Fire-fighting is one of the hardest and most dangerous jobs in the world. I am now working as a fire risk assessor for the Fire Risk Assessment Network and can be contacted via their website or their Twitter page, but I served many years in the fire service. This article focuses of the tools and equipment that myself and other fire-fighters have used. The problem is their are very few people who are willing to put their life on the line for those they do not even know. However, at the same time the politicians and the general public tend to complain about the amount of money a fire department cost to run. When they know about some of the tools and equipment the fire-fighters use each day, they will see why they should not be complaining about the work that is being done.
Personal Protection Equipment
The personal protection equipment is often seen as an expense that cannot be avoided when working in a fire department. This is the one item that is going to keep the firefighters protected from the extreme heat that is present in the fires, but also keep them visible when they are operating at the scene of a traffic accident. The gear is essentially an outer shell that is made from a fire resistant, note resistant and not proof, material. The shell will generally be able to withstand temperatures of up to a thousand degrees, if the fire-fighter is lucky. The next layer of the gear is going to be the quilt layer, which is basically an inch thick quilt that the fire-fighters wear. This layer is going to protect them from the extreme heat. These two items are used on both the pants and coats the fire-fighter wears.
As far as head protection the fire-fighter will get a helmet to wear that has an inner hard shell plastic crown. This crown is covered by the hard outer shell plastic on the outside, which is the part of the helmet that most people get to see. The fire-fighters will also have a Nomex hood to wear, which will help protect their ears and neck from the fire. Gloves and boots are also worn, except these are usually very different than those that most people wear. The boots will usually be made from rubber and have a steel toe with a steel foot shank. The gloves are thick and bulky, because of all the extra insulation they contain.
Breathing In A Fire
As everyone knows breathing in a fire is very dangerous and often will kill people in a matter of seconds. However, a fire-fighter is paid to go in and fight the fire at its source. This means they have to go into the fire and breath, which is why they wear self contained breathing apparatus. These are basically air tanks the fire-fighter will wear on their back, and these tanks will have a hose that runs from the tank valve to the face mask the fire-fighter is wearing. This face mask is going to allow the fire-fighter to breath and see when they are inside of the fire fighting it.
The hoses that a fire-fighter uses is very different than what most people think of when they are using a hose. The fire-fighter will typically use a hose that will be at the small side an inch in diameter, but typically will be 1.5, 1.75, or 2.5 inches in diameter. Each of these hoses are made from a heavy duty material so they can be dragged in and out of buildings, but also handle extreme pressure. Most of these hoses will be pressurized up to 120 PSI, which will get the water flowing. However, when the fire-fighters are using these hoses, they will generally be doing so in teams because the hoses can become very heavy and if they are using a larger hose a single person cannot hold the hose down.
The fire-fighter will also be using hand tools as well. The hand tools they are going to use are quite a bit larger than the average tools, but they are each going to serve a specific job. This way people will know the tools are not going to be sitting in the fire truck because they are not used on each job, instead they are just not required for that job. For example, the Irons pack is used during house fires because it has a pry bar and an ax, which is something which fire-fighters will need to have in the event they are lost in a fire or they need to get out of a situation they are in.
As many people have found out, very few people are brave enough to go into a burning building and stay in it long enough to put the fire out. Those that are brave enough to do this job are called fire-fighters, but even then they have to constantly justify why their job is needed and cost so much. By knowing about the gear and equipment the fire-fighters use, though, it is easy for people to see just why this cost so much money.