1. #1
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    Default PPE of the World

    I have been researching the Fire Services from around the world and I have been noticing some interesting variations in PPE. Some very neat ideas are out there and everybody has their own styles and traditions.

    Lets discuss some of the variations and what purpose is served. If you have pictures or links to pictures please use them.

    What do you like?

    What do you dislike?

    Is it cool, or just ugly?

    Do looks realy matter as long as it works?

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    I will put this one out there first. Current Tokyo issue PPE.

    http://www.be.wakwak.com/%7Eaxeman/coat.html



    Here is the photo caption from the link above:

    New Design ,Tokyo fire coat.I think this style looks like Californian.These are all made in japan.Glove is a Kepler glove Helmet is Plastic with protection sponges inside,ear wrap is made of kepler,Rubber boots is Japanese moon star brand,Pants is trouser style protect your balls.
    Kawasaki heavy industry SCBA,Type5 of tokyo......20 minutes long capacity.


    I believe "Kepler" is supposed to be Kevlar, but I may be mistaken.

    I like the fact that the trouser style pants protect your balls.

    There are 2 different things that I like on this PPE set up. The elastic cuff on the boots, and the large ear flap off the helmet.

    The elastic on the boots might help prevent snags since the pant would be sucked up against the boot. It would do a good job of keeping soot and grim out of the pants. It would also keep the pant cuff from fraying and wearing out like regular cuffs do.

    The ear flap IIRC comes from samuri tradition. It makes the fire helmet look like a samuri helmet. It should offer great protection. I do believe they also use sock hoods under the flaps. That combo would approach the protection level of a Reed Hood I do believe.

    It reminds me of my wildland helmet with its Ultra Shroud. I feel naked without it, and I am going to get one for my structural helmet, should end up something like the Tokyo set up.

    The SCBA doesnt look very impressive, Kawasaki heavy industry SCBA Type 5. It looks about like an old Scot Airpak 2. I think it is a metal cylender.
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    Default Pant Cuff

    I also like the elastic pant cuffs but because, when walking around in hot embers, ashes, and steam, the heat wont come up into your trousers and make your knees sweat (among other parts). This is a very good idea. As for everything else, I like American looking gear, whether East/West or Leather/Plastic. Just my opinion. I could be wrong.

    Tim Newman
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    Hutchinson, KS
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    I believe that anywhere you go in the world, you will only find the 'traditional' style helmets in the US.

    I can speak for most of Southern Africa, Europe, and the Middle East - as when I was in these places - I searched out the local fire station, to see how our foreign brothers do things.

    The closest things to our traditional helmets resemble Cairns Metro's in style.

    In most of Europe they wear the fighter style / Gallet (sp?) helmets.


    I have a few friends that have their own personal Bristol gear- which is similar/same to gear in the UK. It is extremely light weight, and comfortable to wear. But I feel it is a little "too" light weight - however, I have never worn it under fire conditions; so my opinon isn't 'too informed'.

    I think that for the Japanese -- you'd think that they would adopt a lighter wieght bottle for the SCBA?!

    Neat topic...
    I am always interested in how others do their job-- neat to see a different perspective once in a while.
    Marc

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    Default

    Okay, here are some pics of the current turnout gear that we're wearing out here in my part of aussie land. The structural jacket shown is two styles old, however essentially it's the same as current issue. Current jackets don't have the vertical reflective stripe. Instead they have two horizontal stripes across the breast. Also the striping is two-tone (yellow and silver), not just a single yellow stripe, like the pants the firefighter is wearing.

    Everything else, Helmet, Boots, Gloves, Wildfire Gear is all current issue.

    Okay, so here we go:

    Structural Gear:


    Wildfire Gear:


    CABA (Sabre Centurion Type)


    As you will notice the pants on both sets are exactly the same, we just change jackets between them. And yes, before you start saying that wildfire and structural apparel is inherantly different, we know. This gear doesn't meet current australian standards for interior firefighting. Which is why we are currently in the testing phase for newer, nomex apparel. No idea when it will arrive, but apparently we have funding for it. When it does arrive, the black jackets will be retired and the current gear will stay as wildfire gear. Helmets, Boots and Gloves will stay the same.

    Also shown with the CABA is the older steel cylanders, we have newer, lighter carbon-fibre ones now.

