7 Facts About Turnout Gear (that you probably didn’t know)

by | Apr 30, 2021

We can all picture what a firefighter wears while fighting fires. You don’t need to be a firefighter to recognize the oversized heavy pants, coats, and helmets. But there is a reason for all the reflective materials, odd shaped helmets, and layers of clothing that we have become so familiar with. Here are 7 facts about turnout gear we bet you didn’t know.

Firefighters in gear holding a hose

Here are 7 facts about turnout gear we bet you didn’t know.

  1. NFPA certified turnout gear is composed of three layers; an outer shell, a moisture barrier, and a thermal liner. This specific formulation of materials was created more than 100 years ago.
  2. Firefighter helmets may appear to be on backwards, but the “duckbill” appearance was specifically designed to keep water and hot debris from falling down the backs of firefighters.
    The firefighter helmet we know today was first designed in the 1800’s by a famous luggage manufacturer known for its extremely durable luggage.
  3. Turnout Gear, also known as Bunker Gear, gets its name from it’s history of being stored in the bunk room of fire departments so that is can be easily and readily accessible in case of emergencies. We now know the health risks associated with keeping turnout gear near living quarters and most fire stations have dedicated gear lockers to mitigate any health risks.
  4. Turnout Gear is known to last anywhere from 3-6 years, barring any major damage to the equipment. Regular maintenance and advanced cleanings can help prolong the lifespan of turnout gear. NFPA requires all sets of turnout gear to be retired at or before 10 years of service.
  5. The average set of turnout gear weighs as much as 45 pounds. This includes; helmets, gloves, hoods, boots, coats, and pants. Tack on other equipment like radios, lights, irons, and that weight can easily be doubled.
  6. Nomex, the flame resistant material often used in turnout gear can withstand temperatures as high as 1600 degrees fahrenheit.
  7. Turnout Gear requires a specialty cleaning process that can only be done by certified cleaners. Your standard washer/dryer will actually do more damage than good to a set of turnout gear.

Want to learn more about how to properly clean and maintain turnout gear? We’d love to share why more fire departments are starting to partner with RedLine for all their cleaning needs.