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  • Purchasing your own tools.

    Hey guys.

    I'm a 25 year old recruit firefighter-emt with a small career-paid on call department and I had a question about purchasing your own gear-tools.

    I'm 2 weeks into fire academy and our entire class was advised to purchase our own flashlights since they will be essential for future practicals and one we get out on the street.

    My question is a two for one.

    1. What kind of flashlight should I get? LED? Non-led? Rechargable? I assume a 90 degree flashlight I can clip on to my turnout coat would be in order.

    2. What other tools should I go ahead and purchase to keep in my gear?

  • #2
    well to try and answer your two questions

    for the question 1, it is mostly personal preference. LED's are nice due to you can see where they are coming from through smoke, but the smoke cutter bulbs that are in the surviaor lights work just as well. I have a survior. The LED's though do last longer due to the little power they need to operate. Best advice I can giver look around read read read reviews people have posted on them. Galls is great for reviews. but it is mainly personal preference. there is someone out there that will swear by one light or another.

    to answer question 2. a couple pair of nitrile gloves is a must. after that it is what you find that you need as you go along. you will find out that there is a use for ever little nic nac tool out there but there is only so much room in you gear and only so much weight you can take. save-a-jack is a great tool to pull victims out due to the underarm strap with attachable handles so if the person is a bit on the heavy side there is a second handle for a second guy to grab. I found since I do alot of Ladder work, I bought a external gear harness with a quick clip. I attached a biner and a ladder belt attachment for it to make it into a quick ladder belt instead of trying to fumble around with the bulky ones ladders usualy have. saves time and bulk. Webbing is anouther good thing to have because it has countless uses on the fireground. some people like having extrication gloves, which are just a heavier duty version of mechanics gloves. a couple of door chokes in your helmet are great to hold doors open that are self closing so you can find the door way after searching a room.

    Basicly as your years in the service progress you will find what you use the most and what you can drop from you gear inventory. Experience is the key to everything in this business. As you go along it will fall into place for you one what you will need and what you dont. Good luck I hope this helps you


    • #3
      i have bought quite a bit for my self. i carry at least a flshlight in my bunkers and garritty on my helmet had chocks but they fell out on the way to a fire and the disappeared to someone elses helmet.... the best advice i can give you is make sure you at least have a good flashlight and learn from the leatherheads that have been there awhile what you may need to carry. I too carry alot of webbing and extrication gloves, and i always look at new things and decide will i really ever use it?
      Originally Posted by the1141man
      IACOJ is what Firehouse should have been to begin with, and what it now couldn't even aspire to in its wildest dreams.- the1141man

      the opinions typed in the above space are mine and mine alone


      • #4
        I was a Reserve FF for three years at a paid department in CA of about 160,000 pop. Now I am a probie at a SMALL department out in Nevada.

        I always have a hose strap on my helmet and one in each pocket of my bunker pants. I have a big ed on my jacket and a handheld pelican light in my bunker pants as well. I also have a foldable lockblade S&W knife. Other than that I have a pair of safety glasses and regular leather work gloves.

        I am debating on getting a belt for tools as stated above. At least so it can hold my axe.


        • #5
          Some basics

          I carried a handlight that I wore using a seatbelt from an auto we cut up on night as a drill. Easy to slip on an off, stays hip level and lights the way ahead of you, most of the time.
          Note: Keep it charged. Even the most expensive ones are any good if they are dead.

          I taped a Gerber fixed blade knife sheath to the belt strap so it was chest level and could be pulled out with one hand. I see a lot of young men with multi-tools and folding knives usually attached to the waist of their pants, or hanging off of a clip on their coat. They are nice to have but can be cumbersome and difficult to open one handed. Remember, if you need to cut yoursellf from an entanglement, your wasting air while you fumble to open the blade.

          Carry four chocks. Two up on your helmet and two in your pockets. If you don't think you need four, then go to your local department store, or mall, or industrial building and count how many doors from the front to the rear. Don't expect the other guy to chock it for you, especially if they're not on the engine with you.

          Vise Grips. Many uses from this tool. Not just for missing flywheels.

          20' of webbing, tied in a loop, with two carabiners. Neatly wrap it up in a bundle and tape it together with some bandage tape. Leave an end stickig off so you can pull and have the whole thing come out. Very good for having to drag a firefighter, searching off the line, or using to raise/lower tools.

          The worst thing you can do is purchase a huge amout of material, some of which you'll probably never use in two lifetimes, and you'll be thinking more about where you left something then what you should be thinking of while responding.

          Beware the manufacturer that says "eveyone has this". They don't, nor do they need it.

          Finally, go through the pockets of your senior men's gear (tell then first) and see what they carry. Experience decides what you'll find.

          William Carey
          "If you put the fire out right in the first place, you won't have to jump out the window."
          Andy Fredericks,
          FDNY E.48, SQ.18
          Alexandria, VA F.D.

          Rest in Peace


          • #6
            I think a lot of it depends on where you work.

            I work for a larger municipal agency, but we have a large area of the district that has rolling grasslands, so where you work might change what you carry.

