1. #1
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    Default Bunker pants and driving

    How many apparatus drivers wear their bunker pants and boots or just boots while driving? Do you find any problems with the added size of a boot compared to a regular street type shoe or boot? Are there any safety concerns or better yet documented vehicle incidents or mishaps that were a direct result of wearing bunker boots? How old are the apparatus that you are driving? Does your front cab area contain bench style seats or are there two seats seperated by the center engine tunnel? It is important to hear something as soon as possible. Thanks in advance for the help.

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    Default Simply...

    I prefer not to wear turnout pants while driving
    if I can avoid it.

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    Started wearing bunker pants while driving when I first started so I know no other way. I have found that the leather boots makes if much more comfortable. They are like a normal boot

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    Leather boots are HUGE! And not just for driving. Absolutely the best money you can spend on turnout gear.

    I've driven mostly commercial cabs, and always with bunkers on calls. Two with bucket seats and four with bench seats. One with a center console (not an engine doghouse).

    Our ambulance is a Ford E-350 van chassis.

    Since switching to leather boots, I don't notice the difference as much driving anything. (Other than trying to drag my fat ***** into the seat! Then it doesn't matter what I'm wearing! )
    Last edited by jaybird210; 12-07-2002 at 09:07 PM.
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    In my career dept, I almost always drove with boots & pants never had any ill effect. (Other then the fact that sometimes the federal Q wouldn't stop screaming at traffic)

    As a volunteer Chief, I again drive with boots & pants. During winter, it's nice to walk out of the house with pant/boots already on, plus it's easier that stepping bare-footed into a snow bank while getting dressed at scene. (Yes, I'm the type of Chief who practices what he preaches about wearing all turnouts all the time)

    Biggest problem with wearing bunkers while driving: If they're dirty from the call, either need a couple of towels to keep the seat clean, or need to remember to have a set of shoes in the vehicle to change back into.

    Our SOG's do not currently address this, but in the process or re-writing them, and will probably say something like it up to the apparatus driver's personnel descression as to the wearing of bunkers with driving.
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    In my dept its up to the operator. for me i wear leather structural boots anyway and if i can drive my POV to the station in them than i can drive the truck in 'em. but some guys that wear rubbers feel better to wait to they get to the scene to but on their gear, and for my money if thats what your operator feels most comfortable doing than leave them be b/c their the one driving!
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    Ok, Thanks for the replies, now lets go in another direction.
    If you are wearing Bunker pants and boots and are the first engine on scene, do you find yourself getting further away from the pump panel than you would if you were'nt wearing same?
    In other words do you moth your way to the glow or do your scene commanders give you assignments that a driver wearing regular clothing would not get?
    If you find yourself spending more time in the hot zone than in the area of the pump panel and are the first or primary pumper do you feel this is a safety issue?
    Should the primary pump operator be doing this?
    Thanks again

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    Our SOP is get dressed before you get in the truck. If I am driving, I put on the boots and pants. Coat and helmet go either in the passenger seat or in a compartment behind me. I've never had a problem driving with gear on. Infact, it feels wierd driving WITHOUT it.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    I've driven fire trucks and my pov in turnout pants/traditional boots and have never had any problems. Never heard of any accidents attributed to wearing fire boots either.

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    In my paid job we are not allowed to wear leather boots. We have 3 engines that are separated by the motor compartment, 1 engine with a console and 2 with bench seats. We are not required to wear bunkers while driving, it is our choice. I personally choose to not wear bunkers when I am driving the engine. When driving a grass truck, I'll decide depending on what type of situation is at hand.
    The FD I belong to as a volunteer I have leather turnout boots. They are the best investment I've ever made. We have a policy about the driver making the choice to wear bunkers or not. I personally wear mine, simply because of the comfort and ease the leather boots provide. The engine is a bench seat type.

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    As an engineer in our career department, we are strongly urged to not wear our bunker pants while driving. I am 6'4 and have size 12 feet making the bunker pants a problem for me....a recent driving course showed your reaction time to applying the brakes is greater with bunker pants.

    I would be interested to know what NFPA says in this regard...

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    hehe

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    in texas it's illegal to drive with no shoes on.

    i'll wear bunker pants and boots if in the fire truck but i don't drive much. i notice that it takes a little bit of notice when driving POV in bunker boots. the gas pedal is easier to push down and so is the brake pedal.
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    I do not wear bunker pants and boots for one split second longer than I absolutely have to. I hate the damn things. Rubber boots are good for flood rescue in very small floods and that's it. (My opinion) As to driving...All of our apparatus, starting with the ambulances (Freightliners) have "engine tunnels", and, except for one Seagrave, (Tower Ladder) all are Spartan Gladiator 10 man cabs. We leave it up to the individual driver weather to wear any gear while driving. ALL members MUST have all gear on prior to starting any work on the scene of the call. (Required gear may vary with the type of call, Total PPE and SCBA for Bldg, vehicles, etc. while wearing structural gear for brush fires is not desirable in most cases.) As to the driver operating the pump....I do not subscribe to the theory that the driver, other than the operator of the PRIMARY engine (the one with the attack lines off) needs to remain firmly planted at his/her unit. The drivers of the Squad and Ladder units have duties assigned that take them away from their vehicles. Exterior ventilation, Ground Ladders, Utility Control, Lighting, Tool/Appliance Delivery to crews Etc. keep our drivers busy. Last, in a volunteer organization, everyone tends to fill in where needed, when needed. As such, all officers are drivers and they will drive when needed. (myself included, the chief does everything that anyone else does). I try to drive 10-15 calls a month for skills maintenence, and try to spread this out over all units. Stay Safe....
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    I always wear my bunkers on fires and car wrecks or on calls where i think it will be excessivly bloody. If you are first in engine driver you will have too much to do to try to get into the house. I like to have my bunkers on because you never know when you will need to have them on in an emergency. couple months back we had a rippin fire that was goin out towards the edge of the city away from or second in companies, so I knew we would be on scence a bit. I had to jump of the pump panel and pop some windows to help the advance. If I didnt have my bunkers on already I wouldnt have been able to do that. And when you are on the squad or a truck company you have to be ready to go once you get out of the rig. If you wait to put your gear on youll be all by yourself because they arent gonna wait for u.

