Why Do Firefighters Wear Funny Clothes?
Firefighters wear special clothes that are made to protect them while they work in dangerous situations. This helps them do a better job while staying safe.
Common Clothes & Equipment
The coat is made up of several different layers. The outside layer is made of fire resistive Kevlar/Nomex with Ripstop weave. The inner layer is a thermal layer with a moisture barrier.
The yellow and silver stripes that you see are reflective. They allow firefighters to be seen when lights shine on them in the dark. Each firefighter's name is stenciled on the back of their coat for identification. This firefighter is wearing a Truckman's belt. He can attach and carry small tools on the belt.
These pants are made of special materials that are heat and flame resistant. The inner layer is made of waterproof material that helps to keep firefighters warm and dry. These pieces of clothing can be very warm in the winter, but can be very hot for the firefighters during the warmer months. I wonder what he keeps in those big pockets?
The total weight of all of this gear combined is approximately 65 pounds.
Q: Why do firefighters wear red suspenders?
A: To keep their pants from falling down!
This air tank is called a Self Contained Breathing apparatus (SCBA). It is made of seamless aluminum and wrapped with fiberglass. It allows firefighters to breathe 30 minutes of fresh air while they are working in smoke filled and hazardous conditions. It has many warning and safety devices attached to it.
The firefighter's helmet is made from very strong, heat resistant fiberglass. Some helmets can be made of leather. It can protect the firefighters from heat, water, and heavy falling debris. The shield can help to protect eyes.
The helmets have many special markings on them. Numbers can identify who the helmet belongs to and which piece of equipment they are assigned to. The Chief officers wear a white helmet, Captains and Lieutenants wear a red helmet and firefighters wear a black helmet.
The face mask is connected to the SCBA (self contained breathing apparatus) by a special hose. It provides the firefighter with fresh air so they can work in dangerous conditions. Each firefighter has their own face piece that is fit tested to their face. It is important to have a tight seal so the fresh air does not escape.
A Nomex hood is a common piece of firefighting equipment. The fire and heat resistant material that make up the hood protects the parts of the head not covered by the helmet and face mask. Race car drivers sometimes use a similar hood.
There are also CO2 and dry chemical extinguishers. Each type of extinguisher has a specific use.