Fire & Rescue Equipment
Finding the right fire gear for you can make the difference between a difficult and a quick rescue, and may make the difference in your own safety. Whether you're shopping for a helmet, a pair of fire gloves, or a hot spotter, take the time to research it -- talk to others and check out what stores are selling.


Take gloves, for example. Gloves are designed for a particular purpose: firefighting, rescue, extrication, rope/rappelling, etc. An extrication glove is designed to resist punctures and abrasion while giving flexibility by using tougher material in pads on the palms, fingertips and knuckles. However, an extrication glove doesn't provide fire protection or protect from pathogens (you must double glove with a latex glove (or similar) for protection against blood-borne pathogens). Firefighting gloves, on the other hand, are generally made out of animal skin (pigskin, cowhide, etc) and designed to hold up to repeated soakings and to provide a thermal barrier from heat and cold.


Buying a helmet is somewhat like buying skis or a tennis racquet: the better helmets incorporate hi-tech materials to provide strength, surface durability, light weight, better fit and comfort, and form. Traditional structure-style helmets incorporate a a rear ledge to protect the neck. Wild fire helmets look more like a construction worker's hardhat.


As you might expect, there's a tool for every purpose as the science of firefighting and rescue work evolves. Whether it's a hot spotter to locate fires or the "jaws of life," having the right gear on the scene can make a big difference. And yet, having too much gear or the wrong gear can be an impediment to your work. Know what to expect, pack the equipment you need, and always be prepared to improvise as needed.

Written March 24, 2004 - go to our home or commerce page