By Louis A. Comenale III
Wearing gear properly is one way for firefighters to decrease their chances of injury during firefighting operations. Being able to don your personal protective equipment (PPE) quickly and properly gives the civilians we are sworn to protect the best chance for rescue.
According to the national standard, firefighters should be able to don structural boots, pants, coat, gloves, hood, and helmet in one minute. Donning a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), face piece, and breathing air from the SCBA requires an additional minute—for a total of two minutes. Besides quickly turning out for a response, donning your gear proficiently is one of the proven ways to save time on the fireground. You can put on only so much gear before entering the apparatus: boots, pants, hood, radio, and coat. While responding, if your department’s standard operating guidelines (SOGs) allow you to, you can and should don more gear—gloves, SCBA, and flashlight—and finish closing your coat. Once off the rig, you can don the helmet and face piece at the appropriate location and without removing your gloves.