Thread: Donning Tricks?

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    Default Donning Tricks?

    Hey, this is a little off tactics, but can be helpful when needed. Does anyone have any good dressing tricks. Not just for a dressing drill, but everyday fires. Where do you keep your gear on your rig, how do you set it up, etc...?

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    When my gear is just sitting around, i put the suspenders in between the boots so no one trips on them and my hood over that usually. Throw on the bunker pants, put on the hood, throw on my coat and its smooth sailing from there.
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    We teach and practice having one way that you always do it. Routine, second nature, putting on gear should not entail thinking. While in house donning is not a big issue we do teache FFer's how to "mask up". When entering an area where you need your mask (not entering the block the fire is on) we have FFer's take the helmet off and place it between the knees, gloves under a knee (same every time). mask on, helmet on, gloves on, Go!
    Basically this stupid little thing saves time and energy as we often mask up on front steps or on the stairs and setting your helmet or gloves off to the side can result in having them knocked away or kicked by other firefighters or the hose. Best yet is to teach and require members to mask up with gloves on, but we've found that lower quality gloves or old stiff leather results in lots of fiddling around.

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    What is taught at our Probie school now is:

    Chin Stap on the helmet (a milwakee zip type I think it is) is always out....and face mask netting is already set up so that you only have to pull the bottom right strap to complete the fitting. Also the face piece is already hooked up to the regulator....


    1: HOld breathe, Place Face piece to face with Left hand....There will be a bend in the arm.....

    2: With right hand....pull helmet over left hand and let it hang by the stap in your left arm.

    3: keeping Left and and face piece pressed to your face....pull netting over your head and hood up.

    4: pull helmet back over left hand and face piece

    5: take left hand away from face piece, breathe and pull chin strap tight

    When done right and practiced...it takes about 10-15 seconds to do
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    Put your pants on, get on the truck, get the hell out the door. A dinosaur once told me you make time in the station you never make time on the street. Meaning, you wanna get out fast, get OUT fast. Saving 10 seconds getting out the door can never be made up on the street.
    Just another one of the 99%ers looking up.

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    Some dressing tricks that I use is first I put my right foot in my right boot then my left foot in my left boot that usually works pretty good. I tried putting both feet in the same boot but it isnt any faster.

    Seriously, Our bunker coats are morning pride with buckles and velcro. I only buckle the two middle buckles and then just close the flap instead of buckling all of the buckles. It saves time plus I use a radio strap under my belt so not having my coat as tight I can more easily get to my radio to change channels if need be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VinnieB
    What is taught at our Probie school now is:

    Chin Stap on the helmet (a milwakee zip type I think it is) is always out....and face mask netting is already set up so that you only have to pull the bottom right strap to complete the fitting. Also the face piece is already hooked up to the regulator....


    1: HOld breathe, Place Face piece to face with Left hand....There will be a bend in the arm.....

    2: With right hand....pull helmet over left hand and let it hang by the stap in your left arm.

    3: keeping Left and and face piece pressed to your face....pull netting over your head and hood up.

    4: pull helmet back over left hand and face piece

    5: take left hand away from face piece, breathe and pull chin strap tight

    When done right and practiced...it takes about 10-15 seconds to do
    That sounds pretty good. I never liked the pushing the helmet off the back of the head. As for the helmet straps, Milwaukees have the two peice velcro stips, right? Is this what you have or strap with buckles? I could see the velcro breaking away if you dangled the helmet in the crook of your arm.

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    Probably the most important thing you can do to get dressed out in a hurry is to make sure your gear is ready...that is, figure out what works best for you then set up your gear that way, every time. You do it the same way every time and practice it enough, it becomes automatic and you don't have to think about it.

    I disagree with RFRDExplorer about putting the suspenders between the boots...that's OK if you're just toting your gear around, but if you're not paying attention you could step in your boots, pull up your pants and give yourself a suspender wedgie. And even if you ARE paying attention, you still have to take a couple of seconds to move the suspenders.

    I prefer to have the suspenders draped on the outside of the boots, but make sure they're not under the boots so you're standing on them when you try to pull up, because that's almost as bad as the wedgie. I'll usually roll my waistband back up around the boot tops and let the velcro fly hold it there, and tuck the suspenders down in there so you don't trip on them while donning.

    Also, make sure to put your nomex hood on before putting on the coat....saves a few seconds trying to tuck it into your collar if you put it on afterwards.

