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Evolution of Fire Fighters Ppe

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Submitted By kwright
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Fire fighter personnel protective equipment has evolved greatly over a short period of time. The advancement of personnel protective equipment has greatly improved the effectiveness of firefighting. It has helped ensure the safety of firefighters and made interior attacks possible. The evolution of PPE has also caused problems for firefighters. With this advance equipment firefighters feel safer and in turn go deeper and deeper into fires, taking unnecessary risks. The invention of SCBA has greatly changed the fire service. Before the SCBA was invented interior operations at a fire were virtually impossible. SCBA has become a necessary tool in firefighting. It enables firefighters to breath clean air in an otherwise contaminated environment. The SCBA has been improved since its invention. The SCBA harness has been fitted with a PASS device that detects movement and will signal other firefighters if no movement is detected. The SCBA is an essential tool that helps enable firefighters to find other fallen firefighters and allows successful interior attacks. Another improvement on the SCBA is the bottle. The first SCBA units used a steel bottle that was heavy and normally held enough air for thirty minutes. The common bottle now is constructed of carbon fiber which is a lot lighter than the steel bottle. Now bottles are being used that hold more air; this enables firefighters to work longer without having to leave the fire to get another bottle. These improvements on the already essential tool have helped protect and make the firefighter feel safer. The invention and improvements on the SCBA unit have not been all positive. The advancement on the time a firefighter can spend in the fire has created added danger. The firefighters feel safer and in turn go farther into fires. With the larger supplies of air firefighters often become unaware of how far they have traveled into a building and then not have enough air to get back out. Although SCBA is an essential and effective firefighting tool it can give firefighters a false sense of security. The advancement of firefighters turn out gear has also added protection. Specifically the addition of the hood has greatly affected a firefighters gear. The hood is made of a fire-resistive material that links the helmet to the coat. The hood protects the firefighter’s neck and ears for heat exposure. This allows the firefighter to remain in the fire without feeling the extreme heat conditions. Before the hood was invented firefighters would know when it was too hot by the heat on their ears. The firefighters would use their ears as a thermometer of sorts. If the heat began to blister their ears then they would know the fire was to hot and it was time to leave. With the invention of the hood the firefighters cannot feel the intense heat conditions on their ears. Although the hood helps protect the firefighters it also stops them from feeling the intense heat on their ears which used to tell the firefighters when a room was too hot. The coat and trousers are the main pieces of the firefighter PPE. “Both components rely on a layered protection system that includes a fire-resistive outer shell, vapor barrier, and thermal barrier.” (Garza, David). The coat has been outfitted with a drag rescue device. The DRD is fitted inside of the coat and is used to help pull downed firefighters away from trouble. The DRD is not meant for vertical raising or lowering but only for dragging incapacitated firefighters from danger. This improvement on the coat has made rescuing downed firefighter easier because of the built in handle that allows for quick movement of the downed firefighter. The helmet is also a vital piece of the firefighters PPE. The helmet was initially designed to shed water and help protect the firefighter’s neck from hot embers. The original design has been kept in most helmet styles, but improvements have been made. The helmet is impact resistive. This means that if the helmet is worn properly with the chin strap then it can help protect firefighters from unforeseen objects falling on them. The helmet has also been outfitted with fire-resistive earflaps. The earflaps give the firefighter added protection for extreme hat conditions and hot embers. Some helmets have also been outfitted with eye protection. Most common is the face shield sometimes clear or tinted. The face shield can be pulled down to protect the face from sparks of hazards that my fly into the firefighters eyes. The face shield is not able to be used when SCBA is donned. Gloves are also a part of a firefighter PPE. The gloves are made of a fire-resistive material that protects the firefighter from a number of hazards. The gloves not only protect firefighters from heat but from cuts, punctures, and scrapes. The gloves are a vital part of the firefighters PPE because it protects the most useful tool a firefighter has, his hands. Firefighters have a choice between three common types of boots. The common rubber boot, the leather pull-up boot, and the leather lace-up boot. The common rubber boot is inexpensive, easy to decontaminate, and is a sloppy fit. The leather pull-up boot is durable and comfortable but lacks ankle support. Leather lace-up boots are tight fitting, durable, and provide ankle support but these boots are the most expensive option of all three boots. The National Fire Protection Agency regulates and set standard for firefighters PPE. The NFPA was established in 1896 as an insurance firm. The scope of the NFPA’s reach has grown considerably since its creation. The NFPA helps set building codes and regulations. The NFPA also sets standards for firefighter PPE and training. In modern day firefighting all training and equipment must be set to NFPA standards. The NFPA is in place to help protect firefighters and make sure the equipment they use is made to a certain standard. Firefighter PPE has evolved greatly over the past few decades and now must meet new standards to protect firefighters. Although some of the improvements on firefighter PPE have made the firefighters feel secure it enables them to get themselves into trouble. The added protection is needed for the firefighters but it is up to the firefighter to know the boundaries of his equipment.…...

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