Wildfire firefighting is one of the most dangerous jobs requiring plenty of training. Many firefighters have to be in the face of health and safety hazards. By the end of 2020, we lost 96 firefighters due to fire attacks and the pandemic.
To reduce those numbers, it’s crucial to come prepared for the assignment. You need to get ready for any unsuspecting situations when fighting wildfires. In this guide, we prepared a list filled with your needed wildland fire gear for any circumstance.
1. Personal Protective Equipment
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the most important wildland fire gear. They were first designed to minimize injuries, hazardous objects, and fatalities. PPE compromises of different protective clothing, including:
- Work and station uniforms
- Roadway medical protective clothing
- Wildland fire fighting clothing
- Structural fire fighting clothing
- Special protective clothing
PPE helps with activities involving rescue, property conservation, and fire suppression. They can handle high heat, preventing meltage and burns at high degrees. Each PPE consists of coats, trousers, helmets, boots, gloves, and hoods.
Smokejumpers have more gear containing jumpsuits, kneepads, and heavy-duty boots. Personal protective equipment is the key to fewer accidents, burns, and injuries. They complete your required head-to-toe clothing for fighting wildfires and extreme activities.
2. Respiratory Protection Gear
It’s natural to come across a lot of smoke when you’re in the fire fighting industry. Inhaling smoke can lead to many short-term, long-term, or fatal health hazards. Respiratory protection gear is the most effective way to avoid products of combustion.
There are two main types of respiratory protection equipment: ASRs and APRs. Atmosphere-supplying respirators (ASRs) give breathable air in toxic, gas-filled, and oxygen-deficient areas. In comparison, air-purifying respirators (APRs) help filter out the particulates in ambient air.
3. Safety Packs
Your essential wildfire gear is the safety pack containing all your needs. It will have your emergency tools, such as sunscreen, matches, utility knives, and more. Another useful device is the wildfire radios, suitable under high temperatures.
You should also have an available first aid kit for injuries that are small to fatal. The safety packs come with medications, helpful for allergies, headaches, and the like. These are the items you may not need every day, but they are helpful when certain accidents occur.
4. Eye Protection Gear
Eye injuries are not the most common since it’s easy to avoid them. Fire departments have helmets equipped with googles and or face shields. They help prevent flying splashes and particles from getting into your eyes.
Some situations where you need eye protection include:
- Medical responses where there’s a possibility of exposure to body fluids
- Industrial occupancy inspections
- Vehicle extractions
- Station maintenance
- Wildland and ground cover fires
Safety glasses and goggles are the best gear for all types of eye hazards. You should be wary of places needing eye protection, like close to power equipment. Make sure you read about your department’s policies and procedures regarding eye protection.
5. Emergency Medical Clothing
When giving medical assistance, you need a way to protect yourself against infections. The medical protective clothing will prevent disease transmission from open wounds. The clothing can either be single-use or multiple-use garments.
Single-use garments can get discarded after contact with a patient. In comparison, multiple-use garments get cleaned and reused a few times before disposal. Medical protective gear includes:
- Utility gloves
- Medical examination gloves
- Face protective gear
- Medical helmet
- Medical garment
- Respiratory protection device
- Footwear cover
Although it’s not a type of clothing needed for each mission, it can prevent health and safety risks on the job. You may also have to get additional communication tools like “call 911” flags. The protective clothing also comes with essential disaster or emergency kits.
6. Overnight Tools
Wildfires can last from hours to days to weeks of firefighting. Many times, you may need overnight tools and equipment for longer-lasting assignments. Some essential overnight equipments are your tent and inflatable sleeping pads.
Overnight equipment is a great addition when you need constant switches. You also need extra protective gear, clothing, emergency tools, and first aid. Bring along items that can keep you awake in case of an emergency, such as an alarm clock or coffee.
As a wildfire fighter, you need to be constantly prepared for any situation that comes your way. Even days when you aren’t fighting fires, you need to stay productive and resourceful. Always keep extras in your bag and stay prepared for any situation.
7. Hearing Protection Devices
Hearing protection devices help limit noise-induced hearing loss. Firefighters often work in loud environments, with power tools, engines, and warning devices. To avoid hearing loss, you need to eliminate or reduce the noises.
Hearing protections ride on an apparatus where noises exceed 85 to 90 decibels. Most ear protection comes with intercom systems to communicate with your team. They will act as your fire radios while you protect your hearing from dangers.
8. Saws and Axes
Why do you need saws and axes to control fires? You can use them to cut down surrounding burnable objects around the fire. This helps limit the fire from spreading and controls where the fire will spread next.
Mcleod has a rake-like handle with a two-sided blade to rake firebreaks and cut trees. Pulaski is a special ax combining a traditional ax and an adze, an ax with an arched blade. It is for breaking topsoil and chopping roots and brushes.
Another tool is the combi, which is a combination tool of a pickax and shovel. You can deepen the trenches once you remove the top roots and brushes. The last tool needed is the chainsaw or crosscut saws to help fell timber.
Keep Your Wildland Fire Gear Close
Get yourself ready with your protective clothing, first aids, and fire radios. Always pack your bag with all the needed tools to avoid health and safety dangers. Prepare yourself for 24/7 assignments with the proper wildland fire gear.
Now that you know your needed gear, do you know about radio safety? Contact us today or get a price quote. We’ll help you look for items you need and answer your questions.