1. #1
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    Default todays ppe. good or bad?

    ive been listening to alot of people talk about the pros and cons of todays ppe. there is a large concensus of people that are starting to believe that maybe we have gone a bit overboard with the personal safety thing . i know that probably raised an eyebrow or two but hear me out .
    there is an overwhelming amount of heat related injuries at fire scenes these days . its one thing to have good good gear that keeps you from frying but at what cost . i mean the older guys will tell you that they fought the hell out of fires with the old hip boots and coat . they were able to move better without overexertion hence being able to have a better chance at knockin it down quickly . which is the ultimate goal .
    there is the argument that in some cases the gear might be a bit to good . if you cant feel the heat you might be going a little bit deeper than you should . some of this pertains to hoods . which must be worn at all times at the academy during any practice evolutions yet i personally dont wear mine . it stays in my bellows pocket .[ i know i can hear you allready , lots of good its doing in there]. but im trying to be honest here . i got no problem losing the tips of ears if it means my *** is gettin out when i should .
    lastly i feel that a certain amount of this whole personal protection stuff stems more from the whole insurance co. angle and iso ratings . with the user friedly disclaimer that firefighter safety is the overall concern . i just wonder is all . is it ? i work in a full time dept that has its share of fires . jump the gear four or five times a shift in this heat even for a false [which we do] and you notice how much your losing in terms of potential vital energy, makes you really wonder if we just might have put the cart before the horse with the best of intetions. IS THE GEAR DOING MORE HARM THAN GOOD .
    comments guys ,, i know this might stir it up a bit but i think its a good topic to discuss.

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    Another twist -- are the fires "hotter"? With all the plastics and the chemicals in these plastics that weren't around 20 - 30 years ago...Just look at your basic living room -- wall to wall carpet, plush couches, big TV's, VCR's, DVD players, etc.

    My dept. doesn't use hoods...
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
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    thank you diane, i meant to refer to that . that might be a whole different argument . but i see the relevance . i knew i forgot to add somthing in that post . thats a definite argument for scba though . i dont think we can ever argue that inovation . the pass device game with all the extras is starting to get out of hand , now we must disypher the differnce in chirping tones? c mon , every box i ever go on has the traditional pass device go off somewhere with few looking for it. { i know , i know .. ]
    Last edited by bfd190; 07-21-2005 at 04:58 PM.

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    Firefighters are in the best shape in history right now. The guys of the past needed to remain unincombered because too many of them were already held back by their large bellies. Fires today are hotter then the fires of the past, it is just the nature of the beast. I will wear all the PPE available to me that helps me come home safe to my family.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    i hear you dennis . cant argue with that . but ive seen some pretty jacked guys that dont do half the job of some smaller guys .. plus i dont think the older generation were all fat .

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    I don't know about the rest, but I would tend to agree with Dennis. I will wear all the safety gear I can find, if it means I have a better chance of doing the job well.
    Isiah 43: When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    9-11-01. We Will Never Forget You.

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    i suppose the intent of my post was to see if you thought that if less gear allowed you to do the job better and safer would you concider it . like a guy told me ,, you can get the coolest looking leather helmut in the world , its whats under it that matters to me .
    im not inplying that less gear is safer at all ,, i will personally wear all my turnouts with the exception of the hood all the time . just want to see the different oppinions .. i like this , this is good .

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    I would hate for my next of kin to not get anything from the insurance company because I wasn't wearing full PPE which includes a nomex hood. There are plenty of indicators that you're in too deep other than burning your ears off.

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    Originally posted by bfd190
    i suppose the intent of my post was to see if you thought that if less gear allowed you to do the job better and safer would you concider it . like a guy told me ,, you can get the coolest looking leather helmut in the world , its whats under it that matters to me .
    Less protection? No that would not help and i would not consider it. But over time we will get equivelent protection in much better/more maneuverable packages.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
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    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Originally posted by bfd190
    i suppose the intent of my post was to see if you thought that if less gear allowed you to do the job better and safer would you concider it . like a guy told me ,, you can get the coolest looking leather helmut in the world , its whats under it that matters to me .
    im not inplying that less gear is safer at all ,, i will personally wear all my turnouts with the exception of the hood all the time . just want to see the different oppinions .. i like this , this is good .
    Oh - right with you Dennis - BFD why would I wear less gear? Sure if its a raging structure - I have no problem wering jeans and boots....you will see me operating the pump!

