Wildland firefighters have a difficult job to do. Responsible for prescribed burning, wildfire suppression, and fire preparedness, firefighters are not only subject to dangerous flames, but to rough outdoor terrains, and elements of the four seasons. It’s essential they wear the right clothes and carry the right tools — not just so that they can do their job, but so that they can do it safely.
Here are 10 of the most important parts of the wildland firefighter’s uniform:
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Brush Shirt and Pants
But how does each one help wildland firefighters do their job?
Like a construction worker’s hard hat, a wildland firefighter’s helmet protects the wearer from falling objects. The helmet is made from durable heat-resistant thermoplastic to prevent head injuries, while the bright color allows firefighters to be seen more easily.
When not in use, the goggles are stored on the firefighter’s helmet. When in use, they protect the firefighter’s eyes from heat, smoke, and debris. Thanks to their special anti-fogging, hard-coated lens, the goggles can withstand 500? for 5 minutes.
Brush Shirt & Pants
The wildland firefighter’s shirt or coat combines visibility with fire resistance. Made from flame-resistant materials like Nomex or Tecasafe Plus, it ensures protection from a wildfire, while maintaining body heat overnight.
Brush pants are made from fire resistant materials like Advance, Pioneer, Nomex or Tecasafe Plus which protect the wildland firefighters from the heat, flames, and thick brush.
When working in a challenging environment under dangerous circumstances, a radio is essential for communication. Kept in a chest harness, the radio allows wildland firefighters to keep informed about weather reports, fire plans, and updates from their team and other crews.
Made of leather, these heavy-duty, fire-resistant gloves protect the firefighters’ hands from flames.
The line pack contains all the important smaller items a wildland firefighter needs. This includes items like a headlamp, spare batteries, water bottles, fusees, maps, sunscreen, a compass, earplugs, safety glasses, a first aid kit, water, and MREs. A fire shelter made of fiberglass and aluminum provides temporary protection and air for firefighters trapped by wildfire.
A Pulaski combines an axe blade with a narrow trenching blade on a long wooden handle. Named after the Forest Service District Ranger who invented it after fighting the Great Fire of 1910, this tool is ideal for chopping and trenching to create fire lines.
This handheld fuel tank and igniter allows wildland firefighters to drip a mixture of diesel fuel and gasoline on materials that need to be burned.
Heavy-duty, leather boots provide ankle support, traction, and foot protection when fighting fires for long periods on the varied wildland terrain.
The fire shelter is constructed of aluminum, fiberglass, and woven silica, and only gets deployed in emergency situations. The shelter works by reflecting radiant heat which temporarily provides a small space of breathable air in the event that the wildland firefighter is trapped by the flames.
A potentially dangerous job requires the right clothes and tools.
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