Fire Engineering Training Community

Where firefighters come to talk training

Since day one in the fire service, we have each had that one thing that we always carry in our gear. A screw driver, pliers, wire cutters, rope or webbing. Over the years we might accumulate more or downsize to just what we need.


? I am always curious when I hear some state that they don’t want any extra weight on them, that their gear is heavy enough.

As you can see, we recently were issued the external harnesses. We had members that complained about the weight and extra attention that needed to be paid to getting into the gear. I personally have not had any problems and I will post on these harnesses another time.

The matter at hand is “what’s in your pockets?” I have things that I always carry with me no matter what and there are some items that I would like to add and just haven’t done it yet.

I keep a 30 foot piece of webbing, two cords, wire cutters, (need new ones), regular pliers, screw drivers, a center punch and I wear a flash light on my coat. There are some items that I need to add, but for now this is what I have. For example, I would like to add a 25 and 50 foot section of 8mm rope, wooden wedges and a new pair of spring loaded wire cutters.




Flash light on the coat.
What do you carry and why? Do you have any great stories of needing any of your tools and were glad you had them?

Share your input and give us your recommendations and suggestions on what to carry and why.

Stay safe and be careful out there.

Related Posts Across the FireEMS Blogs Networ

Views: 2164

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Jason When did you take a picture of my coat? I carry many of the same tools, with a few more little things added in. I carry several wedges in my pockets for sprinklers, doors, etc. Chaulk for marking doors, a Sav-A-Jake that can and has been used to hold big lines and drag guys out during drills. This tool cuts down on extra webbing, but, I still carry 15ft with a carabiner.
I'm sneaky that way.

Jeff Schwering said:
Jason When did you take a picture of my coat? I carry many of the same tools, with a few more little things added in. I carry several wedges in my pockets for sprinklers, doors, etc. Chaulk for marking doors, a Sav-A-Jake that can and has been used to hold big lines and drag guys out during drills. This tool cuts down on extra webbing, but, I still carry 15ft with a carabiner.
I'm like a walking McGuyver or so I have been told!!! I will need a few shots to show you all the stuff I carry and I pretty much need two of everything with the exception of the really expensive tools since I run with my career and volunteer departments. I would think with all the extra weight I would be loosing some myself! PS Raul Angulo did an article a few months ago in Fire Apparatus mag on the same topic. I'll try to find a copy and post a link to it here.

Thanks for sharing brothers.
Thanks Brad, do you jingle jangle when you walk.?

Brad Hoff said:
I'm like a walking McGuyver or so I have been told!!! I will need a few shots to show you all the stuff I carry and I pretty much need two of everything with the exception of the really expensive tools since I run with my career and volunteer departments. I would think with all the extra weight I would be loosing some myself! PS Raul Angulo did an article a few months ago in Fire Apparatus mag on the same topic. I'll try to find a copy and post a link to it here.

Thanks for sharing brothers.
There's a saying in Special Forces: "it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it." That should apply to the fire service as well. The similarities between the Military and the Fire Service are, “when you need it, you need it now.” I carried the basic survival equipment (short K-Bar, Leatherman Tool and a flashlight) then added the equipment based on my experience that included a pen, door marker, rescue harness, wedges, lightweight leather gloves, a N-95 mask and surgical gloves. The rest of the stuff I could borrow. That was a learned experience when I was a corpsman with the Marines. My Marines would carry IV’s, battle dressings and the essential first aid gear so if they got wounded I could go to them provide first aid with equipment they were carrying. I would carry the morphine and advanced level medical and surgical equipment in addition to my weapon, ammo, food, water, shelter and extra sox. My philosophy was that I could not carry everything and they could help out.

Fortunately we are not at that level yet, but your crews can work as a TEAM and share the load. You do not have to carry EVERYTING but can carry some and borrow the rest. A good example of being prepared is Andy Speier, Capt., Snohomish County (Wash.) Fire District 1. He’s a firefighter rescue specialist and carries enough stuff in his pockets to lift a building. It’s a matter of preference and experience. Do not bog yourself down with unnecessary equipment but carry what you need to ensure your survival.
Great comment and thanks for sharing that experience. Everyone has their own little thing that they must have. The rest should be based on need. Thanks again.

John K. Murphy said:
There's a saying in Special Forces: "it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it." That should apply to the fire service as well. The similarities between the Military and the Fire Service are, “when you need it, you need it now.” I carried the basic survival equipment (short K-Bar, Leatherman Tool and a flashlight) then added the equipment based on my experience that included a pen, door marker, rescue harness, wedges, lightweight leather gloves, a N-95 mask and surgical gloves. The rest of the stuff I could borrow. That was a learned experience when I was a corpsman with the Marines. My Marines would carry IV’s, battle dressings and the essential first aid gear so if they got wounded I could go to them provide first aid with equipment they were carrying. I would carry the morphine and advanced level medical and surgical equipment in addition to my weapon, ammo, food, water, shelter and extra sox. My philosophy was that I could not carry everything and they could help out.