    As for the hood - its up to you, my advic, start looking for a good surgeon that can fix your ears. Todays fires are hotter than ever with our wonderful chemicals - and dude if you think that warm ears is going to save you......Back to training for you! There are a lot more signs I look for in a burning structure than how hot my gear is.

    The REPUTABLE companies building PPE now are aware of the movement problems - Globe and MP are making gear that is supposed to move with your body and not make movement more strenuous.

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    Its only going to get more so of what we have. The Project Heroes CBRN/WMD/HAZMAT Light has ITEGRAL hood, and more robust layers to prevent permiation!

    http://www.firehouse.com/news/2005/ppe.html

    -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.
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    ok , this is the problem with the whole internet forum thing............... i was merely pointing out the arguments that some use and wanted to try and generate discussion . my overall personal oppinions on the issue were really never stated , i just wanted to get a pulse on peoples differing views out there .ive heard many differing things . and the aer thing is really an old time fav. the old temp.gauge . what can i say . i did say i dont wear my hood and the reason i dont is very much the ear argument , which ive heard form a ton of reputable and respected older guys that i genuinely respect and listen ,. which last i checked might just be the best thing one can do , listen to those that know , yet form your own oppinion . thats all . i wear a ton of stuff including a harness style safety belt , get y nuts kicked in for doing so by others , but it sure beats the old truck belts . and god forbid i need to bail , its allready on . i mean hey , they did away with the hip boots for a reason right? why would then in this day and age reputable depts . even entertain the idea of allowing them back if not for some merit to it ..? get it.
    Last edited by bfd190; 07-21-2005 at 05:55 PM.

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    BFD - not lashing out bud - I am very sarcastic though I agree with you listening to the old timers - they know a heck of a lot, my problem is they dont know how new things are developed and some - not all dont want any part of it. Just because the old guys say they get out when the ears tell - how many of the "old" guys are still doing structures compared to how many are in a command position. Food for thought!

    I think it would make an awesome picture of you bailing with ears on fire! (sarcastic)
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    -But people will never forget how you made them feel!

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    I went in without a hood once, and got a nice steam burn on my neck and chin. It won't happen again, and I'm a stickler about this to my crew. Some chemicals released from todays fires can get into your blood through the skin, and hurt you 20 years down the road. I want my entire body protected from this methylethylbad*****.

    It will be great when the gear gets lighter and allows more freedom of movement, but this is the best we can do for ourselves for now, and we should wear it.

    2 cents more
    There goes the neighborhood.

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    Another twist -- are the fires "hotter"? With all the plastics and the chemicals in these plastics that weren't around 20 - 30 years ago...Just look at your basic living room -- wall to wall carpet, plush couches, big TV's, VCR's, DVD players, etc.

    Hotter?

    Depends on your definition!

    Wood in full flame is burning at the temperature of 1100 degrees...hot enough for me

    That said...

    1) Plastics pack more BTUs into a given area. Polystyrene is about 17,000 BTUs per pound v. 6000-9000 for Wood.

    So while the materials may be burning just as hot to the touch, for the same mass burned you have more "heat" building up in a confined area with plastics.

    2) Wood actually has a fairly significant resevoir of oxygen with it. Just part of it's makeup -- celluloses' molecular formula is C6-H10-O5. If we're trying to make CO, we've got all the C and 5/6 of the O we need. Clean combustion with room air makes CO2 since it has enough oxygen now to make that molecule instead.

    Plastic has very little Oxygen in it -- Polystyrene is CH-CH2.

