Firefighters put their lives on the line everyday in order to save our lives, homes, and property. Their job is one of the most risky jobs there is. From going into burning buildings, breathing in smoke, and risking explosions and buildings falling, being a firefighter is dangerous. Personal protective equipment, or PPE, are items that are meant to protect employees at work. There are many types of PPE for firefighters to help keep them safe.

PPE for Firefighters: What They Need

Smoke Inhalation

Since they are around fires, firefighters have exposure to a lot of smoke. Breathing in smoke is not good for anyone. In order to protect themselves, a Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, or SCBA, is part of the PPE for firefighters. The SCBA gives the firefighters clean air so that they can breathe inside a building or an area with toxic smoke. The SCBA mask hooks to an air tank, which provides around 30-45 minutes of air. However, a firefighter could use this air in only 10-15 minutes on the scene of a fire due to how hard they are working. These systems are connected to a motion alarm. This alarm will go off if the firefighter stops moving for more than 30 seconds. This will help the firefighter get help more quickly if something bad were to happen.

Head and Extremity Protection

Helmets are an important part of PPE for firefighters. A helmet can protect a firefighter’s head from fire, falling debris, hot water and extreme temperatures. These helmets have a chin strap, which help keep it in place. It also has a visor on the front. This protects the firefighter’s eyes. Additionally, there are flaps on the side that provide ear protection. Gloves and boots are also important. Firefighters walk through debris like broken glass and metal. They wear boots made out of rubber or leather with steel toes in order to protect their feet. Gloves help to protect their hands from burns and cuts while on the job.

Turnout Gear

Turnout pants and coats are part of the PPE for firefighters. A firefighter’s pants are made of different layers of fire resistant materials to give heat protection. They usually have extra protection on the knees plus leather cuffs. These pants are usually stored scrunched down around the boots. This is so a firefighter can put them on quickly when they need them. Turnout coats are very heavy and can weigh as much as 20 pounds. The materials used to make these coats are fire-resistant. This provides protection from heat and moisture. They have reflective safety stripes so that that firefighters remain visible to each other, and cars can see them. The edge of the coat sleeves fit around the firefighters hand. This prevents the sleeve from sliding up and exposing their arms. Firefighting can be a very dangerous. However, with the correct safety equipment, firefighters can be safer on the job. They do do much to keep our families and homes safe that it is important that they stay safe as well.