Does anyone know of any publication that "recommends" the use of turnout gear while driving?? It seems that no one is addressing something that could be a contributing factor in apparatus accidents. So far, the "professional recommendations" are "what ever the department says". It is my understanding that this question of driving in turn-outs will be the fire engineering table top in December. This will be interesting. I think everyone knows the "right" answer. Who has the guts to take them out of the cab???
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Thread: Driving in turnout gear
10-04-2004, 05:05 PM #1
- Join Date
- Oct 2004
Driving in turnout gear
10-04-2004, 05:38 PM #2
Not allowed in our Department. Drivers get an entire compartment for their gear, there is no reason for them to be wearing it in the drivers seat.
10-04-2004, 05:44 PM #3
- Join Date
- Jun 2002
- Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
If you are driving, your gear is carried on the piece, not worn. We consider this a safety issue as turnouts are bulky, and in my opinion, impede your movement.Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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10-04-2004, 06:06 PM #4
My department(s) has/have no policy regarding it but then again we have very few policies regarding anything. The general understanding is that the paid FF and any vollies responding from home will keep their gear in their bags until arriving on scene either in a pumper or POV. When they get there they will determine if they need to bunker up. Of course it all depends on them having their gear with them in the first place but that's another thread.
10-04-2004, 06:52 PM #5
We do not have a written policy, its driver preference.
But, I do know of a department that has a very strict policy on driving with the old style pull up boots. If you are wearing pull ups, they have to be pulled all the way up. Anyone seen, caught, or even heard about wearing their boots rolled down is suspended. There is even a sign in each truck telling the driver this information."The uniform is supposed to say something about you. You get it for nothing, but it comes with a history, so do the right thing when you're in it."
Battalion Chief Ed Schoales
from 'Report from Ground Zero' pg 149
10-04-2004, 10:00 PM #6
- Join Date
- Dec 2003
driving in bunker pants/leather ff boots
Like most guys in my Dept. I sleep in FD shorts and just pull on bunker pants for any middle of the night runs. Also, being a Truckie, anytime we make an extrication run I will pull on my bunker pants before I get behind the wheel and finishing gearing up on scene before using the Tool. I have so far never had any problems driving the Ladder while wearing bunker pants and leather boots. (rubber ff boots would probly be a different story) Just my experience. -46
10-04-2004, 10:14 PM #7
We do not have even close to enough space to store our gear so we tend to drive with it on.
Personally, I don't like it. I don't like the lack of feeling in my feet when I drive. Nor do I like the bulk as it makes wearing seat belts uncomfortable if the belt can be done up at all. For fear of looking like an idiot or wuss, I have not said anything to command. I have often wondered if I was the only person with this opinion.
10-05-2004, 12:57 AM #8
We have no written policy either. About 50% wear thier bunkers and drive and another 50% don't (mostly the old guys). I for one used to wear my bunkers....but not the helmet or gloves...and may times we were need for man power...not water or ladders. And everytime we were needed no one had to wait on me to get dressed and go to work....and yes...we expect our drives to "go to work" if the apparatus is not utilized...(mostly the tower ladder, or if were there as the rescue). The chauffer is expectedf to assist the outside team with either, roof ops, OV, or FE....and depending...primary searches.IACOJ Member
10-05-2004, 01:18 AM #9
Our dept also does not have a written SOP, most of use put at least the bunker pants on, and throw the coat and helmet in the truck with us. I do know of a dept. that would rather have you wear full gear before getting in, reasoning behind it is it will protect you in case of an accident.
10-05-2004, 02:28 AM #10
I generally pull on my turnout pants in the middle of the night too, whether I'm responding my my POV or if I've got the ambulance or utility truck at home. I haven't had any problem with the pants getting in the way. Only thing that's a little awkward is putting the parking brake on, so I generally open the door first (with my other foot on the brake) then step on the parking brake pedal.
I don't put my coat on while driving the RA or utility though. I've tried it a couple of times, and that is very awkward, so I now wait until I'm on scene.
I'd say the Engineers drive the engines in turnout pants about half the time, but again, no coats. Some do wait until getting on-scene to gear up totally, but that's generally discouraged by the Captains. SOP is for the Engineer to be in full turnouts, even when pumping.Chris Gaylord
Emergency Planner / Fire Captain, UC Santa Cruz FD
10-05-2004, 12:32 PM #11
Like most of the post responces here we too do not have a written SOG in regards to drivers wearing there turnouts while driving. My personal opinion is that they should not be worn while driving. Reasons for this are they can be too bulky and possibly cause problems if the driver has to make an invasive manover. Todays cabs offer much less room than they did years ago.(heck you could drive with the sparky suit on in the cab back when I started Ha Ha) I from experience prefer if the driver waits until he/she arrives on the scene to get dressed.