    Now, burning of both can be enhanced when they've absorbed Oxygen -- not changing their chemical makeup, just making it handier (thus the danger of smoking in a room when O2 has been in long-term use)

    Given that it's the conversion of C to CO or CO2 that's the main producer of "heat" in a fire...and C and O weigh about the same as atoms (Oxygen's a bit heavier)...it's not surprising Wood which has nearly equal amounts of C as O has only half the heating output per pound as Polystyrene which takes all it's O from the air, letting it have a lot more C per pound to make heat with!

    3) It's all about the ventilation.

    Wood will burn without good ventilation -- it's called "Charcoal."

    Plastics have a harder time. So they put off more BTU in the beginning of a fire than wood (assuming same rate of burning in a room). Then as Oxygen is used up, they continue to pump of partially-combusted products that have the heat and are only starved for Oxygen.

    The fact wood has Oxygen inherintent in it partly explains why "wood smoke" is grey-to-brown...brown being a low-oxygen situation -- it can burn more cleanly with less atmospheric O2. Plastics burn black when they don't have enough Oxygen -- just releasing a lot of pure carbon. That hot carbon meets Oxygen...fwoooosshhh.

    So the room has heated up faster, then you open the door, go in five feet, by which time the outside air and mixed in providing the Oxygen and the fire roars back to life going over your head seeking the only exit you gave it -- the door you came in.


    4) The total heat of a fire is governed by the Oxygen it has, not the fuel. Ok, need both, but a tightly-sealed room will burn itself out and not re-ignite if given long enough to cool.

    A fairly closed up house only has so much Oxygen in it, and whether wood or plastic is burning will only get so hot because it runs of out O2 before fuel.

    If the fire is well ventilated, both are probably about the same temperature -- because heat is being vented out!

    So I don't quite buy the "Fires burn hotter" arguement.

    Plastics will bring a room to a given temperature faster. And they'll outstrip their oxygen supply sooner, leaving a dangerous combination. That's the danger we face.

    And it's also why I don't mind that some departments that really have their act together will use reduced gear since their tactics don't expose them to the same risks faced by people not as well trained/drilled/experienced/etc.


    ========
    All the gory details on wood v. plastics at:
    http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/fire80/art002.html

    By the way, that's a 25 year old report. Remember the line from The Graduate in 1968..."Plastics!"

    The problem of plastics & energy efficient windows is not a new one to the fire service -- we've been there for a good 35 years already.

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    Would the soldier in today's military feel as safe in their gear if it was of WW2 vintage?

    The gear issue is another dead horse... haven't we beaten enough of them already?

    PS: Working support for recruits at the last Academy class, I recieved a 2nd degree burn to the face when a gap opened up between my hood and the facepiece of my SCBA while igniting. The fuel was 7 bales of straw and pallets on Division 3 of the burn building. Exposure was less than 3 seconds!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    There is a good article in last months firehouse magazine about the Bridgeport FD going to a mutifamily house fire. They didnt use hoods either, it was a good temp. reading to know when to get out of the structure, only problem was when a couple of guys couldnt find there way out and got burned.

    Article says that Bridgeport FD now has issued hoods to all of its memebers.

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    Originally posted by CaptainGonzo
    Would the soldier in today's military feel as safe in their gear if it was of WW2 vintage?
    I was thinking along a similar line. The gear I used to carry as a machine gunner was easily 150+ lbs. Lots of gear I would love to chuck most of the time. Full body armour was number 1, and my gas mask and bunny suit was number two. I was fully aware however that in the rare case I needed that stuff, it was going to pay for itself in spades.

    A hood may be the same. It may not do anything in 9 out of 10 bread and butter fires, but when I've understimated the threat and my *** is on the line in number 10, I'll take every piece of nomex I can shove up my *****.

    And personally, I think it is essential equipment today. I find such a small and light tool that potentially does so much good, a difficult item to argue against.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    IMO full encapsulaiton is a good thing.

    As new materials come about the PPE will get lighter, les bulky and more breathable/cooler to wear.

    Work is being done on new SCBA tech that will cut the weight by half while giveing longer time on the air supply.

    I dont think going back to 3/4 and such makes sence these days with all of the potential combustables.

