Wildland PPE: The complete shopping list
Structure and wildland fires are completely different animals, and so too are the PPE needed to keep firefighters safe
by Robert Avsec - firerescue1.com
|Wildland Firefighting PPE|
Hardhats provide protection from mechanical hazards like failing trees, limbs and rolling rocks, while enabling greater heat dissipation from the head. Newer models have better integration with protective eye wear such as goggles along with attachable headlamps for use during night operations.
Shirts and trousers are key components of wildland PPE. The early shirts were made from an orange fabric; yellow cotton shirts were introduced in the late 1960s after studies showed yellow to be more visible in dark and smoky environments. Also, there were several instances when orange shirts were mistaken for flames, and aircraft dropped fire retardant on crews on the line.
Gloves should be specially designed to protect the firefighters' hands against blisters, cuts, scratches and minor burns during routine firefighting. Avoid conventional oil-tanned work gloves that can burn or shrink in intense heat. Individuals entrapped in fire shelters also report that gloves are necessary to hold the hot shelter material to the ground without getting burned.
Fire Shelters have become the most important component of the wildland firefighter's PPE over the past few years. The pup tent-like shelter is the only piece of equipment that offers lifesaving protection in the event of an entrapment.