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    Default Is full bunker gear really necessary?

    We have been in bunker gear in Chicago now for about four months. I realize the rest of the country went to this gear long ago and while it was nice in the winter I have to say the stuff is ridiculously hot and restrictive in the warmer weather, and the hottest weather is still a couple months away.

    I think the increase in a firefighters core body tempurature will be more dangerous to his health than the occasional leg burn.

    I have to wonder if this gear hasn't been forced on us for economic reasons. We used 3/4 boots and long coats with great effect in my town and I think the less restrictive gear made us more aggressive and permitted us to work longer and with more intensity.

    Of course this is just my opinion. I'll offer it again after we have gone through a full summer in bunkers.
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    I have never used day boots and 3/4 coats but what makes you think that you can be more aggressive. I would think that it would be the other way around. Bunker gear will allow, atleast I would think, you to be more aggressive since it will protect you from the heat better. I am not dissagreeing with you so much as I would like to know where you are coming from with that thought.
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    Being wearing full PPE for the last 18+ years on the job in the warm California sun. No problems here, just keep hydrated.

    Side note- My gear has always been yellow/tan. I am convinced through convential science that black is hotter. I assume you have black?

    Thats just he way it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU View Post

    Side note- My gear has always been yellow/tan. I am convinced through convential science that black is hotter. I assume you have black?

    I'll agree with you on that one, one of my departments uses black and the other uses tan, and when we're doing stuff outside in the sun I have noticed feeling hotter in the black gear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slaytallica45 View Post
    I'll agree with you on that one, one of my departments uses black and the other uses tan, and when we're doing stuff outside in the sun I have noticed feeling hotter in the black gear.
    I've worn both(tan & black) and I don't notice a difference at all...could it be in your head that you expect it to be hotter so you think it is?

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    CFDKevin,

    We have been in bunker gear in Chicago now for about four months. I realize the rest of the country went to this gear long ago and while it was nice in the winter I have to say the stuff is ridiculously hot and restrictive in the warmer weather, and the hottest weather is still a couple months away.

    I think the increase in a firefighters core body tempurature will be more dangerous to his health than the occasional leg burn.

    Yet, the majority of the country has been using it for decades and far before the newer, lighter, more breathable materials. Funny thing is until the FDNY and Chicago Fire Department went to this style of gear you never heard of the predictions of guys dieing left and right and dropping from heat exhaustion that you hear now. Yes of course I know both of your FD's are busier than most. BUT, you also have greater resources and manpower than multiple FD's combined elsewhere. It is time to get serious about rehab and hydration. The gear is there, you are using it. Adapt and make it work because it is what you have. Further, use credible scientific studies and empirical data to prove your point that the 3/4's and long coats were better and maybe you can get them back. The hysterics being used simply will get you nothing, and they shouldn't.

    I have to wonder if this gear hasn't been forced on us for economic reasons. We used 3/4 boots and long coats with great effect in my town and I think the less restrictive gear made us more aggressive and permitted us to work longer and with more intensity.

    I am at a loss to understand what the beginning of this paragraph has to do with the end of this paragraph. They seem to have no connection to each other at all. As far as making you more aggressive in 3/4's and long coats over bunkers, hog wash. Either you are an aggressive firefighter or you aren;t, the gear is irrelevant to that attitude.

    Of course this is just my opinion. I'll offer it again after we have gone through a full summer in bunkers.

    As I have stated before, I honestly don't care what the CFD or the FDNY or anyone else wears for gear. If your FD will let you wear 3/4's and long coats... super. If they let you not wear a mask...super dooper. If they let you not wear a hood or have your ear flaps down....super dee dooper. Both of mine call for a fully compliant NFPA ensemble to include boots, bunker pants, bunker coat, hood, gloves, helmet, and if the situation calls for it, SCBA.
    Let's see some evidence, some data to prove the point that your old way was better. Otherwise it is nothing but hysterics and whining about change.

    FyredUp
    Last edited by FyredUp; 05-17-2007 at 05:10 PM.

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    I feel for the brothers in CFD, change is very hard to take when its forced upon you. From reading other forum threads, I believe it was said that CFD did field test several brands of gear, and ended up with the gear that was on the bottom of their list. If I were a betting man, I would say that was due to financial reasons. Either it was the low bid, or someone knew someone who was teh dealer for that gear. Just speculation though.

