National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) releases studies, each year, on firefighter deaths and injuries. An important part of the yearly study helps better understand how these fatalities and injuries occur to help minimize the risks of firefighting. A recurring reason cited in the study is the incorrect use of or absence of firefighting personal protective equipment (PPE).
What is Firefighting Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
Obtaining the proper training and equipment first requires forethought, planning, and a basic list of what your department needs.
The helmet protects the firefighters’ heads from objects or debris falling from above. The wide rear bill of the helmet was designed to prevent hot water and hot embers from reaching the firefighter’s neck or falling down the inside of their coat.
Face and neck shrouds for firefighting provide a barrier between the heat and elements and the firefighter. Shrouds offer a better way to beat the heat while still providing adequate heat deflection and inflamed airborne debris.
Firefighting face masks provide protection from the smoke, debris, and embers present in fire operations.
Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) is used to protect firefighters against oxygen deficiency, dust, gases, and vapors.
Gloves used should be designed to protect your hands against blisters, cuts, scratches, and minor burns during routine firefighting.
Firefighting boots are able to handle a variety of conditions. Made of rubber or leather, the boots have steel toes to protect the firefighter’s feet from falling debris, glass, and metal.
Structural firefighting PPE is designed to protect the firefighter from immense heat generated by fires burning within enclosed areas, as well as protect them from threats of falling man-made objects and structures.