Firefighting is a tough profession that requires a lot of courage, great decision-making skills, and supreme physical fitness. Firefighters put their lives on the line to protect the lives and properties of other people.
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Some Firefighters Statistics
As per the US Fire Administration, 27,191 fire departments are registered with the National Fire Department Registry. These fire departments represent around 52,029 fire stations all across the US. As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, firefighters are expected to experience job growth of 4% between 2021 and 2031. As per BLS, the annual mean income of firefighters in 2021 was $55,290 whereas the annual median salary was $50,700.
Advantages of firefighters’ Gear
The gear worn by firefighters provides several advantages that are essential for their safety and effectiveness in fighting fires. Here are some of the key advantages:
Protection From Heat and Flames
Firefighter gear is made from materials that are designed to withstand high temperatures and flames. This protection allows firefighters to get closer to fires and work in extreme heat conditions.
Protection from Smoke and Toxins
Firefighter gear includes an air mask and respirator that helps to filter out smoke and other harmful toxins that can be released during a fire. This protection helps to prevent respiratory issues and other health problems that can result from prolonged exposure to smoke and toxins.
Firefighter gear includes reflective materials and bright colors that make it easier for firefighters to be seen in low visibility conditions, such as in dark or smoky environments.
Modern firefighter gear is designed to be lightweight and flexible, allowing firefighters to move quickly and easily while performing their duties. This mobility is critical in situations where firefighters need to climb ladders or navigate tight spaces.
Protection From Falling Objects
Firefighter gear includes a helmet that is designed to protect the head from falling objects and debris. This protection is important in situations where buildings or structures may collapse or when objects may be dislodged during firefighting activities.
Overall, firefighter gear is essential for protecting the safety of firefighters and allowing them to perform their duties effectively in dangerous and challenging environments.
Since firefighters have to combat dangerous fires as part of their jobs, they cannot do that without specialized equipment. Firefighters’ gear not only helps them put out fires but also protects them from blazing infernos.
Let’s now take a look at some important firefighting gear/equipment:
Also known as “Bunker Gear,” firefighters wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves from fires. These PPE’s have to meet some specific guidelines laid out in the “NFPA 1971” manual so that they insulate firefighters from the extreme environment generated by fires. The PPEs are arguably the most important part of firefighters’ gear.
Firefighters simply cannot put out fires without a hose. Hoses are available in different lengths and types. Firefighters use them to throw water at the fire to put them out. Their length and the amount of water they can throw out at a time is extremely important when it comes to putting out fires.
Nozzles are used to disperse water out of a hose. Just like hoses, nozzles are very important for firefighters to combat fires. There are different types of nozzles available in the market.
Fire extinguishers come in handy for firefighters while combating a fire. The fire extinguishers can be used to put out relatively smaller fires.
Firefighters use special fire trucks to reach the site of a fire. Not only that, but these trucks are also equipped with different equipment like mounted aerial ladders and tools, etc.
Aerial ladders are power-operated and can move in different directions to help the firefighters stay away from danger to combat fires. They have a hydraulic-powered platform at the end.
Air monitoring meters are used to calculate and check the air level at the site. They gauge the amount of different chemicals in the air like different volatile compounds like, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon monoxide, etc.
Automatic sprinklers are a system of specifically designed pipes that disperses water on its own when the sprinkler reaches a certain heating temperature. The head of the sprinkler detects heat generated by a fire and it opens up automatically to direct water to a fire.
A deluge gun is a high capacity water jet. Quite often these guns are specifically designed to accommodate foam that is injected into the upstream piping of the gun.
A sprinkler system that is commonly used to put out fires at industrial units. In a deluge system, sprinkler heads don’t have separate individual valves. Water or any extinguishing agent is dispersed from all the sprinkler heads at the same time. This helps in putting out fires that can spread quickly.
Dry powders come in handy when firefighters have to tackle flammable metals. Every agent is normally designed to tackle a single metal or metals that are very similar.
An Extension ladder is 20-60 feet in length with multiple moving sections.
One of the most basic, yet most effective tools for firefighters to battle fires. Firefighters normally use two types of axes, a pickhead axe, and a flathead axe.
A ground ladder is specifically designed to rest on the ground for firefighters to climb on to put out fires.
A halon is used as a thermal ballast to reduce or suppress the combustion reaction rate. Halons are particularly helpful when combating fires at installation facilities where water extinguishers or corrosive chemicals do not do the job.
A K-tool is used with a Halligan bar to remove cylinder locks to enter the site of a fire.
Firefighters also carry life nets with them. In case of burning buildings, at times people have to jump to save their lives, and these life nets are used to catch them.
An R-Tool is a bigger version of a K-tool but serves the same purpose.
A relief valve is used to maintain a specified safe level of pressure in pumps or hoses.
These are infrared cameras that help firefighters detect people and animals trapped in a fire. Not only that, but these cameras also aid firefighters in identifying structural damages and various heat sources.
Firefighters use other tools and equipment as well to put out fires. The job of a firefighter is full of risks but they put everything on the line to help people and their communities. If you want to become a firefighter, then the job outlook across the US is quite positive. The 5% job growth predicted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics is equal to the average job growth for all other occupations.