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  • 3/4 boots vs bunker pants

    i was just wondering if any departments still use the high boots and long coats these days. do the big cities still use them? i can't imagine not having bunker pants on when entering a fire.


    nobull911

  • #2
    Bunker Pants, i never had a chance to wear the boots and coats, i started out with the nomex gear and then a few years ago we bought all new stuff, which was the PBI gold and this is by far the best gear that i have worn in my 8 years of firefighting.....i never experienced the boots and don't really think i would want to try them either...

    ------------------
    Tom Pysh
    President/Lt38-1
    Ellsworth/Somerset V.F.D.
    www.geocities.com/esvfd3870

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    • #3
      We don't wear the 3/4 boots, but do wear the wool pants and long coats. I would much rather wear them to a fire than the turnout pants. They are much more comfortable and less cumbersome to work in. This is particularly true while on a roof. I'm sure one of these days we'll have to go to full turnouts, but for now I am fortunate not to.

      Stay Safe!

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      • #4
        When I started out we had the 3/4 boot's and long coats. Some of us even had the Cairns & Brother "rubber" coats that the New York guys used to wear. I liked it and so did most of the guys I work with. I am aware that the new stuff offers more protection. I am also aware that their are arguments that say it protects us too well and we may not know when we are getting into trouble. But personally I would rather wear the old stuff. It's cooler in the summer and there's nothing worse that having a fire in the beginning of your shift and then putting on wet stuff for every run you have all day long.

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        • #5
          I've been in the fire service for 15 years and seen the "innovations" of bunkerpants, nomex hoods and all the rest of the S#$t, and I can honestly say that the 3/4 boots and long coats are definitely better. Todays recruits have never felt the heat of the fire, never known the feeling associated withthe invisible line that signifies the time to leave. We are at the point where we are trying to take the judgement out of the fire service and forcing unproven "safety" standards of gear on a group of newcomers who don't know the difference. MANPOWER puts out fires and until we have the standards in place that require volunteer andpaid depts to muster a minimum amount of strength to a scene,we will continue to depend on the clothing manufacturers to give us a false sense of safety by legislating what we need. Go to a major fire where the crews are really working and watch what goes on because of this high tech safety equip. on a hot day and you'll know why we can't function....we're beat and there is no help coming.

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          • #6
            I understand that Chicago just went to bunker pants about a year ago. I'm sure there are still some northeastern departments that wear the 3/4 boots.

            ------------------
            Be safe.

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            • #7
              If I recall, in the early 90's our insurance company made us switch to the full set for interior firefighting. The only members who use the long coats and 3/4 boots, are our junior members, who can really only roll hose.

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              • #8
                Being a Firefighter for only 2 years 2 months & 19 days all I have ever worn has been the full bunker gear ensemble I have posted previously in favor of bunker gear and from hearing from the older guys at the FD and the other posts of guys who wore the 3/4s & longcoats I have to say that I am starting to agree with them about 3/4s & longcoats and if my Dept. gave us the option I would wear the 3/4s and longcoat.
                That might make some people that I know cringe but oh well.

                ------------------
                The statements above are my own opinions

                FF Greg Grudzinski
                Oaklyn Fire Dept.
                Station 18-3

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                • #9
                  Been in my FD for 9 years...Bunker gear the whole time. My FD switched to bunkers about 11-13 years ago. I still remember my brother and father coming home with the brand new gear. They also issued my brother a metro with the bunkers. However, they never took his issued New Yorker away. Gee...can you guess which one he wore? Still got the metro laying around my parent's house. Good as new, never been worn...anyone interested?

                  Engine18-3: Most old guys in this service bitch about the bunker gear because most people (especially the ones who have been around awhile) in the fire service don't adapt to well to new things. They learn something, do it for years, then if you try to do it differently you tend to meet alot of resistance.

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                  • #10
                    Allhands,
                    In 15 years, have you seen any difference in fire behavior? Do windows vent themselves as easily as they used to? Changes in furnishings resulted in hotter fires over the years? Are we arriving and getting inside as flashover occurs more often rather than post flashover? Was Project FIRES, which the IAFF was a major player in, an unproven safety study? Finally, given that reduced manpower is reality, why would we ever reduce the level of protection for ourselves? It would be nice to have a 6 man truck and get the windows out each and every time and the roof opened fast when we need it, but do you think that is around the corner? As far as heat, I think you can learn to get out in time. You can feel heat through your turnouts in many cases, you can watch whats happening around you, you can use thermal imaging, companies are making sensors to let you know. By the way, the same guys that never experienced heat are going to fewer fires than ever before, how does that add to the mix? Some of the more notable fatals involved an extremely rapid rate of fire growth, light to moderate conditions to flashover in seconds, where your additional sensitivity would be useless and your reduced protection critical. I won't doubt that Boston (which went against NFPA/OSHA) has reasons for its study and many seasoned firefighters capable of making their own minds up, but when the kid from 18-3 with 2 years and probably 2 fires under his belt starts to think that way its scary. Im sure if the internet were around 20 years ago, some guys would still be having this conversation about SCBA. If manning and training is the issue, address that, figure out how to do the job with what you have. Don't do things the same old way with new equipment and less manpower, then complain about it.

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                    • #11
                      After 28 years and many of those wearing the 3/4 boots, I have to say that bunker pants are the answer. They were hard to get use to but after numerous incidents in Detroit, where myself and other firefighters ended up with severe burns to you know what area, by means of floors giving way, falling down during interior attacks, ceilings collapsing and embers getting in your boots plus the other numerous mishaps that are inherent with interior attack, the bunkers are better protection overall. Besides your knees don't get burned as often

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                      • #12
                        I mentioned this in the last forum about this topic. For the career FD's this is a feasible discussion, as for the Volunteer contingent it is a moot point, as I volunteer I know that I tend to show up to fires in what I am wearing at the time (mostly jeans and a t-shirt), these articles of clothing is neither heat resistant, nor fire retardant. IMHO Bunkers are the safest way to go for the Volunteer fire service. Lighter weight and more manuverable is obviously better.

                        ------------------
                        Shawn M. Cecula
                        Captain
                        Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2

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                        • #13
                          I started as a Jr. in 1978, and was issued a "well used" long coat and pull-up boots. They were "retired" gear from full FFs (I was a junior). Two years later I got my full gear w/bunker pants. I used both. But...

                          6 months later dept policy changed to bunker pants only for interior firefighting. I agreed with the policy at the time, and I still do. My dad's assistant chief (I moved away years ago), and the policy is still the same. Pull-ups and bunker coat are okay for EMS and MVA (w/o extrication) and wildfires. Bunker pants are required for extrication or interior structural firefighting (and yes, nomex hoods are required for interior as well).

                          This was a vol. dept., so we had the typical problem with showing up wearing polyester pants (remember, 1978 here!). About '84 or so, we all got issued nomex jumpsuits for wildland fires or to throw on over whatever if we were wearing the "wrong" thing.

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                          • #14
                            Different jobs require different protection. As an engine man for life..I will be wearing pants for a better advantage at the seat of a fire. 3/4 boots or the wool pants and work boots, like my man from San Fran wears, would be great for truck companies. Less cumbersome and more stability climbing ladders and working on roof tops.

                            Trucks without bunker pants would also help out the engine companies by keeping the truckies away from the seat of the fire to perform their vital functions that are mainly outside.

                            Engineforlife

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                            • #15
                              i'd be afraid to burn my butt. not wearing bunker pants would be on the same level of not wearing SCBA....no way in hell

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