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Extrication jumpsuits vs bunker gear

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  • Extrication jumpsuits vs bunker gear

    A sales rep recently made a strong presentation to my department's officers on behalf of special extrication jumpsuits over bunker gear for vehicle extrication. These suits, essentially, seem to be wild land jumpsuits with reinforced elbows, forearms, knees, and shins. Our SOGs stipulate bunker gear at extrication scenes. I'd be interested in learning what the practice is at other volunteer departments. Are departments moving toward jumpsuits?

  • #2
    No, but regardless of the reasoning, we just wouldn't have the money to do it. I can definitely see the value of it. It would prevent a lot of damage to your structural gear from oil, fuel, antifreeze, sharp edges, blood, etc.

    But I would be a little concerned about its ability to protect us in the (rare) event of a flash fire. Also, it would get complicated in case of a second run. What happens if we're finishing up an MVC and a structure fire comes in? We can't fight fire in a jumpsuit, but we would struggle to have enough room on the rigs for everybody to bring their structural gear too.

    “I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
    ― Hunter S. Thompson

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    • #3
      Originally posted by EastKyFF View Post
      No, but regardless of the reasoning, we just wouldn't have the money to do it. I can definitely see the value of it. It would prevent a lot of damage to your structural gear from oil, fuel, antifreeze, sharp edges, blood, etc.

      But I would be a little concerned about its ability to protect us in the (rare) event of a flash fire. Also, it would get complicated in case of a second run. What happens if we're finishing up an MVC and a structure fire comes in? We can't fight fire in a jumpsuit, but we would struggle to have enough room on the rigs for everybody to bring their structural gear too.
      If worn with a nomex hood, the ones like I have should be sufficient for a flash fire. It's NFPA 1977 (I believe that's the right one) approved. As for changing gear, I've gone from a Stearns dry suit directly to fire gear for a worker two blocks away. Changing isn't a problem. And how do you go on an EMS run?? Do you wear full turnout for EMS runs?? I never do. You must have some small trucks.
      Wildland suits are great for extrication IMO. You should always have a couple of guys in full turnout with a line though. You definitely don't want fuels and oils on your turnout gear if at all possible.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by johnsb View Post

        And how do you go on an EMS run?? Do you wear full turnout for EMS runs?? I never do. You must have some small trucks.
        Obviously we don't wear turnouts on an EMS run, and we typically don't take them with us because we will probably only need two or three people. The rest will stay at the station in case another call comes in. But if we've had a significant accident with lots of our personnel on scene, in our case it would be a little problematic because we'd have most of our people on scene and in a jumpsuit when a fire call would come in.

        “I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
        ― Hunter S. Thompson

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        • #5
          We have TecGen. It is a brand, but what we bought was a pant and jacket set that are rated for technical rescue as well as wildland (that made it eligible for a 50/50 state grant). They cost about $600 a set. If you are in a normal volunteer department around here, only about 1/3 or less are actually interior firefighters. That means that you are spending $2,000+ for a person that will never need the protection. The sets we got match our structural gear and from a bystander's view, you can't tell who is wearing what type. That means that new people with no classes and those that will never go in due to age or whatever reason will be given $600 gear rather than $2,000 gear. It is also a heck of a lot cooler in the summer. When you crunch the numbers it is a lot more cost effective that way. Especially when you consider wear and tear on the structural gear from crashes.

          Everyone loves it because it is so much lighter / cooler / easier to pack. For those of us that are interior, it is nice not to have your structural gear wet with sweat after an MVA and hope that you don't get a fire until it is dry. We don't force people to wear it for extrication and allow them to either gear. I personally wear the TecGen when it is over 40 and structural when it is colder.

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          • #6
            for a volunteer fd , the best compromise is bunker pants with a lightweight wildland type jacket. With the jumpsuits , are you going to keep a dedicated pair of zip up boots with them ? A volunteer may roll in wearing tennis shoes , dress shoes etc. its easier to just pull on your bunker pants and boots, and coat than lace up boots. Now if you run enough rescues and wildfires it might be worth the $300 to buy a pair of good zip up wildland boots. And I know 99% of the time a cheaper pair of zip up station boots will get you by on rescues. Thinking about the 1% time.
            ?

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            • #7
              Our members either use their boots given to them for structural fires, or they have a good pair of leather boots sitting there. Tennis shoes are not allowed.

              I have my leather work boots sitting there. They fit better than the rubber pull on structural boots, they are more comfortable, and provide much better ankle support.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by EastKyFF View Post

                Obviously we don't wear turnouts on an EMS run, and we typically don't take them with us because we will probably only need two or three people. The rest will stay at the station in case another call comes in. But if we've had a significant accident with lots of our personnel on scene, in our case it would be a little problematic because we'd have most of our people on scene and in a jumpsuit when a fire call would come in.
                I ALWAYS take my gear with me on an EMS run. Although it's not likely, if a run comes in where I would need it, it would be a huge waste of time to go back to the station. Even in the POS commercial cab engines I've been on we crammed ourselves and our gear in the truck. And if we respond in the utility pickup, it goes with me then too.

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