1. #1
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    Default Wildland Turnouts

    for those of you that work at a dept that does both wildland and structural attacks, do you have different turnouts for both? What kind of turnouts do you wear for wildland?Coveralls? any help would be much appreciated.
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    We have seperate gear for wildland and structural.
    For wildland we are issued the standard green nomex pants, yellow nomex shirt and leather boots. Full turn outs are too hot and bulky to work in.

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    We were issued 'hunter orange' Nomex coveralls, I'm assuming for high visiblity. Leather boots and an orange hard hat with goggles.
    My first wildland fire ( we have many here in the spring ) I wore Bunker gear, pretty wore out after the first hour

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    Default ummm... orange coveralls?

    In the states are usually worn by the inmate crews. Although I have heard stories of fires where pilots wearing orange flight suits through the line of the Inmate run canteen/kitchen getting double servings because of the "brotherhood". LOL
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    Default Why certain turnouts?

    Why is the Green and Yellow the tradition?

    We are looking at new PPE for wildland... The traditional seems to be the Green pants and Yellow Shirt.

    But there is a Yellow Nomex coverall that is made with reflective strips and the same with the top that I was looking at. Is that going to cause confusion with our traditional Yellow Bunkers?

    I am thinking if we called from one incident to another - the Yellow with reflective strips would increase visibility on the scene of a traffic incident. But at the same time, it could cause some confusion between bunkers and wildland PPE.

    In addition, why the hard hats and not traditional helmits. It would seem that we could cut some cost using traditional helmits.

    I am new to the fire service and our department has been traditionally a structure fire department. But we are recognizing that we fight more vegetation fire than structure fires. We are in the Urban / wildland interface... but we are in the Northeast so we do not look at it that way. Some of us have gotten our feet wet with some wildland training but we are looking for more.

    Sean Kelleher
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    Default Re: Why certain turnouts?

    Originally posted by skelleher1
    But at the same time, it could cause some confusion between bunkers and wildland PPE.

    In addition, why the hard hats and not traditional helmits. It would seem that we could cut some cost using traditional helmits.
    No, no confusion, structural turnouts are very bulky compared to the wildland. If you can't tell in a glance, you will the instant you pick it up. As for the helmets... tradtional helmets are far too heavy to use for prolonged incidents. They work for the occasional brush pile or small woodlot fire you may encounter, but for a prolonged fire or having to hike in, it's more comfortable with the lighter weight helmet.

    As for colors? No idea why they settled on those, other than the visibility of the yellow.
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    Agreed, regular helmets are way too heavy.
    The yellow shirt increases your visability, it makes it easier for the aircraft to see you when you are out in the trees.
    More and more you see the tan Kevlar pants. I think the color has to do with the material they are made from.

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    LOL RxFire;
    In Ontario, as far as I know, all Wildland FFs wear hunter orange because of the extensive use of water bombers. It is accepted that orange has a higher visibility for recognition from the air in many situations, especially search and rescue.
    I never heard of using inmates on the fire ground around here

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    Depending on the terrain in the area you serve, bunkers may be too cumbersome to wear at wildland fire operations. You don't need FFs being fatigued by wearing heavy turnout gear or stumbling around rocky areas in their turnout boots.

    Consider issuing separate PPE, in the form of NOMEX shirt and pants...OR NOMEX coveralls, eye protection, wildland helmet, approved gloves and 8" leather boots. Check NFPA 1977: Standard on Protective Clothing and Equipment for Wildland Fire Fighting.

    The coveralls would most likely be the most convenient and cost effective way to go. Obviously, they can be slipped on over shirts and jeans.

    Another thing to consider....consult with your insurance carrier and get their input. They may have standards to meet regarding minimal PPE.

    Include the PPE requirements for wildland operations in your SOPS or SOGS. Make certain they are established in writing!

    Check with your state's Division of Forestry...and solicit input from them. They may be able to supply PPE through a GSA order, or perhaps issue it under a grant.

    Think about fire shelters.....expensive, but the alternative is even more costly.
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    Along the lines of fire shelter.
    Every where I have worked they are required, you don't have a shelter you don't go on the fire.

