NFPA 101: NFPA 1851 strives to reduce health and safety risks

Firefighting is a dirty, gritty job. Turnout gear that is exposed to fire ground contaminants, as well as bio-hazards (blood-borne pathogens), can be a danger to firefighters’ health. Also, burnt, torn and damaged gear can be a safety risk. Proper care and maintenance helps keep the protective performance of your gear intact. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has designated a standard to help keep turnout gear safer, longer. NFPA 1851, 2008 Ed. Standard on Selection, Care and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting.

Advanced inspection of turnout gear

Yes, NFPA 1851 recommends that turnout gear undergo an advanced inspection every 12 months, at a minimum, or whenever a potential problem is spotted. And it only makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, your turnout stands between you and extreme heat, chemicals and bodily fluids that can do you harm. This series of LION videos will provide you with the training you need on advanced turnout gear inspection. So, grab your turnout gear and helmet, an inspection form, a length of new reflective trim identical to that on your turnout, a focused-beam flashlight, a bucket, measuring cup, isopropyl alcohol and a fluorescent job light — then…

What’s inside your turnout gear?

Did you know you could produce up to four pounds of sweat during an hour of normal firefighting operations? That can be a problem because the water adds extra weight to your turnout. It also can contribute to burn injuries because it can compromise the reliability of your thermal layer.Your thermal barrier is like the insulation in your house — it traps air in millions of tiny pockets, creating a barrier to your environment. If those pockets fill with moisture, they can’t function as designed. You get hotter and sweatier, and your protection levels diminish. The best thermal liner is one that…

Top 5 mistakes of caring for your firefighting PPE

Don’t ask for the impossible — if you don’t take care of your PPE, it won’t take care of you. Here are the top five mistakes firefighters make in caring for their gear. Mistake 1. Cleaning your firefighter turnout in your home washing machine with commercial laundry detergent. First, your turnout is exposed to a lot of bad on-the-job elements that have no place in your home. Second, a home-style washing machine is too harsh on the materials and can’t effectively clean all of the bulky gear. Third, laundry detergents can compromise the fabrics — so can bleach and softeners. Instead,…