Working under temperatures above 1,100 degrees Farenheight is no joke. At that temperature, plastic has melted, wood has burnt, and some metals are already turning to liquid. Now imagine what that would do to the human flesh? It is a sight we do not want to imagine. And that is why firefighters have to have the right kind of gear so that they can do their job as required. It's not an easy task to tackle. It takes courage and a whole lot of expertise. Anyone with a faint heart wouldn't even dare go near a burning building even if their life depended on it. And that is why firefighters are greatly appreciated.
Their uniform is specially made with heat resistant materials that are not easily acquired at a shop but instead are specially made and provided by the state. Below is a list of the necessary features a fire fighter’s uniform must-have from head to toe.
1. Fire helmet
This helmet is made of a solid type of heat resistant plastic that can withstand hot conditions without melting. It acts as a protector of the firefighter’s head from fire, falling objects, and water. You can identify the rankings of a firefighter just by sighting the helmet. Chiefs have a different coloured helmet to the fighters below their rank. This makes it easier for the firefighters to identify each other during their rescue missions.
2. Firefighting hood
The firefighting hood serves as a protective layer of the firefighter's neck and ears. It is made of a fire-resistant material known as Nomex. It is worn under the helmet and also acts as additional protection of the person’s head.
3. Face masks
A burning establishment produces very poisonous smoke that makes breathing harder, and it quickly incapacitates anyone. Therefore one must cover their mouth and nose so that they do not inhale the soot. The face masks do this job. The face mask is connected to an air tank which supplies the firefighter with pressurized fresh air that enables them to breathe normally under dangerous and toxic smoky surroundings.
4. Turn out jacket
The turn out jacket is a unique jacket made of heat resistant fabric called Nomex. The coat has two layers, each serving a protective purpose. The outer layer is fire resistant while the inner layer is waterproof aimed to keep the firefighter dry. On the outer layer, there is reflective yellow, and silver stripes, which makes the firefighter visible even in the dark, dingy environment of a fire scene. With this jacket a firefighter is able to pass through a fire without getting burnt.
5. Air tank
As mentioned above, the gas mask is connected to an air tank that provides the firefighter with clean air to breathe. This tank is an aluminum fiberglass wrapped bottle with pressurized air that can supply the firefighter with air for approximately 30 minutes. The time may seem too little, but most firefighters undergo vigorous training to manage it that even if this time runs out, they are advised to go back to their tracks to get a refill.
6. Heavy-duty gloves
These gloves are made of heavy insulated leather fabric. They protect the fire fighter’s hands from the extreme temperatures. Even in the event, a firefighter needs to remove any hot obstructions like fallen objects; their hands are not burnt.
Another essential material on their gear is a set of heat resistant ropes. They are housed in a rope bag that is strategically hooked on the firefighter’s uniform. The kit contains 75 feet of ⅜ nylon rope. The rope is used to elevate tools and equipment up if the need arises. It may also be used as a rescue tagline.
8. Turn out pants
To go with the turn out jacket, there is an equally made turn-out set of two-layered pants. The outer and inner layers serve the same purpose as the jacket does. To protect from heat and water respectively. The pants also have the silver and yellow strips to act as reflectors in the dark.
9. Heavy duty boots
Lastly, there are heavy-duty firefighter's boots. They are made of natural rubber with a metallic toe and sole section. The metallic parts act as a barrier for fire and hot surfaces that may otherwise burn the rubber. It also protects the feet of the fighters from water, contaminated debris, and sharp protruding objects.