Firefighter Turnout GearPosted by admin on 10/30/12
Firefighters have a host of equipment and firefighting gear at their disposal for performing the many duties they are responsible for. Most importantly, of course, is the firefighter turnout gear, or ensemble, which refers to their jacket, pants, gloves, helmet, and boots. Firefighters wear this protective gear in most emergency situations, especially if there is a fire involved. There is no way to measure the number of injuries and even deaths that have been prevented by carefully constructed and nationally standardized fireman gear.
Turnout gear must adhere to specific National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards which specify the minimum requirements for firefighter equipment. Each piece of clothing must adhere to specific minimum design, performance, testing, and certification requirements in order to be cleared to use by firefighters. The purpose of these universal standards is to ensure the safety of firefighters using the gear, and also give confidence to those using it, because they know what to expect out of their equipment.
Made With Durable Materials: Nomex and Kevlar
Different materials can be used in the construction of turnout gear, although, typically include Nomex and Kevlar. These materials are also constructed using rip-stop weaves for added durability, and to keep jackets and pants from catching on something and tearing. Additionally, NFPA 1971 standards mandate that all turnout gear clothing need to have three major components. The first is an outer shell, usually coated in a water repellent finish. The second and third are a moisture barrier and a thermal barrier which create layers of air to further insulate the firefighter from extreme temperatures. Also, certain areas of each piece of turnout clothing are sometimes reinforced for additional safety. For example, NFPA 1500 standards require 100% Nomex coverings on coat cuffs with thumb-catches for the thumb to slip through and create redundant protection for the wrist area between the coat and glove.
As mentioned above, the NFPA standards for firefighter turnout gear allow firefighters to walk into dangerous situations with confidence knowing that their gear will protect them from heat, flames, debris, and other hazards. Having this type of confidence in their gear during emergency situations, combined with intense mental and physical training, and of course a healthy dose of bravery allows firefighters to perform their duties and save countless lives every year.