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    We have seperate wildland and structural turnouts. In the past we have used the nomex coveralls which worked ok. We have recently replaced the coveralls with the nomex coat and pants (the style that are worn over regular clothing). The general opinion of the firefighters is that these are far more comfortable, not as hot, and generally a better choice than the coveralls. Ours have full triple trim reflective striping. Some of our guys that are red carded and spend weeks at a time fighting wildland fire have purchased the nomex shirt and advance pants. This is by far the "best" choice as far as comfort is concerned, however I just don't see that style working very well at most volunteer departments. I don't see our guys responding to the station, stripping down and getting redressed in the nomex shirt and pants. Would be hard on response times as well. Easier solution is to wear the style that goes over your existing clothing. We are also issued wildland boots. Took us some time to find the money to do this, but definitely worth it!
    Rick Gustad - Chief
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    Default Wildland Fireline gear

    You can purchase wildland/fireline coveralls from Unitex in Moncton New Brunswick Canada. They supply the forest service and fire departments. 1-800-964-6161
    They also have pant/shirt combos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skelleher1
    Why is the Green and Yellow the tradition?
    I can only take a S.W.A.G. at this, the US Forest Service traditionally has had khaki shirts and green uniform pants. Those of us in fire wear the nomex pants as our uniform pants during the fire season so I am assuming when nomex started being worn in the 70's the USFS ordered green nomex pants to stay with the current uniform. The shirts are not part of our uniform so I guess yellow wasn't a problem, it also meets the requirement for high visibility colors, since orange is widely used for inmates, yellow makes sense.

    As the USFS is one of the largest fire organizations in the world it buys alot of nomex, it also is responsible rural fire protection in the US so it supplies alot of wildland equipment to fire departments. As a result many agencies have adopted the yellow and green look in their wildland gear.


    As far as your original question, yes we have seperate PPE, there is no way we could work a wildland fire in structure gear, too hot, too heavy and the boots have little ankle support. We use the structure gear primarily for car fires but we do occasionally end up at a structure fire. Obviously the wildland gear doesn't provide enough protection for these kinds of fires.

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    In our dept. we have the option of nomex coveralls or coat and pants to go over street clothes. The dept will furnish either. Right now it is split on which is better. Some have coveralls, some have coats and pants, and some have both. For me, I wear coveralls. I also have several pairs of green nomex pants and yellow nomex shirts. I have been known to show up for work, I'm an electrician, wearing my greens and yellows if it is a high temp and low RH type of day.

    If it looks like we could be out longer than a couple of hours some of us do change into our yellow shirts and green pants. Changing to the shirt and pants keeps you a lot cooler. It does make a difference after a couple hours of hard work.

    The cost of a wildland helmet is cheap compared to a structure helmet. Like stated earlier, the GSA is a good source. We buy alot of our wildland gear and tools thru GSA by way of our state forestry dept. There is money available, you just have to find it. Talk to every state and federal agency that does wildland fire in your area. Most are willing to help. Some have funding available to help with PPE's. Others will know where to start looking. You just can't be afraid to ask. We bought everyone on our dept. wildland boots with an Assist. to Firefighters Grant.

    We got our first wildland gear as a result of taking a wildland fire class from the BIA lots of years ago. Over the years, we've also been loaned gear that we didn't have money to buy. The help is there, you just have to make friends with the FMO's in the agencies that can and are willing to help. Most are willing to work with the departments around them, but remember, its a 2 way street. Try to help them whenever possible. Good luck.

    Brad

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    I do both wildland and structure. There is no safe way to fight both with the same gear. We use nomex III coveralls for wildland. For a quick response these are ideal. If your going to be on sistained attack you might want the 2 peice.

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    Our department issues yellow jumpsuits and rubber or leather structural type boots, though I use zip and lace up paratooper boots.

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    We have diffrent gear for both. Structure gear is to hot and bulky for grass fires during the summer. Some of our guys wear their structure gear during the winter and when we have structures in danger.

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    I must sound stupid. Our department doesn't only issue yellow jumpsuits, I forgot to add we have bunker gear for structure fires too.
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    Slightly off the subject but Nevada uses inmate trustee fire crews regularily.

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    the thing I don't like about coveralls is that they give you a wedgie if you bend over to pick something up. I'll stick with the two piece.....