Fortunately we are not at that level yet, but your crews can work as a TEAM and share the load. You do not have to carry EVERYTING but can carry some and borrow the rest. A good example of being prepared is Andy Speier, Capt., Snohomish County (Wash.) Fire District 1. He’s a firefighter rescue specialist and carries enough stuff in his pockets to lift a building. It’s a matter of preference and experience. Do not bog yourself down with unnecessary equipment but carry what you need to ensure your survival.
Jason - i will have pass , seeing as a Chief, the most i carry is my radio and and 35 ft of Personal Rescue rope and Flashlight and accountibily tags

Most of guys here carry small hand tools plus what we issue , but with the District policy The Chief has to approve, but i usually just let them carry what they need

Dept Issue
35 ft personal Resuce rope with D Ring caribinier [ NFPA standard]
Accountibilty tags
Door markers
Folding Spanner wrench
Here is what I carry:

Cable cutters.
6-in-1 screwdriver.
Vise grips.
Allen key set.
50FT of 8mm rope (NFPA approved for self-rescue).
2 locking carabiners.
20 FT of 1" tubular webbing.
Lock-back knife.
Work gloves.
Fireballer gloves (rubber coated).
Alarm panel/elevator keys.
Smooth bore nozzle (15/16” to ½” tip), for use with our break apart fog nozzles.

Some of this stuff I have in a 5.11 turnout pocket organizer. It works great.

On my helmet is a brim light and 2 door chocks.
I also carry my own Vulcan light on a shoulder strap.
In addition to many of the items others have shared, I have carried trauma shears in my pocket for many years. When I was new to the fire service, I had the unfortunate occassion to walk into a clothes line that was srtung in the back yard of a house where we were opperating a multiple alarm fire. The clothes line hit me and dragged across both eyes as I was headed to the command post to report some findings. I immediately rettieved a pair of trauma shears and cut the clothes line down due to it being a safety concern. From that day forward, I alwyas have carried a pair in my turnout gear. I have also used them to cut computer cables at a business that had a fire. The power cables are easily unpluggged, but the networked cables are often run from the floor or across rooms, etc. When needing to recover the hard drives of these workstations to precerve this gentleman's busines, time was of the essence. My crew and managed to secure all of the hard drives in a very few minutes. That was approximately eight years ago; He thanked me again just last week as he was reflecting back on the fire.
-ONE OF THE BEST CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS.
-Its not so much what you carry in your pockets but rather what do you REALLY NEED.
-I'm never disappointed with this question that always produces at least one firefighter that believes he needs the Home Depot in each pocket as well as affixed to his helmet.
-A couple of things on this topic. First what do you need to carry? Aside from the essential bail out gear, 1 piece of webbing and 1 carabineer; 1 knife and 1 pair of dikes, if you are carrying something and have not used it in months you should get rid of it. Ask yourself, do I REALLY, REALLY NEED TO CARRY THIS or is it something that is a convenience.
-Second, can you retrieve the specific tool/item from your pocket AND utilize/employe the specific tool while wearing structure firefighting gloves? If not... you don't need to carry the item in your gear. It's that simple. One of the most useless items firefighters carry is a Leatherman or multi tool.
-If you must remove a glove to get the item/tool out of your pocket as well as operate the tool then obviously the pressure is off, the emergent nature of the call has passed and there is plenty of time to retrieve the appropriate equipment/tools from the apparatus.
-Allen wrenches, socket sets, screw drivers, folding hand saw, hose strap.... the list goes on and it's all unnecessary to carry on your person in your gear.
-There is absolutely no need for firefighters to weigh themselves down and create snag/entanglement hazards carrying unnecessary equipment. The job is difficult enough... no need to make it harder.
-Whats more, these items that are carried usually become the very thing that create snag/entanglement problems during self rescue/evacuation and bail out drills and real world scenarios.
-Lastly, the helmet is not an appropriate place to carry tools or equipment, it is designed to protect your little gray computer that should be thinking of better ways to carry appropriate gear. In fact, if one were to actually read that booklet that comes with a new helmet (and not just throw it away) most firefighters would be shocked to learn that the manufacturer warns against carrying or attaching anything other than the leather shield to the helmet. Ignoring this warning changes the performance standards of the helmet and creates and unsafe situation. If you need more explanation than you really just don't get it.
-It is sometime comical to see young firefighters carrying all this crap on their helmet; special lights, chocks, screw drivers etc... Some of these young kids look like a Jeep coming through the smoke!!!
-The justification is that they cannot retrieve the item from a pocket and putting it on a helmet makes it easier. This is back to my first point; if you cannot get the item out of your pocket while wearing gloves than you don't need the tool.
-The reality is that they have seen old-timers employing this practice which harkens back to the days of long coats and pull up boots and ONLY two pockets to carry things. Ya see where this is going?
-Carry only what you need in your pockets.
-Mike, what is the 35 ft. of rope for? If it's for personal escape 35 ft is not nearly sufficient; 50 ft is more appropriate. And, the rope is no good without an escape harness and the attaching devices and descent device. A firefighter needs the entire bailout system and the training to go with it.
-Using 35 ft of rope for the old "body wrap" maneuver is not only outdated and foolishly reckless, it is doubtful a firefighter will be able to perform it properly or safely under duress in hyperdynamic conditions.
-Are the firefighters in South Schenectady issued bail out systems in compliance with the updated NY State law for personal escape? And, even the IC is should have bailout gear, especially in smaller departments in which the IC might end up inside (yeah I know but in reality it may happen).