    I have used both 3/4's and full bunker gear. Having not had the choice for the last ten years, the only thing I wear is full bunkers. I would definitely say full bunkers is definitely safer for initial fire attack. But when all is said and done, it would be great to switch to 3/4 for overhaul. Everyone is always quick to point out rehab and rehydrate. That is great if you have the time and resources (although that shouldnt be a factor). When you are on a two man truck crew and are expected to do the work of 6 men, most fireman worth their salt are going to do what needs to be done.

    Bunker gear is there primarily for thermal protection. We all know fires today burn hotter quicker due to fuel loads. If I am on the line I wouldnt even question which I would rather be wearing. But if I was given a choice, I would switch to 3/4's when I came out to rehab. Rehab+Rehydrate-weight of water logged bunker pants would make a greater difference I think.

    Back to CFD, they will adapt just as FDNY did when they first got bunker gear. They may even get lucky and do what Boston FD did. In the end they will just make the best of it. Look at it this way, at least the new gear didnt include metro helmets!

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    Uh huh. I can see CFD/FDNY setting up a rehab sector 22 stories up, in some rat hole of an apt. complex. Too prevent to coming question of "why set it up there," what are ya gonna do when the elevators are out?
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED View Post
    I've worn both(tan & black) and I don't notice a difference at all...could it be in your head that you expect it to be hotter so you think it is?

    FTM-PTB
    Yeah. What he said.

    Do you think black is really hotter or your brain just convincing you that you must be hotter because it is black??

    Its hard for me to believe that when its 100 degrees outside that you can tell "a noticeable difference" between the two. How long of a period of time is there between the two occurences? If its been years, months, weeks, days, or even hours from the time you were tan and now feel "noticeably" hotter in black or vice versa, I would put absolutely zero faith in your assertion.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 05-17-2007 at 06:13 PM.
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    The color of the gear has nothing to do with how hot or cool gear is. The vapor barrier, along with the gear's TPP rating is what affects heat retention.
    The vapor barrier and TPP also affect how much heat you can take in a fire before the gear is saturated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BLSboy View Post
    Uh huh. I can see CFD/FDNY setting up a rehab sector 22 stories up, in some rat hole of an apt. complex. Too prevent to coming question of "why set it up there," what are ya gonna do when the elevators are out?
    Im am going to respond to this under the assumption that your rehab comment was directed at my posting.

    So do you believe that once a firefighter goes up to the upper floor of a building they don't ever take a break until the fire is out? Of course it would make sense to establish rehab a couple of floors below the fire. Is is conventional wisdom is a lot of places? Probably not. But that doesn't mean it couldn't occur, or at least a rehab "light" type of situation where guys could take off their coats and get something to drink. It would take a different mind set and that in itself seems to be more of the problem than anything with the addition of bunkers to readitionally non-bunker FD's.

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    Actually black gear would be hotter than lighter gear. The darker colors absorb much more of the radiation energy from the sun and such. This makes the surface temp of the gear higher, and in turn the interior temp. This is basic 7th grade science stuff here. Remember those little fans made out of the blades with one side black and the other white...you put a bright light up and it rotates the fan. That is because of the white reflecting more of the light waves, and therefore causing the fan to rotate.

    Take a surface temp reading of something black and something white both sitting in the sun for the same amount of time. The black will be higher.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireDawgEMT22 View Post
    Actually black gear would be hotter than lighter gear. The darker colors absorb much more of the radiation energy from the sun and such. This makes the surface temp of the gear higher, and in turn the interior temp. This is basic 7th grade science stuff here.
    How about basic 7th day rookie fireschool stuff? This gear is made to protect us from the heat of a fire, yet the shell color can have a negative affect on firefighters standing in the yard?? WTF?? Some people ought to try and have some real fracking issues to worry about! Maybe some people ought to get inside away from the dangers of the sun!

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    Agreed.

    Cover your fracking heads and prevent the suns heat from causing brain farts like those given here.
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    I dont think Black gear is hotter than tan or yellow. If it is hardly enought to worry about it. Lets face it bunker gear is hot regardless.