            I work in an urban setting, so I carry:
            A garrety light on my helmet, with 2 chocks and a big rubber band (great for securing doors).
            A BigED, non-LED, non-rechargeable light on my jacket
            A pelican c-battery light in my bunkers (can you tell I like lights???) as well as: Lineman’s Cable Cutters (10" – side dikes or snips are a waste of time, money and space), a multi-set screw driver, a window punch, small vice-grips, and webbing.

            I also carry two sets of structure gloves, just in case one set gets way screwed up (this I learned from experience), dust masks for overhaul, a small folding spanner wrench (also, from experience), and extra chocks in my jacket.

            Just as an aside, if you wear a short coat, don't put anything in the coat pockets you might need right away...your SCBA will likely cover the pockets up.

            The best advice I got when I started was don't buy anything but a light when you're in the academy. Once you get out in the field, talk to guys and look at what they've got...you'll end up collecting more junk than you need anyway, but this helps limit what you end up with.

            And don't go cheap, if you need something, buy a good one! You'll thank yourself later on...


            • #7
              In my experience, I have carried a whole lot of stuff that I eventually decided I didn't need. A few things that have survived the "cut list".....

              -20' or so of tubular nylon webbing, tied into a large loop with a water knot. Multiple uses on the fireground and doesn't weigh much.

              -Medical gloves. I keep these in a belt pouch threaded onto my suspender strap.

              -AT LEAST one personal flashlight...shop around and find one you like, whether it's an angle light or not....you'll probably go through several in your career til you find one you really like. I like the Pelican Saberlight myself. You might also want to add a Garrity light for a backup...They're cheap (about 2 bucks at Walmart) and disposable.

              Beyond that, experience will teach you what you need/want to carry. But yeah, a good personal light is an excellent first item to get.
              Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
              Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
              Paincourtville, LA

              "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
              — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"


              • #8
                I have a question about the flashlight topic. I work for a large department and we have 8 lights total on each four man engine. I have a pelican helmet light of my own, but always grab one off the engine when I need it. Does this seem appropriate or should I invest in my own for these circumstances. Thanks.


                • #9
                  I carry a Streamlight Fire/Vulcan lightbox (orange w/ the blue LEDs in the back). Awesome light and the blue leds can be seen through some pretty thick smoke.

                  I carry at the min. 2 Wedge-its, flat & phililps head screwdrivers, linesman pliers, 15' webbing, small utility rope tied in a loop, leather work gloves, and trauma shears, and a LED light on my helmet.


                  • #10
                    Carry 25ft atleast, 20 feet is just a tad bit too short to tie a hasty harness, especially if its a big guy youre trying to remove. We use the advanced lighting hand lights http://www.alcorp.com/ they are rock solid, and have a lamp thats easily replaced and it has a lead battery thats long lasting even when you dont use it. Survivor lights are good, but only if you work in an engine and will have both hands on a hose line and not have a free hand to aim the light where you need it like when youre in a truck. I just saw the LED Survivor light, that looks interesting, but the ALCORP lights are like sun in comparison. Carry a spanner and a screwdriver that has interchanging bits. And forget about looking in the senior mans pockets, they will probably be empy cause he expects you to carry it! Also, last but not least, 30ft atleast of 7mm minimum rope with an eight tied in the end with a caribiner on it, its not long, but it will get you atleast one floor below the fire, which is enough to get you to live another day. Our ropes at work are technora, the r&d dept found that it started to fail at like 600 degrees i think, maybe even more. if it is 600 degrees at the window sill your a dead man anyway. But, its worth the price, nfpa says you need 50 ft, but thats too much we have that much, but i think they are devising a new system to carry it. currently the rope is on our hip attached to a harness.

                    Good luck, and be safe!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jonnyirons
                      Carry 25ft atleast, 20 feet is just a tad bit too short to tie a hasty harness, especially if its a big guy youre trying to remove.
                      I have an average waistline 32-33 and can tie a harness with less than 20 ft of webbing.........
                      These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.


                      • #12
                        I have a vulcan boxlight with the LEDS on the back (cut through smoke great so people can see you) I have a survivor light on my jacket. The only other tool that I purchased was my own escape belt and rope escape system. Also a pair of wire cutters are a wise investment. Other guys sometimes buy personal tools (i.e. griff hooks etc) but we have these on our trucks and I really dont see the need in buying my own. Leather helmet and boots are a must for me if they are not supplied!
                        FD343NY W6 Countless Others
                        Still Riding


                        • #13
                          On my helmet two wedges on the right side and pair of trauma sheers in back in the rubber band. Pelican stealth lite off to the side.

                          I took and used a military aviator’s flare pouch.Inside two NFPA carbiners Cable cutters, spanner, and a 3in thumb open serrated blade knife

                          Right pants pocket bail out bag, 6in thumb open serrated blade knife and a small led pen light. Left pocket 25' tube webbing Coat pocket 1 wedge 3 chem. lights, stealth light and a carpenter’s knife. Survivor light on the jacket and a Vulcan box light.

                          Alot of good advice from everyone
                          Eric Kloosterman
                          When in doubt act stupid


                          • #14
                            a good serrated folding knife, channel-locks, screwdriver, chock or two, some nails 3-4inches long, webbing. some guys say 20ft -25, i have 25 and could use an extra foot or two. a decent built FF with full bunker gear and a mask will require more than 20ft to apply a hasty harness. but realistically i dont think the harness would be very effective in an idlh unless the guys sprawled out on a warehouse floor.


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