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    Dave, thanks for sharing!

    What kind of boots are those, are they used for both wildfire and structure, are they lace up?

    The wildfire gear looks nice. I would wadger is is better then the green and yellow USFS issue nomex. More along the lines of the Cali Division of Forestry. Nice stuff. Is it Nomex or cotton?

    Your use of wildfire pants with a long jacket would probly be alright if you went with 3/4 rubber boots. I dont know what your regulations are, but some US departments, like Chicago, still use that approach.

    CABA, not sure on that, could you give the term? I am used to SCBA.

    I looked on the WWW but I could not find any info on those Sabre CABAs, are they the Scott Brand Sabre SCBA?
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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    Proud to be an American..... sorry guys but all that stuff just turns me off... I'll prefer my american east coast look!

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    Here is what I believe to be the current UK London Brigade PPE.



    Found Here:

    http://www.firefotos.co.uk/

    Looks to be a pretty standard two piece bunker gear, jet fighter style helmet (Gallet F1??? Looks to bulky to be for sure...} I cant identify the SCBA. The protective cover makes it hard to make out.

    The cover is a good way to keep your expensive composite bottles in service for their max lifespan. IIRC (correct if I am wrong) wrap bottles can be used for 30 years in the UK.

    Nothing to radical here, just the space helmets, which I actualy like a lot.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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    Originally posted by firefiftyfive
    Proud to be an American..... sorry guys but all that stuff just turns me off... I'll prefer my american east coast look!
    Then by all means, share some pictures and describe your prefered PPE/Gear.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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    What kind of boots are those, are they used for both wildfire and structure, are they lace up?
    The boots are a local brand, called Taipan's made by a manufacturer called Highmark Shoes. Their website can be found here:
    http://members.ozemail.com.au/~highmark/
    And in particular, the taipans, here:
    http://members.ozemail.com.au/~highmark/b.html

    They are a steel-capped ankle-high leather boot, with a fire/chemical resistant rubber sole. I Just looked at my pair then, but the actual fire rating on the label has worn off.... so not sure about specifics.

    Yes, they are lace-up boots. But we are supplied with a zip-up inner-tounge which is laced between the boot and the tounge so they can be put on quickly. They are a bit fiddly to get a good fit, but once you get them right, they're great.

    The boots are rated for both wildfire and structural use. However, as lots of members prefer 3/4 rubber boots these can be issued at the cost of the member/brigade if they require. If you get these boots however, they are for structual use only and the taipans must be used for wildfire. As it stands at the moment they are currently finding a new rubber boot to issue and none are being issued (even if you request them).

    There is also a variation on the taipan that sits more like a shoe and doesn't go up your ankle. These boots are only issued to rural brigades and are only for use in wildfire situations.

    The wildfire gear looks nice. I would wadger is is better then the green and yellow USFS issue nomex. More along the lines of the Cali Division of Forestry. Nice stuff. Is it Nomex or cotton?
    They are cotton with a proban fire-resistant treatment. I've never used anything else, but I reckon they're great. We've been using the same kind of thing for wildfire for quite some time now, the only change has been to move from overalls to pants with jackets. This was purely a cost-cutting move though as it was cheeper to utilise the already issued structural pants then make overalls for everyone. However, overalls are still available to rural brigades with no structual capacity.

    Your use of wildfire pants with a long jacket would probly be alright if you went with 3/4 rubber boots. I dont know what your regulations are, but some US departments, like Chicago, still use that approach.
    Our staff members get around the problem by wearing a pair of work-pants that are fire-rated, this double-layer keeps the unions off the CFA's back.... at least until the new gear comes in. Us volunteers just do the best we can and make sure we have a good pair of pants underneath.... a lot of the guys do wear 3/4 boots though, which as you said, helps.

    CABA, not sure on that, could you give the term? I am used to SCBA.

    I looked on the WWW but I could not find any info on those Sabre CABAs, are they the Scott Brand Sabre SCBA?
    CABA - Compressed Air Breathing Aparatus... It's just different terminology for the same thing. It's what i've been brought up on and it's hard to kick it and call them SCBA's. However they are the same thing.

    I'm not sure about what brand we use though, all my training manuals have "Sabre Centurion Open-Circuit Positive Pressure Breathing Aparatus" written on them and never mention Scott. I too have searched the internet for them, but found little.....although I do see references to scott here and there. I'll see if I can get some better pics.

