My experience or lack thereof shows whenever I climb off the rig and what I do following the orders given by the IC and my company officer.My turnouts are hand me downs,like a lot of volunteers,but they are as clean as hosing off at the end of the call can make them(we're just now getting a washer/extractor in our new station)and they have no holes in them to keep me untoasted.
Since we also have to put on our company faces once in a while,gear should be kept clean and ready to go when the tones drop,not looking like you just spent a few minutes wallering in a manure pile.
It doesn't have to look like it just came out of the box from Gall's but neither should it be so dirty that flies stay away from it.
Originally Posted by MG3610
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11-08-2005, 01:59 PM #21
- Join Date
- Mar 2004
- Memphis Tn,USA-now
11-08-2005, 02:49 PM #22
- Join Date
- May 1999
- Here, There, Everywhere
I must say this is an excellent post and truely shows some insight and deeper thought into the job and how it works.
From my personal experience I have seen many different methods, different color helmets, names, stickers, company inserts...etc.
I have to say much of the fronts out there today wouldn't be there if it weren't for ignorant chiefs who never gave much thought to the importance of company identification.
(This also happens to be one reason I never liked the NFPA faceshields as they obscured the front piece.)
Anyhow some of the really bad ideas I've seen or worn. (my opionion based on my experience only.)
-I've seen a career department (approx 10 companies 120 members) where the large numbers were the badge numbers. That could mean that the members of Engine Co. 3 had the numbers of 35, 112, 68 & 56 for that tour. Now I have nothing wrong with having the badge numbers on the front, however they shouldn't be the main thing...everyone at the fire has a different number and one would have to remember everyones number to know who they were looking at in a fire! My bage number was printed on the bottom in white by cairns at the factory however the main number is my Engine Co. number.
I formerly worked in a dept that as I came on had the company Number afixed in an insert pannel, and is traditional manner in many places the black meant Engine and Red meant Ladder. Although many guys never really paid attention to detail and didn't realize that until I mentioned it.
The helmets were black for firemen, Red for officers, White for Chiefs. However the Red helmets of the officers ended up being mostly black from fires and the plastic white lids looked like Sh*t from turning yellow due to OV rays and a few fires. (White leathers don't turn yellow.)
However after I got on they switched to a new front that had rank, my last name and a metal dept patch symbol in the middle. Besides the fact that my face shield blocked anyone from easily seeing my front piece, after a few good jobs...the damn thing was shot. You could only read it close up. It was hard to make out the names and in a situation where the officer needed to determine if members bailing out of a fire were his guys...it would have been more than difficult to accomplish this in a quick manner.
I've also worked in a department that had no front...only the last name plastered accross the side of the metro helmet. Not really effective in knowing what company they are with at a job.
I honestly prefer the following:
-Black helmets for firemen and company officers.
-Inserts that have company numbers and colors that represent the type of company.(no need to put "E71" just a "71" with a color that represents Engines) The colors you choose don't have to be traditional...green could mean Engines and Blue could mean trucks...just so everyone knows the system.
-Company officers are reveresed with a white front with the numbers in the color of thier company along bugles for Engines and Axes for ladders.
-White Lids for Chiefs with Gold fronts.
Great topic guys.
11-09-2005, 05:16 PM #23
Thanks for the pat...
I sincerely thing that the old school dept's like NYC, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and similiar dept's have the helmet bit down well. FDNY has a great system utilizing rank, employee number, company designation (truck, engine, squad, boat etc.). I don't think they worry about the colors because the rank is on the front and the only time that is important is when your face to face. I don't think they need to have anything otherwise. We follow a similiar method but because we change co's and fill in in others we use the traditional frontpieces with the "passport" system where the color/company is used but can be removed. I've included a picture. Incidentally, the Lt. in the picture with me is Paul Walsh of New Britain Fire Dept. here in Connecticut. He's been a long time friend of mine and also an artist. His work is very popular and can be seen at the following site...www.walshprints.com Anyway, here is two example of traditional helmets with different front pieces etc. We also use a completely white frontpiece for Lt's...
11-10-2005, 12:47 AM #24
We use "tactical tupperware" helmets, colored by rank with shields and rocker decals.