    If building and products codes change to make structure fires safer then maybe someday.
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    We jsut got the new MSA SCBA packs, with the LED indicator lights on the inside to tell you, visually, how your air status is. I was wondering -- why couldn't they just put a temp. reader in there like on your car? I don't know if there's a range that you'd hit when you wanna haul *****, but i thought it'd be a decent replacement to the ear's idea. I agree that there should be some way to let you know when to get out that was as good as the ears test, but this is 2005 -- don't they have a computer or something that can tell us?

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    Originally posted by adamkhalil
    We jsut got the new MSA SCBA packs, with the LED indicator lights on the inside to tell you, visually, how your air status is. I was wondering -- why couldn't they just put a temp. reader in there like on your car? I don't know if there's a range that you'd hit when you wanna haul *****, but i thought it'd be a decent replacement to the ear's idea. I agree that there should be some way to let you know when to get out that was as good as the ears test, but this is 2005 -- don't they have a computer or something that can tell us?
    Funny you should mention that...

    Drager does have that on its sentinel unit. It gives temp, time on bottle left at current breathig rate, and bottle PSI.

    The New Sentinel unit with Merlin gives all of that info through a transponder to a acoutablilty board so you know whats going on with all of your FFs in side the building.

    There is also the Smart Coat under development. A bunker coat that detets heat saturation, etc... and warns the FF when things are getting to hot.

    There is also the TIC. It lets you see the thermal layer at times, can give temp readings, and of course lets you see through smoke.

    Now we have to ask why isnt EVERY FF equiped with this equipment?

    Dont tell its cost, because I put FF safety before dollars EVERY TIME!
    -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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    Dave,I'm one of the "old"guys you speak of.And NO,I don't need a "key". I do not do nearly the interior now that I did 15 years ago.But I think there have been several good points brought up.First my crews are in full PPE with hoods.That being said,I believe it is still possible to fight todays fires in the OLD ensemble PROVIDED THAT the following conditions exist:One,the members of the crew are accustomed to working in the "old" gear,two they've been around long enough to read fire and smoke conditions and three:This one's IMPORTANT,there is a vent crew that knows how to vent a building.We've argued this at length in the past,but I firmly believe that we have "lost"some of our fire abilities in trade to medical/haz-mat,and everything else we have to deal with today.Fact:Regardless of conditioning,there are more heat related injuries today than there ever were in 3/4 and long coats.Doesn't affect my ops much,we have a very good rehab program and I'll order help heavy and early if I suspect we need it.With today's mentality there is NO question in my mind our current(or upgraded)gear is the way to go.However,when its 100F in the shade I still have days I miss my 3/4's.Much of the crew I worked with in those days are now retired but all are still in functional condition with the occasional burn mark as a momento.Which,incidentally, you're not exempt from today.I've said it before,but again:in the "old"stuff you weren't as apt to get in trouble because the heat would drive you out before you got anywhere near flashover/rollover.But with good vent work you could still tackle some pretty good fires.But new technology coupled with the decimation of companies as we knew them is putting us where we are today.Better trained in most areas,less people doing a whole lot more work.Don't look for it to change anytime soon,most "youngsters"don't want our job. T.C.

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    Originally posted by Rescue101
    We've argued this at length in the past,but I firmly believe that we have "lost"some of our fire abilities in trade to medical/haz-mat,and everything else we have to deal with today.
    Hey, R101, is that kind of like only being able to fit only so much stuffing into a turkey 'fore it explodes? How if you want more of one ingredient, gotta shovel some of that nasty stuff out?
    Isiah 43: When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    9-11-01. We Will Never Forget You.

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    Hey T.C.

    Thats the point I was trying to get to - 100% right, if your experienced and trained right, you have no problem with the old gear, and again youve got the point right about todays crews not knowing as much about smoke due to the excess load of other stuff now on our plate. So is the industry trying to protect us better because of our ignorance????

    Good job thanks T.C.
    -I have learned people will forget what you said,
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    Last 5 heat exhaustion cases I have seen were guys outside of the fire in full turnout gear standing by for assignment.

    Is it the heat of the fire, or the heat of the FF being trapped in the gear, that is actually the problem?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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