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In doing some research for an article I'm looking for any anecdotes of a situation where a Firefighter has been seriously injured while wearing standard full "Turn Out Gear" including or not including Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA).

I'm specifically interested in situations where the Firefighter has sustained an obvious complex long bone/spinal/C-Spine injury or where he/she has sustained a serious mechanism of injury that would indicate the likelihood of such an injury. A fall from a roof or through a floor etc. something where there was a definite force injury potential with acceleration / deacceleration issues of where it was easily seen that there were severely angulated fractures and the like.

I'm looking for cases where the Turn Out Gear was STILL in place and needed to be removed in an emergent fashion for EMS to treat this Firefighter on scene or if that was not possible how did you deal with the injures discussed above with the Turn Out Gear in place? I am most interested in cases where the Turn Out Gear was removed on scene and if so HOW it was removed given the scenario so as not to exacerbate the known or possible injuries.

Also, if you have ever discussed or trained for this in some way I'd be interested in that information as well.

If anyone has such a story I'd like to know as much information about how you dealt with this situation and the outcome in as much detail as possible.

Please feel free to E-Mail me off list at if you can assist me.


Louis N. Molino, Sr., CET
Freelance Consultant/Trainer/Author/Journalist/Fire Protection Consultant

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Thankfully I have never had to treat an injured firefighter with a long bone fracture or spinal compression injury. I have also never cut gear off of an injured firefighter...however, I have cut into a bunker coat for training purposes and here's what I found. Keep in mind, this was done on a coat manufactured in the early to mid 1990's...It was a Chieftain brand if I recall correctly.

We determined that it would be easier to manage if we cut the outer shell of the coat first, along the seam on the inside of the sleve. This allowed us to avoid cutting any reinforced elbows which were common on some coat models of that date. It also allowed for a smoother cut by taking only the shell first. When we tried both the shell and the liner the scissors would bind. After the shell was removed we then moved onto the liner with no problems. The only slight issue we had was the leather cuffs on the coat sleves...they slowed the cut slightly, but not enough to cause a problem

Although we were never allowed to try it, we determined the SCBA removal would be done by cutting the shoulder straps low, where they join the hip/backplate, then cutting or removing all air lines from the shoulder straps and removing them. The waist strap would simply be unbuckled or cut if needed.

I hope this is of some use to you, I'm sure there are plenty of others on this site that will be able to help you a great deal more than I. Good luck with your search.
Great stuff as I am seeking real world solutions to these real world problems.


Louis N. Molino, Sr., CET
Freelance Consultant/Trainer/Author/Journalist/Fire Protection Consultant

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