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 both wicks away sweat (the fibers draw moisture in and pass it along) and sheds moisture (the fibers don’t absorb water and the water drops instead). The ideal turnout gear incorporate a moisture management system specifically designed to keep you dry. The outer shell sheds water coming at you from hose water and rain. The moisture barrier keeps liquid out while allowing your body heat to escape. The thermal barrier resists moisture and keeps sweat and moisture from replacing the air cells. Finally, the layer closest to your body — the face cloth — wicks away sweat.

Go one step further and evaluate your turnout gear — does it dry within 30 minutes after a run?