OK! I have a question. I have brought this up to the past few groups I have worked with. It stems from the video of the kids (recruit firefighters) from the DC area putting on the demonstration to the pre-school kid and they get burned. If you haven’t seen it – here is a short clip. Demo very short.wmv
This also springs from recent firefighter injuries and fatalities. Guys falling through fire weakened floors. Here is my question?
“How do you know when it’s getting too hot”?
When I fought fires (when I actually crawled around inside) we had no hoods and rubber ¾ length pull up hip boots. My dad told me “if you’re ears start to get hot – you need to evaluate your environment”. If I was crawling on a floor with fire underneath me, I knew it because my knees would start to heat up (quick).
The manufacturers of our turnout gear today have done a fantastic job of protecting us. They say that there are built in thermal barriers to keep heat away from the body. In fact, they say that if you are getting hot in your bunker gear, so hot that it is getting very uncomfortable very quickly, you are in too much heat and you are very close to being in trouble.
So I go back to the question! “How do you know when it’s getting too hot”? If it’s too hot when you begin to feel it – how do you really know?
We used to use our exposed skin to tell us. We’re supposed to have no more exposed skin. If it were me today, I’d expose something! My wrist or cheek comes to mind. I don't mean I would not wear one glove or not wear a hood. I mean I would stop occasionally (as the officer for sure) and quickly expose something and mentally compare it with may previous (exposures).
As I stated in the beginning of the Blog – I asked many firefighters recently and no one really gave me an answer. I got a lot of looks – but no hands went up! No volunteers! No answer! Am I right, do you still expose skin or is there another way. I hope it’s not waiting till your helmet eye shield starts to melt over your SCBA facepiece. Please – serious question! “How do you know when it’s getting too hot”?