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    Our SOP is that for all Fires and MVAs we must wear turn out gear, no exceptions. I think it looks a bit more professional if one shows ready to do the job. Doesn't give a good impression to jump out of the truck and then put on you gear. Better to do it at home or in the station. As for driving with it on, it's a pain. But then again, doing much of anything with all the added stuff is a pain. I'm 6'2 with a size 12. I have little problem, biggest problem is the reduced feel for the brake and accelerator.

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    Although I have done it at night when I am sleeping and then have to get up for a call, I prefer not to drive with them on. Most of the time I just pull on my Bunker pants when I get out of the bunk and go on. When I used to wear the 10" zip up boots and just pull my pants on over them it was not as bad.

    I do feel the added layers and heavier boots do inhibit your ability to drive as safe as in regular shoes.

    I am not really sure I support the "requirement" for drivers to wear gear....In fact, I am against "requiring it." In my old department, our SOG was the driver would gear up as soon as possible after arriving on the scene. There is really no need to have the driver fully geared up driving down the road. Some may argue that it make he/she ready to go to work when they arrive, but....forgive me...isn't it the job of the driver to first get you there safely and then do other things such as establish water supply. Don't need gear to do either of those things. And to say that having your gear on when you arrive makes you "look more professional" makes me scratch my head.
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    Originally posted by cdevoe
    Our SOP is that for all Fires and MVAs we must wear turn out gear, no exceptions.
    The question isn't whether there are SOP's on PPE on scenes, but rather, SOP's on PPE while DRIVING to the scene.

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    The question isn't whether there are SOP's on PPE on scenes, but rather, SOP's on PPE while DRIVING to the scene.
    Understood. I don't know of any SOP on that. I know we are supposed to wear our gear even when operating the pumps and working with the hoses.

    My opinion is that even though it is a little cumbersome, you promote a better image to the public if you show up ready to go.

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    It was regulation here to wear them once, but now its up to the driver I never wear them. But you have to be bunkered up as soon as you arrive at the scene. I usually chock the truck, put it in pump, then get dressed. No one has said anything to me yet.

    As a very wise firefighter once said to me, it is better to beg forgiveness then to ask permission.

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    Our SOG's say we have to wear bunker gear while driving. We all have been trained to drive that way so when I don't have them on, it feels weird. In our situation, our drivers will be used as part of the crew. Most of the time, unless the engine is pumping, it is a taxi and the driver will be used for manpower.

    The answer to the the second question is that if the engine is pumping or the crew of that engine is not otherwise given an assignment, the driver stays with the engine. This is within radio shot of the engine. If someone radios to the engine to bump the pressure one way or the other, or if someone wants a tool, he can grab it and put it in staging or hand it to someone. If the driver is busy at the panel, then he will at least be there to ask if someone has a problem.

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    As a very wise firefighter once said to me, it is better to beg forgiveness then to ask permission.
    Not for nothing but what if said Fire Fighter showed up under the influence of drugs. Say a depressant or stimulant? Would said wise firefighter still have the same opinion?

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    Not for nothing but what if said Fire Fighter showed up under the influence of drugs. Say a depressant or stimulant? Would said wise firefighter still have the same opinion?
    Oh my God. There could be a thread on whether the sun was shining or it was raining, and somehow, beer boy would attempt to spin it into a substance abuse issue.

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    Default Bunker Pants

    I only wear bunker pants to drive at night. And I usually keep my Bunker pants next to my Bunk. (hence the term "Bunker Pants")

    We have an 86' Pierce Lance with a the Engine between the Driver and the Officer. And if anyone has an Older Lance, you know the Cabs are kinda tight for anyone other than a Stick figure. Add the bunker pants and whatever type of boot you like to wear, and its not a comfortable ride. The SOP here only says the Driver has to have PPE on the apparatus. It says nothing about wearing it. Although I think there is a provision in there about the Driver wearing a helmet. Who knows anymore, they change almost weekely.

    Hwoods, I agree with you about Officers driving every now and again to keep their skills up. I am a relativley new apparatus operator and I like to drive right now. And I want to be efficient and skillful when it comes to apparatus operations (especially LDH!) However being an officer kind of Limits my driving opportunities unless there is a higher ranking officer in the station and enough people to where I can drive without jeopardizing staffing of the First Wagon.

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