    And just for the record, both the rural and structural helmets are manufactured by a New Zealand company called Pacific Fire Helmets. The goggles, by an australian company called Protector Safety.

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    Default Ditto

    I'll stick with my SAFD issued stuff.

    Morning Pride bunkers
    Pro Warrington boots
    Cairns 1010 (until I upgrade)
    Scott SCBA

    I'm gonna try to attach some pics, hope they are re-sized small enough to go.
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    Trying to give an all around view, as well as some closer ones...
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    http://www.sanantoniofire.org

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    OK, one more bunker gear shot.... (I'll be glad when all the ol' yeller apparatus is phased out )
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    I have morning pride suit, bullard helmet(we must use issue), rubber acton boots.

    By the way, our pants have an elastic cuff under the pants. Same protection, better look.

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    Thanks for the info Dave, good to hear how things are done on the other side of the world.

    One thing that surprised me is that you have steel toe boots. In the US the US Forest Service and Buroue of Land Management do not allow steel toe boots for wildland fire fighting.

    They are worried about hot foot after stepping in a stump hole. Supposedly the steel toe will cook your foot faster.

    Also, you have to have a boot a minimum of 10 inches high IIRC. Way over the ankle to prevent twists and sprains.

    On your cotton wildfire gear. I have found that cotton serves just fine for a season, but if you wash it often it will shrink and a lot of the fire retardent treatment will be gone after 2-3 washings. That is why we first went Nomex only, and recently we just purchased our wildfire gear in Advance, Nomex Kevlar blend, also used in structure gear outer shells.

    With the fires getting crazier every year in the Western US we decided we wanted the best wildfire PPE money could buy.

    We went with Western Shelter Interface gear.

    Link to Western Shelter website on Interface gear.



    Yellow Nomex interface PPE.



    We had to have ours custom made since they dont yeat make this line in Advance. Ours are the kaki advance material, all of the options, lime striping. Here is an example of the pant.



    We havent taken delivery yet so I cant show you what they look like yet. We bought them through a state grant for wildfire.

    They should be about the best wildland PPE available anywhere today. We did a lot of research to find what we wanted. We have a lot of pure wildfire and interface fire, so these will realy get a workout. We also plan on useing these for extraction PPE, no use buying another set of PPE to keep track of.

    After the last few seasons of makeing stands at structures against out of control fires, we decided that eating that much smoke was bad for our health... so we now use Hot Shields.

    Hot Shield link:

    http://www.hotshield.com/1/hotshield_hs2.htm

    Hot Shield 2 and open cut shroud.



    It is realy amazing how much smoke they filter, and they give far more protection to the face then any other PPE. We use ours in conjunction with the Ultra Shroud, similar to the shroud above, but with a full cut/full face coverage. When useing the Hot Shield we just velcrow the botton and leave the air scoop open.

    These have realy made a differnece in high smoke conditions, and you can realy tell how effetive they are at blocking heat. The Ultra Shroud alone makes a huge difference against radiant heat. They are made from Carbon X, pretty good stuff. I am going to put an Ultra Shroud on my structure helmet, should approach the protection level of a Reed Hood.

    Here is a nice picture, it is a cross section of the predominant wildfire gear in the Western US, I have no idea what east of the Mississippi uses.



    The far left is your typical California Division of Forestry PPE, nice and baggy, freedom of movement, cooler to work in, lots of pockets, lots of protection, superior face and neck protection. This IMO is the best wildland PPE configuration. Freedom of movment, cooler then other types, just better all around. This is by far my prefered PPE, I cant wait until we get our Tan Advace gear.

    Next guy from the left is in the one piece coverall. IMO the WORST wildland PPE known to man. Freedom of movement sucks, you cant reach up with your arms without lifting the entire coverall, which when wearing a pack gets very tiresome. More difficult to get on fast. And worst of all, HOT HOT HOT. No air can get in around your waste, you sweat like a pig and it just gets worse and worse. Not my prefered PPE.

