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  1. #21
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    I am in the opinion you should have a choice. For most of the incidents I see or work at 3/4 boots would work just fine.


  2. #22
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    I have got to jump in here for the sake of “newer personnel” who may think it is more important to model “The Old Salty Jakes” and wear “¾ Boots” with no hood, than to be safe on the job and wear “Full Turnout Gear” to include a hood. While this is obviously not the norm, I am still surprised at how often someone will show up for Live Fire Training trying to wear ¾ boots and no hood.

    First, my comments are based on my personal experience and research, and I will try to stick to facts not opinions. I have worn both long coats with ¾ boots and full turnout gear, so I know both from first hand experience. I also know a large number of Brothers who have worn both, some are still with Depts that allow ¾ boots, and some are with Depts that have switched over.

    This topic has received a lot of formal and informal research, unfortunately a lot of the info from that research is not readily available to the public. To the best of my knowledge the Boston info that MIKEYLIKESIT posted is the only info that is out there for public access. I know there were a number of other “studies” that were done, but the results were never made public, primarily because it did not support the outcome that the agencies conducting the research were looking for. That being the case I would add the following comments based on my knowledge:

    Some Depts that switched from ¾ Boots to Full Turnout Gear did experience higher levels of heat and/or stress related injuries. There is no question that Full Turnout Gear can place higher levels of stress on the body due to greater weight, decreased mobility, greater heat retention, etc. How much of an increase depends on a lot of factors (design, flexibility, weight, and heat retention of the new gear). That being said there is a way to manage or offset the higher levels of stress placed on the body. The 2 primary ways are to limit the time personnel are working by rotating crews in and out more frequently, and by aggressively carrying out rehab when the crews come out. The big problem for Depts making the switch is that they have switched gear, but they have not switched the way they are operating. For the Depts who switched gear, but also switched the way they were operating (increased the rotation of personnel and conducted effective rehab), they saw no increase in the numbers of heat and stress related injuries. Phoneix FD has personnel fighting fires in full turnout gear in 100 Degree plus weather all of the time, and they do not have an excessive number of heat and stress related injuries, this is because they are very aggressive in educating and managing their personnel when it comes to rotation and rehab. If you ignore the additional stresses that full bunker gear places on personnel you will have problems, if you acknowledge it and act accordingly it can be managed effectively.

    So why should you switch if it will force you to change the way you are operating? Simple, because you are greatly increasing the level of protection that you have. Is the trade off worth it? I would personally say yes, and given that at least 90% of Depts in the Country are wearing full turnout gear I would say they also feel that way. You have to remember the fires of today and the buildings of today have changed dramatically. The fires are hotter, the buildings hold more heat and smoke in, and flashovers are more of a problem. There is also a huge increase in additional hazards such as Haz Mats and Acts of Terrorism. “The times have changed”, the gear also needs to change (not to mention the tactics/operating procedures). As far as research numbers go to support this, good luck getting them. Here are some numbers from FDNY:

    “The FDNY began using bunker gear in 1994, after which burn injuries dropped from 1,545 in 1993 to about 445 per year.”

    “Prior to full implementation of bunker gear, 1586 burn injuries to its members were recorded in 1994. In 1996, after fully outfitting members with bunker gear, burn injuries plunged dramatically, dropping nearly 60% to 651 burn injuries.”

    A lot of the research that has been done on this topic is very flawed. For example an agencies looks at the number of personnel who were burned while wearing ¾ Boots versus the number that were burned while wearing full turnout gear, and they do not note a big change in numbers so they conclude that there is not a big difference between the two. However what they don’t look at is the change in the number and types of fires that the personnel faced while wearing one or the other. They also don’t look at the differences in how the fires were fought wearing one or the other. For years people looked at the number of Brother who died in the Line of Duty and said the number is staying around a hundred per year, so while things were not getting better, they were not getting worse. Then someone actually looked at the big picture and realized that while the number of fatalities had not really changed, the number of fires personnel were responding to had almost dropped in half. This meant things were actually getting worse, because we were responding to less fires but the same number of Brothers were dieing.