White- Chief and Assistant Chiefs
Blue- EMS Captain
Rocker decals indicate Firefighter, Firefighter/EMT and Firefighter/Paramedic
EMS have Star of Life decals on both sides
Shields indicate Department, Staff Number (each member is assigned a number), and Rank (i.e. Chief, Captain, Firefighter...etc)
11-10-2005, 10:45 AM #25
I like the following system:
Chiefs- white helmets and white or gold shields
Capts/Lts- red helmets with white shields (with appropirate bugles/axes/etc for rank)
FF- black helmets with black shields (if you run dedicated companies, black for engine, red for truck, blue for rescue/squad)
probies/interior certified- black helmets with yellow shields
probies/non-interior - yellow helmets with yellow shields
in bigger departments, having the apparatus number might might sense on the shield (provided you don't bounce between companies or ride a different piece for OT), but for smaller departments (ie, less than 5 houses), I think having the department name on them would be more valuable. especially when you are dealing with mutual aid calls, so other places know who you are.
plus, having different color helmets allow you to make a quick glance and just by seeing the color the helmet, you know who is a proby, who is a FF, and who is an officer.If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!
11-10-2005, 01:55 PM #26
White - Chief & AC's
Yellow - Captains
Red- Full Timers
Black - Vollies (All were fired 12/31/04)
11-10-2005, 03:22 PM #27
- Join Date
- Feb 2004
White = Chief officer
Red = Co. Officer (Capt or Engineer), some forests give a red helmet to anyone qualified to run the crew.
Yellow = FF
We have reflective letters on the side to identify the unit, (BC41, E11 etc) and a sticker with the forest name on the front.
The handcrews do their own thing, orange, blue, green whatever, the usually have a sticker identifying the crew on the sides.
To me the big thing with identifying the Chiefs, Co. Officers etc on a scene really comes into use when you do lots of mutual aid, when I arrive on scene it is not unusual to have 3 or 4 agencies working together, some of those resources may be covering from another part of the state or even be from out of state. It sure beats asking everybody I pass who is in charge, I can just go to the first red hat or white hat which usually is more efficient.
As far as having more than one red hat on the engine, it can be a help to the IC, if an engine rolls up with 3 red helmets out of the 5 on board then at a glance the IC knows he can probably grab 2 of them for overhead positions (OPS , DIV etc) and still leave someone in charge of the crew, compared to an engine with just a captain and 4 FF.
Last edited by NonSurfinCaFF; 11-10-2005 at 03:27 PM.
11-11-2005, 10:54 AM #28
I agree with the traditional approach. We in Memphis follow much of the same system of th FDNY. Why would any color other than black make sense for people entering fire buildings? I used to volunteer for a department that got the bright idea of buying all new helmets so that every rank had a different color helmet. Firefighters and drivers wore black, Lieutenants wore yellow, Captains - red, and Chiefs had white.
Why?? They argued accountability. The Chiefs stated they wanted to know who they were talking to. This makes no sense to me. If we are face to face you know who I am, if we are not, we are talking over a radio and you call me or I identify myself by assignment and again you know who I am, maybe not personally but 34-A is the officer, 34-B the nozzle man, etc.
I have never called command and advised them that I was the ________color helmet riding officer on the rig.
Additionally, you tell me. What color is my helmet, shield, number???
Last edited by MemphisE34a; 12-17-2005 at 11:17 AM.Robert Kramer
Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.
"Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.
Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.
11-11-2005, 05:29 PM #29
Our system county wide is as follows:
White-BC and up
Red-Company officer-Capt, Lt, or Sgt, depending on dept.
Yellow or Black-Firefighter, different depts use different colors.
My dept wears 1010s with a shield with our Dept name on it. No company or rank designation on the shield. We used to have magnetic company identifiers, but they fell by the wayside years ago. Our seniority number is on the back of the helmet, and paramedics have stickers on both sides.
I'm a firefighter that has been an acting Lt for 3 months now. I wear a yellow helmet, and am therefore ignored by every neighboring dept's officer we see on border calls. One of those neighbors actually issues their senior firemen 2 helmets-they get a red one to wear when they are acting Lt
11-12-2005, 01:38 AM #30
- Join Date
- Aug 2004
- Portage County, OH
Dept #1 - tactical tupperware without fronts
Chief / Asst Chief - white with title rocker
Capt / Lt - red with title rocker
FF - yellow with cert rocker
explorer - blue with "Explorer" rocker
Dept #2 - Cairns 1010's with leather fronts
Chief - white with white front
Asst Chief - white with black front listing rank
LT / FF - black with black front listing certthe motto of every midnight shift dispatcher - "I'm up - You're up"
11-13-2005, 01:10 PM #31
Originally Posted by gunnyv
- Join Date
- Feb 2004
I've seen the same thing with collar brass, the USFS only started using collar brass about 5 years ago, I've seen the difference in treatment, I watched a captain trying to get some info from a group of (non-USFS) firefighters in fire camp, he was pretty much ignored, he went back to the engine got his uniform shirt (with collar brass) and 10 minutes later those FF were all over themselves to help him out.
