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A firefighter's uniform is their most important asset. It protects from the heat of a fire and from the dangers of smoke inhalation. Without this gear, firefighters cannot effectively put out fires and rescue victims. Advancements in technology have vastly improved firefighter equipment over the years.
Portland firefighters are required to wear full protective clothing at all incidents where there is any fire or potential of fire. This includes firefighting helmet with faceshield, Poly Butyl Isonate (PBI) hood, turnout coat and pants, leather or waterproof boots, and structural firefighting gloves. Portland firefighters are also required to don respiratory protective equipment such as a Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) or Air-Purifying Respirator (APR) upon recognition or suspicion of conditions that present breathing hazards.
A complete set of firefighter's clothing and equipment can weigh about 70 lbs., not including any additional tools or gear. After each use, the gear becomes even heavier due to buildup of sweat and water stored in the outer shell and the thermal barrier.
The extra weight from the protective clothing and equipment is worth it. Portland firefighters are protected from the heat of fires, sharp objects at automobile crashes, and fluid exposures, and enables them to breathe safely while working at emergency scenes and rescuing victims. Portland Fire & Rescue stays current on the latest developments in firefighter gear in order to make the profession as safe as possible for the men and women who encounter dangerous and life-threatening incidents on a daily basis.
Portland Fire & Rescue We Respond: Always Ready, Always There
August 19, 2010