Proper storage of your firefighting equipment keeps you safer

Proper Equipment Storage: How It Prolongs the Life of Your Gear (And Keeps You Safe)

Firefighters rely on their equipment to do their job safely and effectively, protecting them from harm while fighting fires. However, if this gear is not properly stored, it can quickly deteriorate and become ineffective, resulting in potential safety issues and costly repairs. Proper storage of your firefighting equipment will prolong its life cycle and usefulness.

Some of the most important equipment in use by modern firefighters is their personal protective equipment, the structural firefighting ensemble. A firefighter’s turnout gear ensemble consists of multiple (often expensive) individual items, the collective cost of which represents a substantial combined financial outlay both for the department and the individual firefighter.

Whether initially purchased for a new recruit or bought to supplement or replace the gear of a seasoned team member, the cost of a full protective ensemble (helmet, hood, suspenders, coat, pants, boots, and gloves) can easily rise to the upper range of several thousand dollars.

It is advisedly recommended to follow all proper care procedures (regular cleaning, drying, inspection, etc.) as prescribed by the gear manufacturer. But properly storing turnout gear between uses is also extremely important and can greatly extend the lifespan of an individual’s structural firefighting ensemble.

What Damages Firefighting Equipment?

Research and testing of PPE reveal several factors that adversely affect the life cycle of firefighting PPE.

These factors include exposure to UV rays from sunlight and fluorescent lighting, moisture damage (mildew) from improperly dried gear, retention of fire gases and toxic substances from soiled PPE that has been improperly cleaned, surface contamination from ash, soot, and other debris from firefighting operations, and surface contamination from diesel exhaust particulates from fire apparatus (exacerbated if the apparatus bay lacks a diesel exhaust particulate removal system).

Protecting Your Firefighting Equipment

There are some very important procedures one can practice to minimize damage and attrition of firefighting gear over time.

Following the manufacturer’s recommendations for regular cleaning and complete drying is vitally important to extend the functional life span of firefighting PPE. Maintaining clean turnout gear also limits extended exposure by the wearer to surface contaminants and toxins trapped in the fabric.

Even if a firefighter’s PPE doesn’t get soiled enough to require deep cleaning, it routinely gets wet and exposed to potentially toxic airborne particulates (smoke, soot). Proper PPE storage is extremely important in enabling the gear to completely air dry before its next use. Hanging the gear in a storage rack or bay that has adequate airflow will better allow absorbed fire gases or toxic vapors to dissipate from the equipment fabric and materials.

It’s also important to protect PPE from UV exposure when in storage. Direct sunlight and the UV rays from high-intensity fluorescent lighting can have a damaging effect on PPE fabrics and materials.

Some fire departments store their firefighter PPE and other gear in the station’s apparatus bay to ensure fast and easy access to it when a call comes in.

Dedicated steel mesh rack or locker systems can still expose stored equipment to UV light and surface particle contamination. One solution to this problem is the use of specially fitted synthetic fabric locker covers (secured with quick-release Velcro fasteners), which add an additional level of protection to stored gear.

The ideal firefighting equipment storage solution is a dedicated, easily accessible space within the building to store PPE, one that contains a sturdy rack and locker system that permits free air circulation around and throughout the hanging gear. In a best-case scenario, the storage space will be equipped with negative ventilation that exhausts to the outside of the building.

But not all departments are in the position to completely redesign their station building by adding a separate PPE storage room or by adapting a preexistent area of their station to house their gear. Fortunately, there exists a wide variety of commercially available turnout gear storage systems specifically designed with firefighting equipment storage in mind. These offer versatile (even mobile) storage options with shelving, lockers, and hanging bays that ensure free circulation of air, enabling complete and efficient drying and safe protected storage… all without sacrificing fast access in time of need.

Smart Storage Equals Safer Gear

Proper storage of your firefighting equipment will ensure that your department’s turnout gear is always fit and ready for duty when needed. A firefighter’s equipment and turnout gear are the most important investment, in time and money, a department can make. Successful care and effective storage can always be counted on to raise the bar by ensuring greater personal and departmental safety.

Looking to up your storage game? Fire-End is proud to carry the trusted brands and reliable gear storage solutions needed for those in the field of search and rescue.

What Types of Tools and Equipment Do Search and Rescue Personnel Carry?