    I have not doubt that if a proper research project was carried out, there would be a noticeable change in the number and severity of burn injuries that occurred when ¾ boots were worn versus full turnout gear. A real world example that supports this is illustrated by the photo below. A Brother from FDNY was opening up the front of a store when a propane cylinder just inside the front of the store BLEVED. As you can see from the photos the Brother was completely engulfed in flames. I don’t care how good you think you are, how many years of experience you have, or what type of gear you are wearing, you can not always avoid situations like this. Fortunately for the Brother FDNY had just switched over to full turnout gear and as a result the burns he suffered were greatly reduced. If the change over had not been made and the Brother was still wearing the old gear, this could have very easily been a career ending burn/injury. I know of many more of these situations where Brothers were caught in Explosions/Flashovers and they survived due to the higher level of protection they had with full turnout gear.

    Personally for me it’s a “no brainer”, I will take the higher level of protection, and make sure that I adjust the way I operate to avoid the “potential problems” that can come with wearing full turnout gear.

    Good Luck, Stay Safe
    Mike Richardson
    Captain/Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Metro Louisville
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    Last edited by torichardson; 05-13-2005 at 03:10 PM.

  3. #23
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    I have been a firefighter for 27 years. I started out with pull up boots and a long coat. Hoods? There was no such thing back then. Helmets were the old MSA melt away plastics. Gloves were not really much more than leather work gloves. Our SCBA were Scott-Pak 1's with steel cylinders. Why this elaborate description? To make the point that I would not ever go back to anyone of those choices.

    In case it isn't clear by now I am a HUGE advocate of full bunkers to include bunker pants, shorter bunker coat, hood, NFPA approved helmet (Insert your desired style), and gloves that offer heat, abrasion and BBP protection. And the oft seen but not used SCBA that breaths easier, is lighter and more user friendly today than ever before.

    As far an my experiences with full bunkers...I have not seen a major increase in heat stress related problems in the departments I am a member of or have been a member of in the past. Rehab is more important than ever and a strict policy of when and how it should be done is critical. What I have seen is a reduction in burn injuries, and cut or other soft tissue style injuries.

    I have used bunkers of FR Cotton duck, Nomex and it's various blends, PBI, Advance, and aluminized CFR gear of different manufacturers. The worst was the CFR gear.

    There are more reasons to be fully protected in bunkers and SCBA then there are to wear pull up boots and long coats and carry but not use your SCBA.

    One man's opinion.

    FyredUp
    Last edited by FyredUp; 05-13-2005 at 03:30 PM.

  4. #24
    MembersZone Subscriber dmleblanc's Avatar
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    Originally posted by CaptainS
    I am in the opinion you should have a choice. For most of the incidents I see or work at 3/4 boots would work just fine.
    Maybe....but how do you know what kind of incident you're going to have when you get there? You don't, so plan for the worst....

    A Brother from FDNY was opening up the front of a store when a propane cylinder just inside the front of the store BLEVED. As you can see from the photos the Brother was completely engulfed in flames. I don’t care how good you think you are, how many years of experience you have, or what type of gear you are wearing, you can not always avoid situations like this.
    My point exactly....You don't walk up to this building expecting to be engulfed in a giant fireball....but it can happen. Not a good time to decide that full bunkers might have been a better choice.....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  5. #25
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    By that resoning you would have to wear your bunker gear and mask, call for the collapse rig, the scuba team, fire boat and helicopter just to put out a two room fire. There has to be some balance between protection and freedom of movement otherwise we'd all be wearing those airport approach suits. People also mention limiting your working time. How many companies do you know that would surrender their line to ANY other company and go rest? Not here.

  6. #26
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Default Painting with a broad brush

    Originally posted by ChicagoFF
    How many companies do you know that would surrender their line to ANY other company and go rest? Not here.
    I'll give you the 4th, 5th and maybe on a good day some companies in the 6th that live up to your assertation
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  7. #27
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    Im in the 4th so I'm glad we made your list!!!!

