There is a reason for the clothing firefighters wear. Whether they are sitting around at the station or fighting a fire, a firefighter's clothes protect the body. A firefighter may wear four different types of clothing depending on what they are doing.
A firefighter's station clothes are just as important as their other gear. These typically are uniforms worn while on duty at the fire station, and include fire resistant pants, which are specialized cargo pants to hold pens, EMT gear and gloves. A firefighter also will wear a fire resistant uniform shirt around the station. These can be in the form of a t-shirt or dress blues. All clothing worn at the station is fire resistant so that, in the case of a fire, a firefighter can jump into their bunker gear wearing their clothing and not worry about it melting in extreme heat.
A HAZMAT (hazardous materials) uniform is worn by firefighters responding to any type of HAZMAT issue. These suits typically are fire resistant, but also are made from a specialized material and look like a large jumpsuit. A firefighter wears this entire jumpsuit with a mask and an air tank so that in the event hazardous materials are present, they do not breathe in the harmful chemicals.
Bunker gear, also referred to as "turnout gear," is the gear a firefighter wears when battling a fire. This outfit consists of a set of pants, t-shirt, jacket, suspenders, boots, gloves, hood and helmet. All of these items are fire resistant, and are easily put on with snaps and Velcro fasteners rather than buttons or zippers. Bunker gear typically is yellow in color; however, some departments also use black. Bunker gear also may include a positive pressure mask, air lines and pressure valves as part of their self-contained breathing apparatus, as well as various straps and harnesses to accommodate equipment and gear.
Technical rescue gear is not meant to be worn in a fire. This type of gear is used when firefighters must perform a search and rescue mission in canyons, fallen buildings and natural disaster recovery. A technical rescue or special operations task force outfit is a one piece jumpsuit and a helmet. The helmet for a technical rescue uniform is different than a bunker gear helmet because it is lighter in weight and typically has a flashlight attached to the front, as well as specialized goggles.
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