    Last guy standing is in your basic USFS/BLM issue Nomex. To tight fitting, less freedom of movement then Cali style, but better then coveralls. Much hotter then the Cali style, with your shirt tucked in you have no air movement at the midriff, and the 4 layers of cloth (tighty whities, T shirt, Nomex shirt, pants, and belt for that matter) make for a lot of heat retention. The pants on this set dont look to bad, but some of the stuff they issue is horrible. Like green disco pants from the 70s, so tight in the leg that you cant move worth a darn. I would imagine that the Feds would change to better PPE if they didnt have so many thousands of theses sets of PPE to use up first.

    The boots are a whole topic in and of themselves. A lot of harcore groun pounders that are out every season buy Whites. It is a very high quality brand of boot, logger style, with high lace up ankle support. They can last 10 years or more is taken care of. They cost around 450-500 US dollars depending on what you get. I went with Bufflo boots, as similar boot, nearly the same quality, paid 350 for them.

    Helmets are pretty much either Bullard or MSA wildfire helmets, at lest thats what I see the most of. I have a MSA Vgaurd. It has a full cut ultra shroud, Goggles, and lots of velcrow on it to stick flashlights. Pretty light weight, nice and cool. I got the full brim helmet to keep hot coals from falling down my neck when doing chainsaw work on burning pine trees.

    That is pretty much we we use in the Western US for wildfire gear.
    Last edited by SamsonFCDES; 11-18-2003 at 02:05 PM.
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    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

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    Excellent PPE 33Motor.

    Pretty much some of the most popular brands of bunker gear in the US.

    Morning pride realy has all of the bells and whistles. Sharp looking as well.

    Are those leather helmets or traditional style composite?

    One of the best ideas on these is the long tail coat, I dont know why all PPE companies dont do that.

    What do you guys use for wildfire/inerface fire?

    IMO the only weak link in US style bunker gear is the neck and head. The sock hoods just dont give as much protection as the rest of the PPE ensamble. This can of course be changed with Reed Style hoods if so desired.

    IIRC some Texas FDs use Reed Hoods, but I cant recall which ones.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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    Are those leather helmets or traditional style composite?
    They are the composite,1010's. Many guys have N5A'a & N6A's in the Dept though. I plan on getting one in the near future (N6A).

    What do you guys use for wildfire/inerface fire?
    Most just wear station attire. We are not issued wildland gear. Some guys will wear thier bunker pants. We have a few brush trucks in the Dept, and they have a few sets of wildland gear on them so they are available in a lrage brush fire. The average station in SAFD does not see large brush fires however, we are an mostly urban dept. It pretty much depends on the situation.

    IIRC some Texas FDs use Reed Hoods, but I cant recall which ones.
    I would imagine a large portion, if not all, of the Houston FD wears them. Reed is in the HFD, so I'm sure they, as well as many FD's around that area have taken to using them. I'm not implying that the boundaries end there however.. I know they have been excepted in many places. I have as of yet to see one being worn in SAFD. The original Reed hoods seemed pretty nice, but the version that's out now seems bulkier and "poofy" lookin' to me. The first gen ones seemed to conform better around the head, and were a lot cheaper (in price) back then. The last price I saw on one was much more than I'd be willing to pay. I would like to try one sometime, just to see for myself, how they perform.
    http://www.sanantoniofire.org

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    I don't like the UK space helmets. I think they're kinda ugly (just my opinion). In general I prefer the US gear, like what 33motor gave pics of. Thanks for sharing the Australia gear pics Dave! seeing the differences in gear from around the world is very cool- great thread!

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    Originally posted by emtbff927
    I don't like the UK space helmets. I think they're kinda ugly (just my opinion). In general I prefer the US gear, like what 33motor gave pics of. Thanks for sharing the Australia gear pics Dave! seeing the differences in gear from around the world is very cool- great thread!
    If you think the UK guys look goofy, wait until I put the French pictures up!

    I will try to do that tonite.

    I agree, I would sooner have 33Motors PPE out of all the ones shown so far. Then again, I am sure that 33Motors PPE atire is the most expensive of all show, possible exception is the UK gear.

    But, you gotta love those pants on the Tokyo guy, they "protect your balls."

    Seriuously, that is what the guy says on his website, it is the caption under the picture on his site. First link of the thread, first post my me.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

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    Thanks for the helmet clarification 33Motor.

    I always imagined TX as haveing a lot of wildfire and interface. What about the rural areas?

    Thanks for the info on the Reed Hoods.

