1. #1

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    Exclamation Turnout Gear = Expensive…Firefighters’ Lives = Priceless!

    I need help getting our volunteer dept new and safe firegear. Our chief and city manager say that it is not a priority to keep myself and other fire fighters safe by providing us new gear. We received new gear about five years and ago and we got what we paid for, total garbage!! The city went the cheap route and now I feel my safety and those of my crew are in danger everytime we enter a structure. Although we are a volly department, we have more calls than some full-time departments.

    I need advice and stastics to help me influence administration to keep myself and other safe. I have 4 children who depend on this gear and I feel that it will fail very soon. All of my velcro and straps have fallen off I have little protection from the heat. I am a Captain and do lead many of the attacks. Any advice would be appreciated!

    Dr Brent Pauls
    Captain, FF / Paramedic 11 years

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    Default this is bs.

    In my opinion, if you run that many structural fire calls, then you need to replace your turnout gear (including helmets and boots) much more frequently than five years! Perhaps you should conduct very thorough gear inspections on every piece of turnout gear that you have in your station, and thoroughly document all abnormalities (I.E. burns, charring, chaffing, ripping/tearing of the outer layer as well as the lining, etc.). There are NATIONAL standards for the condition of turnout gear that is safe for structural firefighting. If your turnout gear doesn't meet these standards, Its a total tragedy waiting to happen. These might be some good things to bring up.

    Also, this is kind of a crappy way of thinking about it... but we are already killing way to many ff's. How $hitty would it be for serious injury or death to occur at your station. If it was due to turnout gear that doesn't meet standards, your company as well as the township (if they are in charge of funding your dept. and making the decisions on what equipment you get) are a ticking time bomb for a million and a half lawsuits.

    Bottom line? we (all ff's) need turnout gear that protects us. Not makes us scared $hitless to respond to an alarm.

    and if worse comes to worst, you and your buddies should resign. SAFETY FIRST. If you guys aren't safe, then you dont need to be there. That would send a pretty clear message that if you want the service, you need to supply the guys who are trained and qualified for the job with the right SAFE equipment.








    **the views and opinions portrayed in this post are my own. In no way do these views and opinions reflect those of my Fire Company.**

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    If your gear scares you, you should have an advanced inspection done to document all deficiencies. This will give you ammunition to use in your fight with the administration. The place that our department uses does not have any problem condemning gear that does not live up to requirements. I would recommend using a company that specializes in gear repair and inspection. The one that we use has a hydrostatic tester to test moisture barriers (sometimes a moisture barrier will pass a puddle test, but not pass on a hydrostatic tester). By using a company specializing in gear repair and inspection, the Chief is less likely to think that you are promoting an agenda, they are more likely to be viewed as impartial.

    If your gear fails inspection, and your chief refuses to replace it, that is criminal in my opinion, but without an inspection, there is nothing to prove it is junk. All firefighter need to be safe!

    If you would like to speak to a professional, give my friend Rob a call at 330-313-1220. He is a firefighter and runs Shamrock Gear and Repair, a company that specializes in fire gear cleaning, inspection, and repair.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 95hawk View Post
    I feel my safety and those of my crew are in danger everytime we enter a structure.

    I have 4 children who depend on this gear and I feel that it will fail very soon.

    Dr Brent Pauls
    Captain, FF / Paramedic 11 years
    Doctor,

    First let me say that I admire the fact that you volunteer in your community. In my experience, most doctors feel they are somehow above helping people outside the confines of their relatively safe office or hospital. To me it speaks volumes about your work ethic.

    For the topic at hand, if the above statements truely reflect how you feel, I would try to ignore your requirement of self satisfaction by making due with what you have and stop going into structure fires until you have safe gear.

    Your the Captain. If you have the respect of your subordinates, they will follow you no matter what. Instead of leading them down the smoky hall in unsafe gear, write a letter your administration stating that you cannot in good consciense continue to lead interior structure fire attacks with inferior safety equipment. Then, stick to your guns.

    If they are only offering **** sandwhiches for lunch, it might be better to eat somewhere else.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 12-27-2007 at 08:52 PM.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    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.

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    Dr. Pauls,

    Point your city manager and chief in the direction of NFPA 1500 Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program. It was just revised this year. It is about $38 on the NFPA site.

    http://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/Ab...ookie%5Ftest=1

    This is from the 2002 edition:

    7.1.1* The fire department shall provide each member with the appropriate protective clothing and protective
    equipment to provide protection from the hazards to which the member is or is likely to be exposed. Such
    protective clothing and protective equipment shall be suitable for the tasks that the member is expected to
    perform.
    7.1.2* Protective clothing and protective equipment shall be used whenever the member is exposed or
    potentially exposed to the hazards for which it is provided.
    7.1.3* Structural fire-fighting protective clothing shall be cleaned at least every 6 months as specified in NFPA
    1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Structural Fire Fighting Protective Ensembles.
    7.1.4* Cleaning processes for protective clothing ensembles shall be appropriate for the types of contaminants
    and for the materials that are to be cleaned.
    7.1.5* Where station/work uniforms are worn by members, such station/work uniforms shall meet the
    requirements of NFPA 1975, Standard on Station/Work Uniforms for Fire and Emergency Services.
    7.1.6 While on duty, members shall not wear any clothing that is unsafe due to poor thermal stability.
    7.1.7* The fire department shall provide for the cleaning of protective clothing and station/work uniforms.