People who work or volunteer in search and rescue know that it is more of a calling than a job. It’s physically and emotionally demanding, but also adrenaline-infused. It can provide a great sense of purpose. When a search and rescue operation is successful, there are few professionals or volunteers who receive more gratitude.

So what types of tools and equipment do search and rescue personnel carry? PPE, spreaders, cutting tools, forcible entry tools, stabilizing tools, lifting and pulling tools. The types of equipment and tools “carried” will vary, however, as some are light and small enough to easily transport but others are heavy and can only be transported one at a time. Continue reading

How to Use a Hydra Ram

The Hydra Ram is one of the best forcible-entry tools on the market. Because it’s lightweight and powerful, it might be the most firefighter-friendly Hydraulic forcible entry tool available despite its seemingly gently nickname, “The Bunny” or “rabbit tool.”

Yet its power and effectiveness rely on its proper use. This article examines how to use a Hydra Ram: Continue reading

Firefighter Bailout Systems and Techniques

Firefighter bailout systems are, quite literally, lifesaving. Make sure each member of your team has a UL Classified to NFPA 1983 firefighter escape system and they’re each familiar with its use to the point that they can reflexively deploy it for a secure descent when needed.

Fire-End is proud to offer quality firefighter bailout systems including the popular Rock N Rescue brand of escape equipment as well as Sterling Rope bailout systems. Continue reading

Haix tactical footwear

Great Choice in Firefighter Boots: Haix Station Boots for Structure and Comfort

Fire station boots need to be protective, durable, yet comfortable so that firefighters have the safety features needed in emergency footwear along with wearability during long hours on the job. Let’s face it, you’re probably going to wear these boots for at least 8 hours a day.

Firefighter boots (or EMS station boots/law enforcement boots) need to be heavy-duty enough to help protect against chemicals and bloodborne pathogens but we need ease of movement too.

At Fire-End, the Haix brand is among the best in fire boots for structural, wildland, Hazmat, and overall dual-purpose use AND comfort. Special welding machines and sealing bands give their fire boots maximum water tightness.

Read further to find out why the Haix full line of boots is a great choice for firemen and other emergency response workers. Continue reading

TG8 Ram Air Gear Dryer

Dry Your Bunker Gear and PPE Safely and Efficiently

Drying personal protective equipment including turnout gear, hazmat suits, helmets, gloves, boots, face masks, and special ops gear is important. It keeps moisture from ruining the integrity of your gear and making sure your gear is back in operating condition quickly.

So what’s the best way to dry bunker gear, turnout gear, and other PPE safely? Fire-End is proud to carry Ram Air Gear Dryers specifically made to dry firefighter gear to comply with NFPA 1851/FEMSA recommendations.

Read on to learn what that entails and why the Ram Air product line is first-in-class when it comes to drying firefighting gear, special ops gear, and personal protective equipment.

Learn more about Ram Air here. Continue reading

Our Choice for The Best Firefighter Helmet Light You Can Depend On

Firefighters and EMTs require a lot out of their helmet lights. And they should. Heavy smoke conditions and dimly lit sites necessitate hands-free illumination when you’re in a rescue situation.

As a leading provider of firefighting and emergency rescue supplies, Fire-End knows firsthand the performance and quality of thousands of products made for the municipal and interior fire equipment markets.

With confidence, we suggest that the best firefighter helmet light is the Streamlight Vantage® Fire Helmet Light.

This firefighter helmet light is compact, sturdy, reliable, easy to use, and uses a lithium battery; cost is under $90.

Here’s why: Continue reading

firefighters in summer

How To Prevent Heat Illness Among Firefighters

Firefighters are exposed to various sources of heat, most commonly environmental heat exposure (weather conditions) and thermal exposure (during fire suppression and fire rescue).
A large part of heat illness prevention starts before firefighters even arrive at the station, however. A comprehensive plan to fight heat illness should include fitness, acclimatization, hydration, and proper gear. We can look at what each of those entails but first, what exactly is heat illness? Continue reading

best-selling firefighter flashlight

Best Firefighter Flashlight: Fire-End’s Top Picks

Choosing the best firefighter flashlight means choosing the best emergency survival light. You need one that’s compact in size, easy to grip, leaves you unencumbered, and cuts through smoke and darkness. Its ability to meet all these demands can impact your survival chances and/or the survival of victims in emergency situations.

As the end-all in fire safety, Fire-End products are used worldwide, and we strive to be your number one source for fire protection needs. We confidently suggest our top five, best-selling firefighter flashlights: Continue reading