    I prefer to keep my gloves in a clip or strap on the outside of the gear, not in a pocket, because after you don SCBA sometimes it's hard to get to the pockets for your gloves (thigh pockets on your pants aren't so bad for this, I'm thinking more of coat pockets here...)

    Speaking of Nomex hoods, I like to keep mine laying right on top of the pants, between the boots, so it's the first thing I grab and put on as I'm stepping into my boots.
    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"

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM
    That sounds pretty good. I never liked the pushing the helmet off the back of the head. As for the helmet straps, Milwaukees have the two peice velcro stips, right? Is this what you have or strap with buckles? I could see the velcro breaking away if you dangled the helmet in the crook of your arm.

    Its whatever stap is on our Ben2 Helmets. There is a pull starp w/ aligator clip and a quick release fastner. Never heard of a helemt comming off in someones arm....not like it matters....pick it up....put it on your head....problem solved.
    IACOJ Member

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    the department i was on if the call was a good 5 minute drive out we would just grab our crap and get dressed in the cab. i know it wasn't to safe but it got it done. just remember to pull your suspenders up or you will look like a total @$$hole and all the guys will rat on you. just my 2 cents

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    Quote Originally Posted by VinnieB
    Its whatever stap is on our Ben2 Helmets. There is a pull starp w/ aligator clip and a quick release fastner. Never heard of a helemt comming off in someones arm....not like it matters....pick it up....put it on your head....problem solved.

    They have Milwaukee straps.

    After some practice the technique you described is great. Very fast mask up time and you don't have to worry about losing your helmet. After losing it at a fire once, my strap gets done up now.
    "Train as if your life depends on it"
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdemarse
    They have Milwaukee straps.
    We must be talking about different straps. I've got an older New Yorker with a two peice "Milwaulkee Strap" on it. One strip per side, one has male velcro the other female. To secure you just mate-up the velcro-perfect fit every time. Except that the usual way its done only the width of the velcro strap gets crossed and the helmet is secured by a .5" x .5" patch, not enough to hold the weight of the helmet when donning as Vinnie described. As the helmets are barely secured if not "mated" properly we were forced by the Dept. to get rid of all in-service Milwaulkee straps, in favor of the same strap that comes with the Ben 2. As sold by MP: buckle on right with tightening take-up clip on the left. This is what I 've always called the "Postman" strap.
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    Last edited by RFDACM; 05-22-2006 at 04:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc
    I disagree with RFRDExplorer about putting the suspenders between the boots...that's OK if you're just toting your gear around, but if you're not paying attention you could step in your boots, pull up your pants and give yourself a suspender wedgie. And even if you ARE paying attention, you still have to take a couple of seconds to move the suspenders.

    I prefer to have the suspenders draped on the outside of the boots, but make sure they're not under the boots so you're standing on them when you try to pull up, because that's almost as bad as the wedgie. I'll usually roll my waistband back up around the boot tops and let the velcro fly hold it there, and tuck the suspenders down in there so you don't trip on them while donning.
    Yeah, Chief, I know what you mean and yes that is basically what the suspenders in between the boots is for. I meant to clairfy, my mistake!
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM
    This is what I 've always called the "Postman" strap.
    I stand corrected.
    http://www.thefirestore.com/store/pr...lide_fastener/

    Those are no longer NFPA approved correct
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdemarse
    I stand corrected.
    http://www.thefirestore.com/store/pr...lide_fastener/

    Those are no longer NFPA approved correct

    Why aren't they NFPA approved, personally I think the things are great, wish I had one on my current helmet!
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFRDxplorer
    Why aren't they NFPA approved, personally I think the things are great, wish I had one on my current helmet!

    If I remember correctly there is no break away protection.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdemarse
    If I remember correctly there is no break away protection.

    Good point....that is why i am an explorer and they are the NFPA peoples.

    Thanks cdemarse
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    Smile Set Up Is Big

    My bunker pants are set up so that suspender is on top of boots and pull on as as I don pants. Flash hood is stuffed inside my helmet.. I used to put it on my coat held by my neck cuff but it kept falling out.. My gloves are attached to coat with glove strap. If in jump seat with SCBA my mask is attached to my reg.. IF im the engineer of the day my mask is also attached to my reg and I grap the REG side of the SCBA shoulder strap and walk and don at same time. Slide helmet to back of head when I need to don mask..
    My coat pockets are used for Extrication (gloves & Punch) and Medical equipment.
    My pant pocekts are used for survival equipment. One has 75' of escape rope set up with 2 caribeeners and a figure 8. The other pocket has a pair of wire cutters, small flashlite, 2 door stops, 15' webbing in dixie chain. One pc of white sidewalk chalk. My coat also has a Pelican Sabre lite and 12 door straps. WALKING TOOL BOX I GUESS..