    Here is a pic of the Morning Pride Reed Hood, found at the Fire Store.



    Fire Store Website:

    http://www.thefirestore.com/

    Here is Globes Version.



    Globes Website:
    http://www.globefiresuits.com/globe.php

    While I like the concept of the Reed Hood, I have never tried one and I cant begin to guess how the comfort is, or how well they work. They sure look hot as hell, but compared to the alternative...

    A question on Reed Hoods, is there a nomex Sock hood under there, or is the Reed used by itself?

    I am looking still for a picture of the pull over style hood used in some Eruo departments. It is like your basic parka hood. It is attached to the coat and pulls comletely over your jet fighter style helmet. Same material as the coat. Anybody else seen those?
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

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    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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    I have seen those pull over style hoods...

    But they were in Finland - or Denmark.

    Neat. They also use the SCBA covers like the UK does.

    I am wondering if they actually help...
    Marc

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    -- The opinions presented here are my own; and are not those of any organization that I belong to, or work for.

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    This is from the Paris Fire Brigade website.

    Le site Oficiel... Its French.

    http://www.bspp.fr/accueil.htm

    But, I did find some excellent pictures, a lot of them, so sorry if it gets drawn out. But, they are cool!

    These guys have a style all thier own, and the first thing you will notice is the Gallet F1, THE symbol of the Frecnh fire service, and of many other Eruopean departments. It is to them what the traditional leather is the USA.



    Love it or hate it, these are VERY high tech helmets. I am not afraid to admit that I realy like the jet fighter style helmet. I would use one of these in a second, only I would want black...but keep the mirrored face shields.

    Lets try to aviod a drawn out helmet debate shall we. Remember, this is all about opening onse mind and learning about what the rest of the world uses.

    Is that leather?!?!



    If so, that is just cool as hell!

    EDIT: Sorry, the pictures wont work, you will have to follow the links.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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    There are 3 types of Breathing Apparatus that are in the photos, I cand ID any of them

    Confined space rebreather.

    http://www.bspp.fr/accueil.htm

    Dual tank SCBA.

    http://www.bspp.fr/weekpict/gallery/....php?img_idx=3

    And again, those shinny silver helmets arnt so brite here now are they!

    http://www.bspp.fr/weekpict/gallery/...php?img_idx=13

    And this looks like a single tank SCBA.

    http://www.bspp.fr/weekpict/gallery/..._idx=12-03-233

    I have not came across what units those are before. IIRC ISI has a dual tank SCBA, but those dont look familiar.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

  23. #23
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    SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    Is that silver thing on his waste a horn or whistle?

    http://www.bspp.fr/accueil.htm

    Kind of scary lookin, like a biker with a space helmet.

    http://www.bspp.fr/weekpict/gallery/...php?img_idx=47
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

  24. #24
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    Ok, here are some very good pictures.

    Here is one of a bottle being changed on the Single tank SCBA.

    http://www.bspp.fr/weekpict/gallery/...php?img_idx=34

    Coats definatly look like leather.

    That silver thing is also definatly a horn with a rubber squeeze ball. French PASS device...

    Also the plastic flip up SCBA bottle cover. I am sure it keeps the bottle in good shape, but it looks like extra wieght, and you have to bend over while your buddy inserts the cylindrical object...

    Why do I have the uncontrolable urge to poke fun at French people?

    Also note the dual tank SCBAs in the background.

    Here is another good picture.

    http://www.bspp.fr/weekpict/gallery/...php?img_idx=29

    I realy like the integrated SCBA facepiece/F1 Helmet ratchet system. You can don your facepiece without takeing off your helmet, and it forms a very solid protective seal that covers 100% of your head. That set up is one of the reasons that my VFD has considred going with the Fire Knight. IMO it gives better protection and you dont have to remove your helmet, which can save time and is more convienient.

    Man, that coat realy does look like leather, anybody have the scoop on that?
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

  25. #25
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    Man, that coat realy does look like leather, anybody have the scoop on that?
    I don't think it is leather, it may just be wet. I went to an extrication school in 99 and met some Italian FFs from near the French border. Their gear looked exactly like this (right down to the helmet and trim) except the coat was longer, much like the long coats that used to be common over here. The material seemed to be something similar to the outer shell on our gear.

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