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I am seeing more and more firefighters jumping off the truck with their face piece doned. Looking for thoughts about and reasons for doing this.

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Joe McClelland said:
Good points Gary. The smell of the fire is becoming a lost art I think. I do not see members in my division coming off with masks on, nor do I teach my probies to start that practice. I did get a probie 2 years ago that was taught in a rather large Academy a little North of me and South of you to always come off the rig with the mask on. I informed him on the cons of that practice and he was told to not do that any more. So it is taught but not for the right reasons in my opinion. Faster to get the mask hooked up is not always the best thing.

Joe I agree. A lot of firefighter basics are becoming a lost art. And WE as senior members need to do more to instill these basics back into our members. As for a Academy that is teaching this it goes to show you that they are taking instructors that have no or little experience. BE SAFE Brother!
Sounds like everyone is on the same page here. I too agree that this isn't the best habit to get into. About two years ago our department started the process of getting guys out of the habit of doing this. Like everyone has already stated this greatly impairs your vision. Also it will "slow" you down, which in this case is a good thing. I am all about being very aggressive in regards to interior fire attack, but the art of the "Size up from the backseat" has changed to "get to the fire as fast as you can, and dont let anyone steal your nozzle". As far as waiting for your boss, before making entry, I cant say I always do, and I don't think I'm wrong for doing so, I really just think it depends on the incident, the officer, and the crew.
Last year I made the mistake of having my mask on before coming off the truck at a fire involving a shingle-delivery truck with the boom in the air. We got there and everything that could be on fire was on fire. So, with my mask on, I stretched the line and got ready for water, went on air and started hitting the fire. After the fire was knocked down, I took off my mask for overhaul and looked back and realized that I stretched the line right next to the downed power line that the boom of the truck had contacted which started the fire in the first place. If I had been smarter and waited to put my mask on later, I would've seen the power line and never stretched anywhere near it. Thankfully, no one got hurt.

Just thought I'd share so no one does the same stupid thing that I did.
I will only jump in to say I agree with masking up only when needed, but I do see value on donning the pack in the truck. per cubic foot, fire apparatus compartments are some of the most expensive real estate on the market. Going back to packs on compartments instead of seats takes up valuable space. I agree that the concept is to take a minute and study the building, it does pay off. We teach that you conduct this "personal size-up" every job, no matter what. It's done for your own situational awareness and for everyone else as more eyes see more things (hazards, victims).

It seems like there aren't any firefighters representing Texas here, as the Reed hoods require the guys mask up early by their accounts.
It seems like there aren't any firefighters representing Texas here, as the Reed hoods require the guys mask up early by their accounts.

Adam, This is true with the Reed Hood. I'm not going to get into it about how the hood provides better or worse protection. From Day 1 in fire school most of the Southeast Texas FF's are tought to come off the truck with your mask on. Some of this is from the Reed Hood. I have worked and volunteered for departments that use the Reed hood and some that don't. And all want you to come off with mask on. We are not breathing air just have the mask on.

I agree with everybody on here that some people do get tunnel vision and do not see the scene as well with mask on. In my 15 yrs in the fire service I have never had an issue with the mask fogging up, tripping, or other issues. I might have missed a few things around the fire ground. Although I have seen people have issues getting on and off the rig with and without the mask on. Most of the time the officer will come off with the mask off to do the 360 and will meet with the crews at the door to advise of anything.
I did work for a North Texas dept that the first fire I jumped off the engine with my mask on and they thought I was crazy. So With that I believe it is more of a regional thing down here. Just like around most metro area Departments other smaller dept's follow a lot of the same ways of doing things. Are these always the best or safest ways. Probably not. It works for the Houston area.

Like what everyone is saying it all comes down to training. We train to come off with mask on and look for other hazards with it on.

I also say there is no reason to put your face piece on in the rig. Also unless conditions dictate, when you are on the truck and you are going to climb and open up the roof, wait till you get to the tip or you are on the roof depending on conditions to put your mask on. The reason is the same as all that have been mentioned. You are a liability without a proper size up of the roof and conditions up there. I guess if common sense was so common there would not be a name for it huh?????? FTM-PTB
Another thing i don't think anybody touched on is air management even before you go on air. If you're using Scott masks with a removable regulator, think about the size of the h*** on the mask that you will be breathing through. Even if you get off your apparatus with your mask on but not clipped in, you are already hindering your air management. You have to put more effort into breathing through that 2, 2.5" h*** rather than no mask on at all.
A chin strap?
Putting a mask on before arriving does make size up and an initial 360 of a building slightly more difficult, but if one trains while weraing a face piece this can be overcome. Also take into consideration the newer designs of masks. Scott 3000's have a much larger window with greater peripheral vision and newer designed nose cups although sometimes uncomfortable they serve a purpose. and work if left in place. I don't believe tunnelvision is caused by wearing a mask as much as learned behavior and ones experience. In our department we have first in officers who arrive both ways, but second and later due officers and nearly all firefighters arrive with their mask on ready to work. As stated in a previous comment this may be due to Reed hoods or just the "area we grow up in"

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