5 Facts You Should Know About Firefighter Turnout Gear

Firefighters, the men, and women who enter danger, depend on their gear to help keep them safe. However, it has been discovered that some of that gear is causing health problems.

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5 Facts You Should Know About Firefighter Turnout Gear
3 Min Read August 19th, 2022

Most of us have a general idea of what firefighters' gear looks like and what firefighters wear when they are active on duty. 

Turnout gear is a bit more than simply a general fabric and some pretty reflective material. It is there for a reason, and it serves a purpose. Every piece of protective turnout gear has a purpose and complex makeup that most of us are not totally aware of. 

Sadly firefighter turnout gear has faced some controversy in recent years, with it has caused some dangerous health problems for firefighters over time, but luckily getting a turnout gear lawyer can help

Anyway, let's not focus on the negative. Luckily the cases for firefighter turnout gear that have turned into legal battles and health concerns are not many. While this is happening, there is much still good about firefighter turnout gear, and we are here to learn more about it. 

So, stay with us to learn five fun facts you may not have previously known about firefighter turnout gear! 

Fun Fact #1. Firefighter Turnout Gear Lasts a Very Long Time

In spite of the dangerous situations in which turnout gear is used, it can actually last anywhere from 3 to 6 years on average. This is so long as there is no excessive structural damage to any of it. 

As long as you are careful and ensure that you conduct regular maintenance and proper cleanings, this gear can actually withstand pretty much any situation. 

However, the NFPA does require that all turnout gear is retired at or around 10 years of service. 

Fun Fact #2. Firefighter Turnout Gear Has 3 Layers

There are three separate layers that makeup firefighter turnout gear. This is known as a composite. It is made up out of the following: 

  1. The layer we see is the outer shell; this is the material that is resistant to heat, physical hazards, and chemicals. 

  2. Then there is the thermal liner, which disperses perspiration, protects the moisture barrier, and increases the comfort level of the gear. 

  3. Then finally, there is a moisture barrier, which is good for keeping out blood-borne pathogens, chemicals, and water. Keeping the firefighter protected and safe. 

Each layer is made to protect the firefighter in any emergency they may need to attend. Each will play a very important role in the overall performance and durability of the suit.

Fun Fact #3. It Is Able to Withstand Extreme Temperatures

It may be obvious, but firefighters' turnout gear is able to withstand the extremes. Since firefighters are often found in dangerous situations in which they are exposed to extreme temperatures and smoke, this is vital. 

Sometimes turnout gear may not seem like it would protect firefighters in a fire, but it actually does a brilliant job of this. 

Most modern protective turnout gear pieces, including jackets and pants, are made with flame-resistant fabrics like Nomex or Kevlar. 

Nomex is the best known for being a heat-barrier and is also often worn by military personnel and is even worn by astronauts as well. This material can actually bear temperatures as high as 1200 degrees! 

Fun Fact #4. Firefighter Turnout Gear Needs A Specific Cleaning Process

Official firefighter gear needs to go through a very specific process of cleaning. It can only be cleaned by professional and highly trained certified cleaning personnel. 

A typical washer and dryer combination is actually much more likely to damage turnout gear than it is to do any good. 

You will also need to evaluate the gear after every single time it is used in order to determine what level of cleaning is appropriate. You need to keep up with the cleanliness and overall suit maintenance as well. 

This is absolutely vital in order for the suit to function properly and safely for the firefighters. 

Fun Fact #5. It Actually Serves a Very Practical Purpose

Of course, we know that firefighter gear is specific and focused on firefighter safety in extreme situations. However, every element that makes up a full turnout gear set will serve a very specific practical purpose. 

The outer layers are the most significant to firefighter safety, including the coat and helmet. 

Helmets might look a bit like they have been put on the wrong way, but they are actually made to look this way. This is designed to prevent debris and water from falling onto the firefighter's back while they are dealing with an extreme situation providing extra protection. 

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