Stupid but it seems to be a real issue with some departments.
11-13-2005, 02:27 PM #32
A neighboring department uses their helmets for accountability. They have velcroed passports on the front with their name on the helmet normaly. When they get on the truck, they take their passport off the helmet and stick it to the accountability board on the truck. However, to put their own ID on the board, they must remove the tag that designates the unit. They then place that tag on their helmet.
It seems useful because, if everyone follows it correctly, their names are all attached to the truck so you know who was riding, and the truck's identification (E1, T1, etc) is on their helmet so that you know whos part of what crew."Captain 1 to control, retone this as a structure and notify the fire chief...."
Safety is no accident.
11-13-2005, 02:38 PM #33Originally Posted by SpartanGuy
11-13-2005, 08:42 PM #34
We use three basic colours.
White = Chief Officers
Red = Line Officers (Capt's/Lt's)
Yellow = FF's
Yellow with a Blue Stripe = non-interior certifed probie
All helmets have reflective arcs with the rank on the side. FF's have reflective "First Responder" arcs if medically certified.
It makes little difference in the building or individual team assignments, but outside it simply helps additional responding resources, EMS, PD, etc. know who to go talk to, especially if you are not using a vehicle as a command post (with the little green light). As Chief, I also like the ability to tell where my line officers are when I roll up, so I can start planning for RIT and Safety positions as the incident grows (volley dept, so positions are not assigned).Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!
11-13-2005, 09:03 PM #35
Chiefs - White
Capts./Lt's. - Red w/Rockers
F/F's - Yellow
Probies. - BlackWhen opening up the roof remember plywood comes in 4' X 8' sheets.
IACOJ proud member
11-14-2005, 10:47 PM #36
How do you keep track of your crew in a fire? If I'm another engine in a fire with you how do I know not to tell you to go get me another line?
We place a letter/number designation on the back of our helmets (reflective) along with the front shield. I do try to at least keep the white number legible on my shield.
11-14-2005, 11:43 PM #37
- Join Date
- Mar 2004
White for Chief Officers
Red for Lieutenants
Black for FF's and Engineers
Each station has a spare red lid for the Engineer riding as Lt.K-9 hunt, the ultimate challange.
EVERYONE GOES HOME
11-18-2005, 02:40 PM #38
- Join Date
- Aug 2005
Engineer - Black
FF's - Yellow
Capt's & LT's - Red
Chief Officers & Safety - White
Water Supply Officer - Blue
11-18-2005, 06:20 PM #39
Chief: white helmet
Captains: red helmets
FFs: yellow helmets
We have a velcro accountability tag on front that goes on the board once you get on the apparatus. FF name is on the back.
This works for us as a volunteer dept since it allows you to locate the IC quickly just by looking for a white helmet (or red if you know a captain is IC). Being a small department, you know just by helmet color and body size who is who on a call.
We are too small a department to need to worry about anything more.
11-19-2005, 08:12 PM #40
- Join Date
- Apr 2005
- Springfield, Missouri
Here is how it is on my department:
White - Chiefs
Red - Captains
Black/Yellow - Firefighters
We have a combination of salad bowls and traditional. I wear a 1010 with bourkes and goggles but took the goggles off because I wear glasses and they didn't work right.
Our Chief leaves the shield design up to the individual firefighter but requires it to say our department name, firefighters name and their radio number. Trust me, you can get pretty unique fronts just from that information. We have accountability tags that have velcro on the back and are afixed to the helmet. On a call you take one off, put it on your truck card, then on scene take another one off and give it to whoever is at the front door so they know who is inside or whatnot.
Like others have said we know who is who just by looking at them or their helmet. On volunteer departments I don't think you need to get too caught up in all the standardized helmet shield business. Just basic information and a little leeway and you are good to go. Just my 2 cents worth.Firefighter/EMT-B
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