Mayday Monday: Costume or Fire Gear?

Firefighter turnout gear or costume

By Tony Carroll

Are you wearing a costume or firefighting gear? This past week we participated in our annual dress-up holiday celebration, Halloween. This family-friendly event is marked by people of all ages putting on costumes to pretend to be a ghoul, ghost, or other make-believe character. When these pretenders visit to get their candy, some don’t seem comfortable in their costumes…it’s too big or the mask doesn’t feel right. I see firefighters show up on firegrounds with this same level of comfort. It’s okay for the pretenders to not feel comfortable in their costume. It’s NOT okay for firefighters.

This month we will go back to the basics and perform dressing drills. The purpose of these drills is to increase the comfort level of wearing turnout gear and to decrease your in-service time. The time it takes for you to get your turnout gear on and be ready for the fight is the only time we can really control. Please practice this basic skill and, remember, FIREFIGHTER SURVIVAL STARTS WITH THE BASICS!

Since the last Mayday Monday post, the staff here lost a friend in a highway incident. Lt. Brad Clark of the Hanover (VA) Fire & EMS Department was a supporter of the Mayday Monday Firefighter Survival Campaign and a shooting star in the fire service. He exemplified the firefighter you want coming to your fire. As with all of our firefighters lost, please remember Brad and learn about his sacrifice.

Don’t forget to send pictures of you and your crew performing the dressing drills. Send them to [email protected]. See you next month.

Tony Carroll is a battalion chief with the District of Columbia Fire & EMS Department.

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