Mike France said:
Jason - i will have pass , seeing as a Chief, the most i carry is my radio and and 35 ft of Personal Rescue rope and Flashlight and accountibily tags
Most of guys here carry small hand tools plus what we issue , but with the District policy The Chief has to approve, but i usually just let them carry what they need Dept Issue 35 ft personal Resuce rope with D Ring caribinier [ NFPA standard]
Accountibilty tags
Door markers
Folding Spanner wrench
It's funny you mention the new guy carrying everything. I remember working with a veteran paramedic one night when I was fairly new. We had a ride along that night and this guy comes stolling in with the pants and a huge leather pouch loaded with scissors, bite blocks, lights and hemostats of every size shape and color, if you know what I mean. The old crusty medic immediately sees this kid and says, "Hey, who called the electrician?"
Priceless.

Michael Bricault said:
-ONE OF THE BEST CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS.
-Its not so much what you carry in your pockets but rather what do you REALLY NEED.
-I'm never disappointed with this question that always produces at least one firefighter that believes he needs the Home Depot in each pocket as well as affixed to his helmet.
-A couple of things on this topic. First what do you need to carry? Aside from the essential bail out gear, 1 piece of webbing and 1 carabineer; 1 knife and 1 pair of dikes, if you are carrying something and have not used it in months you should get rid of it. Ask yourself, do I REALLY, REALLY NEED TO CARRY THIS or is it something that is a convenience.
-Second, can you retrieve the specific tool/item from your pocket AND utilize/employe the specific tool while wearing structure firefighting gloves? If not... you don't need to carry the item in your gear. It's that simple. One of the most useless items firefighters carry is a Leatherman or multi tool.
-If you must remove a glove to get the item/tool out of your pocket as well as operate the tool then obviously the pressure is off, the emergent nature of the call has passed and there is plenty of time to retrieve the appropriate equipment/tools from the apparatus.
-Allen wrenches, socket sets, screw drivers, folding hand saw, hose strap.... the list goes on and it's all unnecessary to carry on your person in your gear.
-There is absolutely no need for firefighters to weigh themselves down and create snag/entanglement hazards carrying unnecessary equipment. The job is difficult enough... no need to make it harder.
-Whats more, these items that are carried usually become the very thing that create snag/entanglement problems during self rescue/evacuation and bail out drills and real world scenarios.
-Lastly, the helmet is not an appropriate place to carry tools or equipment, it is designed to protect your little gray computer that should be thinking of better ways to carry appropriate gear. In fact, if one were to actually read that booklet that comes with a new helmet (and not just throw it away) most firefighters would be shocked to learn that the manufacturer warns against carrying or attaching anything other than the leather shield to the helmet. Ignoring this warning changes the performance standards of the helmet and creates and unsafe situation. If you need more explanation than you really just don't get it.
-It is sometime comical to see young firefighters carrying all this crap on their helmet; special lights, chocks, screw drivers etc... Some of these young kids look like a Jeep coming through the smoke!!!
-The justification is that they cannot retrieve the item from a pocket and putting it on a helmet makes it easier. This is back to my first point; if you cannot get the item out of your pocket while wearing gloves than you don't need the tool.
-The reality is that they have seen old-timers employing this practice which harkens back to the days of long coats and pull up boots and ONLY two pockets to carry things. Ya see where this is going?
-Carry only what you need in your pockets.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Policy Page

CONTRIBUTORS NOTE

Our contributors' posts are not vetted by the Fire Engineering technical board, and reflect the views and opinions of the individual authors. Anyone is welcome to participate.

For vetted content, please go to www.fireengineering.com/archive/.

Fire Engineering Editor in Chief Bobby Halton
We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our policy page. -- Bobby Halton

Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail peter.prochilo@clarionevents.com.

FE Podcasts


Check out the most recent episode and schedule of
UPCOMING PODCASTS

© 2021   Created by fireeng.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service