    7.2 Protective Clothing for Structural Fire Fighting.
    7.2.1* Members who engage in or are exposed to the hazards of structural fire fighting shall be provided with
    and shall use a protective ensemble that shall meet the applicable requirements of NFPA 1971, Standard on
    Protective Ensemble for Structural Fire Fighting.




    Also, have you considered a grant as a means of funding? The link below is to the AFG Federal Program.


    http://www.firegrantsupport.com/afg/
    Last edited by superchef; 12-27-2007 at 10:09 PM.

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    You could always ask for a buck like JuniorFire725....
    Be safe y'all!
    IACOJ Animal Control
    Ladder 8
    "Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati"

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    Dr Pauls
    I don't know where you are at, but possibly your state has legislation to cover safe work conditions and right to refuse. As was posted, get your gear inspected, at least enough to do a true cross representation of your dept and perhaps take it up at state level. I echo others comments, if you cannot in good concience lead your men or women into a fire due to safety concerns, PLEASE DO NOT!! Your first duty is to your people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 95hawk View Post
    I need help getting our volunteer dept new and safe firegear. Our chief and city manager say that it is not a priority to keep myself and other fire fighters safe by providing us new gear. We received new gear about five years and ago and we got what we paid for, total garbage!! The city went the cheap route and now I feel my safety and those of my crew are in danger everytime we enter a structure. Although we are a volly department, we have more calls than some full-time departments.

    Dr Brent Pauls
    Captain, FF / Paramedic 11 years
    How bad is it really? Like I told the kid, my jacket was going on 20 years old when we switched in January and I wore it every day. What is so unsafe about it?
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF View Post
    How bad is it really? Like I told the kid, my jacket was going on 20 years old when we switched in January and I wore it every day. What is so unsafe about it?
    That is why I urged him to have it inspected by a recognized repair facility. They can test all of the components of the gear. They can tell you that the outer shell is bad, and they can tell you WHY it is bad. They can tell you that the moisture barrier is bad, and they can tell you WHY it is bad. We have had a few on our departments that have said the gear is junk. When asked "Why?" they reply with anything from they don't like the color, to it doesn't fit because they have gained 15 pounds, to there are tears that can be easily repaired.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF View Post
    How bad is it really? Like I told the kid, my jacket was going on 20 years old when we switched in January and I wore it every day. What is so unsafe about it?
    Here we go again....Just because you were told that or did it does not make it right. The fabric degrades from light and heat. I have seen gear with minimal use fall apart in less than 10 years and gear with a lot of use deteriorate in less than 5. If we do not stick up for our rights than who will? Our job is to protect and preserve the people and property that we work for. If we do not have the proper gear or equipment because the MUTTS will not provide it, then we should not be doing the work for them. If they start losing homes because nobody will responde or enter the structure since their gear is sub par, the public will be outraged. Use your resources, do your research and if you have to, go to the media for help. If you start holding fundraisers to raise money for your gear, the public will start asking questions as to why. Make a statement that will be heard and do not take your personal safety for granted.
    Jason Brooks
    IAFF Local 2388
    IACOJ

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbrescue View Post
    Here we go again....Just because you were told that or did it does not make it right. The fabric degrades from light and heat. I have seen gear with minimal use fall apart in less than 10 years and gear with a lot of use deteriorate in less than 5. If we do not stick up for our rights than who will? Our job is to protect and preserve the people and property that we work for. If we do not have the proper gear or equipment because the MUTTS will not provide it, then we should not be doing the work for them. If they start losing homes because nobody will responde or enter the structure since their gear is sub par, the public will be outraged. Use your resources, do your research and if you have to, go to the media for help. If you start holding fundraisers to raise money for your gear, the public will start asking questions as to why. Make a statement that will be heard and do not take your personal safety for granted.
    I'm not against new gear for this guy, I'm just wondering what makes it so dangerous. All the info I got out of it was that it was 5 years old and the velcro was giving out. Five years old does not make it automatically dangerous in my mind since I wore gear that was 20 years old and it performed just fine. Get it?
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    Chicago,
    I agree that all he needs is a repair job unless there are other issues with his gear. What I was saying was, there is no reason anyone is wearing gear the is 20 years old. Plain and simple, the fabric is designed to fall apart and degrade. Especially if it gets used a lot as I am sure yours does.
    Jason Brooks
    IAFF Local 2388
    IACOJ

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbrescue View Post
    Chicago,
    I agree that all he needs is a repair job unless there are other issues with his gear. What I was saying was, there is no reason anyone is wearing gear the is 20 years old. Plain and simple, the fabric is designed to fall apart and degrade. Especially if it gets used a lot as I am sure yours does.
    Just to be clear, that coat was not issued to me, I was issued brand new gear. I got it from an old guy because the old rubber coats were much better at keeping water out.
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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