10-05-2004, 05:56 PM #12
We do not have a policy on it. If I'm driving, I will usually at least have my pants/boots on, and the rest of my gear is with me in the cab.
10-05-2004, 06:02 PM #13
- Join Date
- Dec 2001
- Lusby, MD
I put my boots and pants on before responding. Not only does it give me some protection when I get out, but since I'm usually the first one to the station, it makes waiting on others go a little faster. I've gotten so used to driving in my boots and bunkers that now if I don't have them on, it feels strange.
10-05-2004, 06:10 PM #14
What about big feet?
Here's one for everyone to think about! What about those of us who have big canoes on the bottom of our legs? I wear size 13W boots. I literally, physically, CAN NOT drive our 1992 Grumman pumper- when I press on the accellerator, the left edge of my right boot will press down on the brake pedal. Along with that, if I press down on the brake pedal, the boot becomes wedged in between tne accellerator and the steering column. So, for safety sake, I DO NOT wear gear while driving!
IMHO, I dont think ANY drivers should be wearing gear at all, for all the reasons cited in the various posts in this forum. Some other reasons that I did not see- Collars of coats can flip up, getting in the line of sight of the mirrors or opposite sides of the vehicle, big bellows pockets can interfere with gear shifts, parking brakes, PTO Controls, and transfer switches on vehicles with center consoles. Helmets can also interfere- falling off, getting knocked partially off, etc. And, many of you dont have this problem, but I find that when I drive the (Yes, youngsters, fire trucks used to have them *GASP!) stick shift, bunker pants interfere with lifting my left leg up and down.
Wearing gear while driving has WAY more cons than pros. And if you arrive on a fire that requires the driver to assist, it's probably big enough that it can wait a minute for the driver to gear up."Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."
10-05-2004, 11:24 PM #15
- Join Date
- Oct 2004
I guess wether you wear your turn out's or bunker pants really depends on your staffing. If you have the luxury of having a department that can roll out of the barn with 4 on a piece and have the operator stay at their vehicle, then yes I could argue that NOT wearing the heavy boots (as many of you have complained) while driving should be a standard that we all look at. However, in these day of poor staffing then we have to look at risk vs. benefit. On my department we are expected to goto work the moment the vehicle is stopped - DRIVER included! Not only does this require us to wear the bunker gear, but also requires us to potentially set hte pump and forget it - if we are under staffed. Thats 2 on a piece. Also, how does the argument for or against fit into "2 in 2 out"?
10-05-2004, 11:59 PM #16
- Join Date
- Jun 2004
Again, no SOP on it. We have a Pierce that has a custom cab on it, what I do is take my pants and boots in the cab, close the door, and wedge the boots between the internal step and the door. I actually drive bare footed and when its time to stop I have a system. First get it parked, open door, put feet in boots, hit pump switch, pull up pants, kick tranny into drive, and I am putting my coat and hat on while I walk back to the pump panel.
10-06-2004, 12:02 AM #17
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
We usually just wear bunker pants, just came in from a run where I wore everything for first time in a long, long time. Forgot how hard it was to drive with more than bunker pants on."Experience is the name everyone gives their mistakes." Oscar Wilde
10-06-2004, 12:47 AM #18
- Join Date
- Jul 2001
- Not the end of the earth but I can see it from here...
We don't have an SOP on this, but I don't see a problem with wearing the pants and boots while driving. We do it all the time. The coat can get in the way sometimes, and likewise the helmet, but I don't see where the pants and boots cause any problems. Of course, I guess it depends on the design of the cab and the controls. I'll usually climb in and put my helmet and coat on the engine cover and don them when we get to the fire (yes, in our department the chief has to drive sometimes ).
10-06-2004, 06:30 AM #19
I drive with leather pull ups and bunker pants. I feel more in control with them on then in zip ups and duty pants. I especially don't see holding everyone up in the middle of the night to put your pants back on and zip ups. Just my two cents
FFLongProud Volunteer Firefighter!
10-06-2004, 06:41 AM #20
I wear size 13W boots.
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
On Topic. I will usually wear my turnout pants if I am in bed when the bell rings. I use Pro Leather Turnout boots, so I don't have too much of a problem with the size of the boot versus the width of the pedal. I used to wear 3/4 Boots to drive as well, but had them "removed" during a station inspection. I have also driven a Manual Shift Seagrave (E201 for those form PG County) in my Turnout Pants and it worked fine. Now the rubber boots on the other hand, can be a pain.
The only time I wore full turnout gear while driving was when I was Tail-Gunning a Ladder Truck with an Open Tiller Box. It was Cold, and at about 20 degrees, turnout gear at 60 MPH does little for warmth, right Harve?Proud Right-Wing Extremist since 1992
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