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    Default hope this helps

    As most of the other posts have said already, the structural turnouts are far too bulky to wear during wildfire operations. With further questioning on my part, I discovered that the "second-layer" that most structural departments were over there duty uniforms (which is most departments now is also made from nomex material), being either the green nomex cargo pants and yellow nomex shirt or a coverall style, is due to those uniform items not being recognized by NWCG standards and therefore cannot be used solely during wildland operations. As far as colors, it seems to fairly universal within the west coast that inmate crews, either helicopter or handcrews, wear the orange and everyone else wears the yellow. In regards to speed of putting on the pants and shirt vs. the coveralls, most makers of the pants are offering a side-zip style to aid in donning pants over boots. The local volunteer departments surrounding my district seem to have no real delays due to PPE issues. Hope this helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wildfire11
    With further questioning on my part, I discovered that the "second-layer" that most structural departments were over there duty uniforms (which is most departments now is also made from nomex material), being either the green nomex cargo pants and yellow nomex shirt or a coverall style, is due to those uniform items not being recognized by NWCG standards and therefore cannot be used solely during wildland operations.
    The double layer PPE is not an NWCG standard, in California CDF pushes this on the municipal departments, many other structural departments have also picked this up, some for the perceived safety it offers others because they can throw overpants and a coat over their uniform or street clothes.

    The Federal wildland agencies make up most of NWCG and they do not use the double layer.

    There are two lines of thought about single vs double layer, in many ways it is similar to the arguments with structural gear how much protection is enough?

    Double layer does offer more thermal protection if you get burned over, however it also retains your bodies heat increasing the potential for heat exhaustion / heat stroke. Another thing with the double layer is it insulates better from the heat allowing crews to work closer to the fire which is not always a good thing.

    Single layer does not provide as much thermal protection but it allows the body to cool better, it also tends to keep crews from being overly agressive since they can really feel the heat.

    There was a study done in Australia comparing crews equipped with single layer vs double layer. The crews in single layer PPE were more productive since they could work longer, they also did not work as close to the hotter parts of the fire which allowed them more time to react and get away from the fire if it flared up on them. The crews in single layer PPE also did not have as many heat related injuries.

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    The information posted so far has been pretty accurate. Thought i might put my 2 cents in.
    - NWCG recognizes that gear meeting the requirements of NFPA 1977 (now in 2005 ed) meets their needs. Color makes no difference. USFS uses yellow and green as that was what was available in the mid 70s and early 80s when the gear was first developed. It works.
    - The fire shelter is an NWCG AND NFPA 1500 requirement, but is not part of 1977 any longer. While there are rumors of other makes, the USFS Next Generation Fire Shelter is the only one available so far.
    - Whether employed as a contract firefighter or responding as part of a municipal team, you have a contract. If you go to a federal fire, you better have everything your contract says you should, or you will be sent home. Incident Management Teams are getting very serious about that.
    - The reason for only a single layer is as NonSurfin says, the FS intent is that the gear let heat out. Double layering adds a level of stress by retaining it. Calif decided their fast intense fires required extra protection and they could put up with the greater stress for a short time the IA should take, while the overall federal system is geared towards indirect attack and being on the line for weeks on end. It is a management decision that both sides can support.
    - There is NFPA 1977 gear available in colors suitable for station wear. During fire season, most of my FF's wear their green pants and wildland boots full time, and carry our line packs and other gear in our rigs with us. Every morning we leave home ready to be gone 2 weeks or more if we need to be.
    - Overalls are fine, but do have sizing issues, plus when you tear a knee out or rip an arm seam, you replace the whole thing instead of shirt or pants.

    The issues of what gear is suitable is one that even has confusion within the Wildland agencies. Though we all fight the same fires, BLM and USFS allow and prohibit different things, so do not feel too singled out if confused. The differences usually are more cosmetic than anything, but rules are rules.

    Bottom line, use gear that is NFPA 1977 certified when fighting wildland fires and you will be in good shape.

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    Default I worded my previous statement poorly

    Quote Originally Posted by NonSurfinCaFF
    The double layer PPE is not an NWCG standard, in California CDF pushes this on the municipal departments, many other structural departments have also picked this up, some for the perceived safety it offers others because they can throw overpants and a coat over their uniform or street clothes.

    The Federal wildland agencies make up most of NWCG and they do not use the double layer.
    I didn't really type that like I was thinking I was, and I was not stating that the double layer PPE was a NWCG requirement, merely that the structural style nomex uniform pants (Refered to in my part of the state as "FR's") were not recognized by NWCG. Not having this rating thus led my agency to require a second layer that was recognized by NWCG. Now, let me also add that I don't believe this is more true than anyone elses statements, this is just what I discovered while researching within my agencies mysterious guidelines. I say mysterious because knowone is really sure when it was started or by whom, simply that it has always been that way.

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