  8. #28
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    I'm just messin with you Brother. Duckers can be found on every fire company in the world.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  9. #29
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    no, you were right - 4th and 5th are the best - some 6th too and 9th batt up north

  10. #30
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    Originally posted by ChicagoFF
    People also mention limiting your working time. How many companies do you know that would surrender their line to ANY other company and go rest? Not here.
    Amen brother. We do not have a rehab policy, and when we go for mutual aid for the cities around us, its funny to see them going outside for their mandatory "water break" and we go right past them and actually do work for a living!!! The first engine company there is still the last to leave (ok, maybe the 1st due truck stays last sometimes....)
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  11. #31
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    OFD226 and ChicagoFF,

    Yepper, we regularly give up the line in the middle of the firefight because it is time to rehab. That is the most ridiculous nonsense I have ever heard on here. Come on how about a little common sense in your answers? You don't drop the line because you have been inside for X amount of time and leave. Both of my current FD's have a 2 bottle rule. After 2 bottles of air you rehab. I guarantee you that neither of my FD's are the size of either Chicago or Oakland and we manage to do it without having to have mutual aid come in and fight our fires for us. But I guess since a lot of larger metro FD's don't use their SCBA, they just wear them, it would be hard to judge when you used 2 bottles of air.

    The Oakland Fire Department has no official rehab policy? I find that totally pathetic. So the official line there is to work until you drop and then you get to take a break? If that isn't the way it is then please explain.

    As far as marching past me at a fire and putting out my fire you'd better be ready to physically take the hose from my hands because I am not giving it up to you or any other mutual aid company. It's nice to know you have such disdain for the brother's in your neighboring FD's.

    Sure, we send the trench rescue team, scuba team, high angle rescue team, collapse rescue and the USAR team to every fire just in case. Again, come on, that is totally ridiculous. Telling firefighters to wear the proper turnout gear is not over kill. It is good sound safety practice. But hey it's cool to wear your pull up boots rolled down, with a long coat, no hood so your ears can tell you that you will be spending a few days in the burn unit, and the SCBA on your back with the waist straps unfastened and the mask hangin off the hose by your waist. I think I prefer to be uncool, wear my full gear and be able to go back to the station or home after a call.

    FyredUp

  12. #32
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    FyredUp

    Go back to France you cheese eating surrender monkey.

  13. #33
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    I remember when we were forced into the change back in the early 80's. Member's thought that this was the worst move ever made for someone who has summer's in the low 100's with high humidty. We were all accustomed to the 3/4's and did not have any problems with them.

    Now that were have been in them for some time, they are not as bad as we expected. The protection offered by bunkers is far superior to that of 3/4's. Yea, they are hotter in the summer, but we have become use to them and do not see any more heat related problems with them.

    One key is for the I.C. to know when to give the crews a break and allow them to cool off properly. Members who are experiencing heat related symptoms are removed from the scene and placed in rehab for evaluation. If it is determined that the member is fit to return they are allowed to re-join their crew. Also all members are encouraged to stay properly hydrated prior to arrival at the fire scene.
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  14. #34
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    Originally posted by LFD131
    FyredUp

    Go back to France you cheese eating surrender monkey.
    Excellent way to get this thread shut down........
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
    We are all adults so there is no need to act like a child........
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  15. #35
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    FyredUp, my department doesn't have a rehab policy either. Why is that pathetic? Do you know when we rehab? When we absolutely can't do any more work and need a quick break. Works well for us. Well actually, my rule of thumb is when my carboxyhemaglobin levels reach 30%, then I take a breather. You know, masks are for pussies.

  16. #36
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    LFD....

    Go back to France you cheese eating surrender monkey.
    Thank you for your highly intelligent, insiteful, and very useful addition to this thread. I look forward to continuing to learn absolutely nothing from you.

    erics99...

    Your FD has no official rehab policy either? You do realize it is 2005 don't you?

    Do you know when we rehab? When we absolutely can't do any more work and need a quick break.
    Here is why this idea is flawed. If you wait until you absolutely can't do anymore to rehab you will be out of service far longer than if you stop at some kind of established interval and rehydrate, get your vitals checked, cool off and then go back to work. There is no reason to continue to work until you are ready to drop. Unless the idea of heat stress related injuries thrill you,or a heart attack is your ultimate goal.

    Of course there may be times when that interval is increased due to tactical concerns on the fire ground. But working up to the point that you physically can't do anymore is just plain dangerous.