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    Actually black gear would be hotter than lighter gear. The darker colors absorb much more of the radiation energy from the sun and such.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Do a little research on turnout gear. It isn't like science class. I understand that normally this would be the case, as black absorbs more heat than lighter colors, but that doesn't apply to turnout gear.
    Turnout gear is entirely dependant on the vapor barrier as to how it breathes, and how much heat it can absorb.

    I am wearing tan gear with a TPP rating of 49 right now, issued by my job. I used to wear black gear, with a TPP rating of 38. The black gear was much more user friendly than the crap I'm wearing now.
    The major difference is the vapor barrier.

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    Summer is near and I for one wish I was in my 3/4 boots for fires. Call it "whining" but it is the way I feel about it. Let grown men decide what the hell they want wear.
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    The fact shouldnt be "If its safer or how much deeper you can go "

    Instead, it should be "did they need to do it and was there a plausible cause for the change?"

    So far, most hate it. Its not like you have tons of Chicago FF's falling out due to safety. From the one's I've talked to... there has been NO NEED for the change. So then, why did they?

    Because of outside influence? Because of the NFPA?

    None of that should matter. What should matter is if the members of the department wanted it and needed it

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    I've worn yellow gear that made me look like a "killer bee", tan gear, black gear and now white gear.

    The temperature difference is negligible. As my brother from Milwaukee states, it's the vapor barrier that counts
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    I do have to agree. I was negating the breathability of the material for the internal temp. The surface temp would be hotter though. I do however agree that the temp doesnt matter when you are inside because the gear is made to protect you from heat. I was just pointing out the fact that color of a materail does have an effect on surface temp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Let's see some evidence, some data to prove the point that your old way was better. Otherwise it is nothing but hysterics and whining about change.

    FyredUp
    Let's see some evidence, some data to prove the point your new way is better. Otherwise it is nothing but hysterics and whining about perceived safety. Upper leg burns = the rarest of injuries. Cardiac = the number one killer if firemen. I guess I'm just hysterical and there is no room to question the wisdom of bunker gear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU View Post
    Being wearing full PPE for the last 18+ years on the job in the warm California sun. No problems here, just keep hydrated.

    Big difference between California heat and Mid-West Heat/Humidity/Gates of Hell. They have the best of both worlds...negative 30 winters and heat indexed 120 degree summers....

    In response to your post CFD, I totally agree that Bunkers make no sense. I would rather wear our old wools and Long coats any day. We changed 5 years ago, and it has made a noticeable change in our operations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF View Post
    Let's see some evidence, some data to prove the point your new way is better. Otherwise it is nothing but hysterics and whining about perceived safety. Upper leg burns = the rarest of injuries. Cardiac = the number one killer if firemen. I guess I'm just hysterical and there is no room to question the wisdom of bunker gear.
    I don't have to show any evidence or supply data. I have nothing to prove. I am satisfied with my bunkers, all three sets I currently use, my career FD (Morning Pride), my volly FD (Bristol Boston Spec), and my Vo-Tech teaching gear (Morning Pride). I am not trying to get any of these organizations to change from or to anything.

    YOU and others do have to provide evidence and data to show that the way you prefer is better, safer, and according to one poster here makes you somehow better firefighters. If you can supply enough evidence and data perhaps you can get that same bizarre deal that Boston has and you can decide on your own what you want to wear. Until then it simply is whining and hysterics when you mention cardiac as a reason for changing back, or heat exhaustion or any other unsubstantiated problems with this gear without any meaningful data. Or is it really just because the vendor the Union wanted wasn't selected? Ahhh, Chicago politics ya just gotta love it.

    Anyways, more power to you. If you succeed in getting the city to reverse course and they allow you to wear 3/4's again that is I suppose a victory for personal choice, but not for much of anything else. Frankly I don't care what you wear, but you really need to come up with a better argument than one you can't support with data.

    FyredUp

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    Quote Originally Posted by OFD226 View Post
    Big difference between California heat and Mid-West Heat/Humidity/Gates of Hell. They have the best of both worlds...negative 30 winters and heat indexed 120 degree summers....
    LOL....What would OFD226 do if he couldnt follow me around in here?

    Anyways, I have worn both in the hot CA sun and found the tans cooler vs. the blacks.

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