns as well but not as severe. The firefighter with the Sweat Pants....1st and 2nd Degree Burns on his legs-chest-and arms. Point I'm trying to make....Shorts aren't a good thing in my opinion no matter if you are a Career or Volunteer Firefighter. The more protection you have in place the better chance you have of not getting injured or god for-bid killed. My company chief doesn't allow shorts under the gear period....If we're caught it's 30 days out the door.
    Stratford Fire Company # 1
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    Congratulations! I think sharing info and asking for advice here in the forums goes along way to helping our fellow organizations implement new things they once thought impossible.

    We have been wearing shorts for a while and have a very simple SOG that addresses shorts. The brass just amended the SOG to limit wearing shorts from May 1 through October 1.
    joejoe33

    Comments and opinions are mine and do not represent the agency or IAFF local that I am affiliated with.

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    Well, George Wendt, thank you for that reply. I must say, I never took the burn factors into concideration. However, I still have a hard time understanding why the legs are getting burned so bad when the arms are getting minor burns. It may have something to do with which type of burn is harming the body. A steam burn, for instance, may cause a less severe burn, then another type. Do we need to start wearing long sleeve shirts when we put on out PPE?
    I am thankful for the info that you have supplied. It sure does make me think twice before pushing for shorts on duty, but I still believe shorts are fine. If your PPE isn't protecting your body from the dangers of the job, there are a few things that may be wrong. Either you have defective/useless gear on, or you are in a place that you shouldn't be.

    Again, thank you for the response.
    Be Safe, and watch your brothers back.

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    If your PPE isn't protecting your body from the dangers of the job, there are a few things that may be wrong. Either you have defective/useless gear on, or you are in a place that you shouldn't be.
    I think that you should look at that research. The turnout gear is neither defective or useless. Many of these injuries were suffered in conditions which were fairly normal for an interior fire fighter.

    They are just finding that wet gear, or compressed gear doesn't have the same protective qualities as the dry, uncompressed gear in the compliance tests.

    I refuse to wear shorts under my gear. I personally believe that the risk of additional injury is too great. I am not advocating a national standard to this effect. I think the research into this area is very telling.

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    Every night, thousands of us turnout in the wee hours with no long pants under our turnouts. I've been doing it for 24 years. I am not about to sleep in long pants or slow my response to a box to don long uniform trousers. Many who climbed the WTC towers were wearing short uniform shorts. Their brothers continue to do so. I respect the study being conducted but there are benefits to wearing shorts; much more mobility and freedom from "hiking" that long pants cause, a higher exercise potential, and proven lower core temperatures to name a few. Maybe it's the turnout trousers or their design that needs addressed if this study bears true.

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