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    Last edited by sfd2605; 03-17-2008 at 08:03 PM.

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    I keep my hood in my right boot. As im stepping into my left boot I put my hood on at the same time.

    Another thing that I do if you have your own facepiece. I do not use my neck strap so I took it off, were it connects to the facepiece is a little ring. Put a split ring(like on key chains) there. Then I have one of those cheap carabiners that I clip to it and then clip it to my mic tab on my coat. Comes off in seconds and I don't have to worry about leaving my facepiece in my locker.
    "Train as if your life depends on it"
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    Default Carabiner

    I like that carabiner on the mask idea. I'll have to try it when I get to work this weekend. Just goes to show, learn something useful every day.
    Captain/EMT-P

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    After forgetting my mask and having to sit a fire out I knew I had to figure out a way that it wouldn't happen again. The reason I clip the ring on the mask and not the mask bag is if the mask is wet, I can still hang the mask on my coat without the bag covering it until it dries.
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    Question

    Im confused as to why (your mask) is not on your SCBA or are you a volunteer who graps his gear from the locker and then gets on the truck. If you are assigned to a ENG or Truck while on duty wouldnt it be better preconnected to your SCBA regulator? Just asking
    Last edited by JAFA62; 05-26-2006 at 07:48 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JAFA62
    Im confused as to why (your mask) is not on your SCBA or are you a volunteer who graps his gear from the locker and then gets on the truck. If you are assigned to a ENG or Truck while on duty wouldnt it be better preconnected to your SCBA regulator? Just asking

    call backs, POC, volunteer it would work for all. If I am working a shift then yes it connected to my regulator.
    "Train as if your life depends on it"
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    Good question.
    Where I was, we had riding assignments, and as an officer, my spot was pretty much the same on each piece, usually the engine though.
    The person who stated earlier (different thread) that you made your time getting out the door rather than on the street is correct, and so is the person who stated that no matter what you do, if you have it down as a routine, you'll do okay. You just have to experiment with what works best for you.

    When I started out, I learned the habit of getting dressed while responding. Granted, it's not the correct way now, it was faster then the guy who had to run to his rack, or the guy who had to grab his gear off the backstep.

    Doing your checks when you come in to your station to ride make you fast. Check your SCBA and tool location, making sure everything is in place and ready to go. I have a trick of loosening only one strap from my facepiece after I check my mask. I also adjust my waist and shoulder straps, so when I have to don my SCBA I only had to pull one facepiece strap and connect the waist strap. I usually carried a small O-tool which I kept in the small space against the door on the floor, so it wouldn't slide across the dash. My handlight, on a seatbelt strap, was draped on the mapbook light. If we had additional crews and I had the wagon, I placed my running pants up front in the cab. I draped my coat across the SCBA, with the sleeves out, so I could slide it on without raising it up. If I wasn't wearing my portable radio, then I draped it over the inside of my coat, so that when my left arm went into the sleeve, I was already wearing the radio. I kept my helmet on the floor, this way, when I stepped out and onto the ground, my lid, and tool were at the same spot.

    If we only had one crew, I kept my gear the same way, on the engine, except I placed my running pants on the bay floor. Then I could slip into them, reach up, grab my coat, radio and lid, and make my way to the truck or squad.

    My hood was snapped into my running coat, just below the collar, so to don that all I had to do was reach to my shoulder and pull it over. Gloves were kept in the right coat pocket, tools in the left.

    I also usually kept my ear flaps down, that way my lid would fit snug with the facepiece on, or my hearing would be somewhat protected from resetting bells.

    Again, whatever becomes routine and comfortable for you will work best. Just never be in such a hurry that you can't think straight.

    William Carey
    Last edited by bcarey; 05-27-2006 at 10:45 PM.
    "If you put the fire out right in the first place, you won't have to jump out the window."
    Andy Fredericks,
    FDNY E.48, SQ.18
    Alexandria, VA F.D.

    Rest in Peace

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