    You know, masks are for pussies.
    And brain cancer, liver cancer, empysema, and a host of other breathing and cancer related maladies are for real men who prefer to carry an SCBA on their back for no apparent reason other than the department policy says you will wear it, but doesn't mandate that you actually breath through it.



    To everyone else...Look for me the answer is clear, full protective clothing and SCBA usage is the way to be fully protected. If your FD chooses to allow you to wear less, then so be it. But don't believe for one second that the days of pull up boots, long coats, and leather lungs will ever make a large sweeping come back to the majority of the fire service. It won't and it can't, because in reality it just simply doesn't make sense to go backwards.

    Okay, I am standing by to be blasted again. Or to hear how wearing bunker pants is leading to an end of life on this planet.

    FyredUp

  17. #37
    the 4-1-4 Jasper 45's Avatar
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    Originally posted by FyredUp


    Your FD has no official rehab policy either? You do realize it is 2005 don't you?

    FyredUp

    Fyred Up,

    My depatment has no "official" rehab policy either. It is 2005, but that doesn't make us "bass-ackwards". We tend to rely on ourselves to know when to say when. Our bosses listen to us, and rely on us to know our own limits. Fluids (gatorade/water) are present at every fire scene I have been to.
    If it's hot or cold we call in more companies, a luxury we have that many smaller departments don't have. I don't know your department, if you don't have the additional resources immediately available I can see rehab policies being more important. Because we have no "official" written policy in place for fires doesn't reduce our ability to work fires.


    The previous quote written about what/who masks are for makes me chuckle just a bit. A statement such as that can only be written by an individual who has never made a hard push. I'll take my mask with me everytime. Don't take that as saying I'm on air for everything, it's at my disposal though. It's also allowed me to take the pipe from someone who was unfortunate to not have their mask with them.
    Bunker gear is also necessary to do hard work. You will never convince me that you can make it as far in 3/4's as in pants, you just can't. Bunker gear is cumbersome, it is hot, and absolutely heat stress is more common wearing it. I do think all of that needs to be put aside for the times when you need to get in deeper, or crawl past a room engulfed; it's those times you need to have that extra heat protection, for you and whomever you are searching for. There are many area's on a fireground where you don't need pants and 3/4's would be great. The only problem I would have is the unknown factors. I'm not going to list any out, we can all make our own lists.
    Anyone who has been around for awhile know's just how differant a fire scene can be 5 or 10 minute's after being on scene. It's an everchanging environment. I would love to be able to wear 3/4's, but I would hate to be burned or not able to make a rescue because I didn't have my pants on.
    Last edited by jasper45; 05-16-2005 at 01:22 PM.

  18. #38
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Jasper...

    For the most part we seem to agree on level of protection, including SCBA. I feel the same way you do about using the mask or bunker pants. It's great for people to talk about lightness and mobility issues of pull up boots until they have to leave because of heat that bunkers will allow you to be able to handle and perhaps successfully extinguish the fire without personal injury. The same thing with a mask, back when stuff was made out of wood and actual natural fiber materials maybe a mask wasn't as important as today. But darn near everything is made out of plastic or synthetics today and will mess you up, if not immediately, in 30 years when you should be enjoying retirement. The corrolary to the better gear is understanding that it does not make you superman and you still should be aware of what is going on around you as far as heat buildup and fire conditions so you know when to leave.

    As far as having an official policy on rehab here is my take on that. Unless there is some method of mandating that breaks be taken after what ever your FD determines is an appropriate time span some super hero types will never take a break until they are ready to drop, or actually do drop over. For every guy that goes down, at a minimum, 2 BLS personnel are now tending to his medical needs, 4 or 5 if it becomes ALS. Even more if the RIT team must be activated to rescue them from inside the structure. I would much rather utilize those personnel for the emergency at hand than one we created out of some meaningless need to prove that "Only sissies rehab" attitude. If voluntary rehab works for you guys great...I see it being more of a problem in others.

    FyredUp

  19. #39
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    I see this sort of like the original seat belt debate. Bunkers save lives, they protect you. Just as seat belts do, but originally some folks thought that they would trap you in a burning vehicle, or cut into you. Eventually everyone will wear bunkers, get used to them, and those that don't like them will retire.
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  20. #40
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    If it's your fire you stay till it's out. Your company keeps the line. Rehab? No way.

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