Thursday, October 15, 2009

Then and Now

While unloading my truck at work yesterday morning, I was thinking about how I used to be able to bungee cord my Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to my Honda CB700SC motorcycle and pull a day half at another station.

I didn't have the room for my bedding, spare uniforms or shaving kit, so I if got lucky and caught a full shift, I would ask the saint that I am married to to bring that stuff by the station after she got off of work.

I didn't even own a gear bag until 1990 or so. I didn't need one. I now have two. Lets take a look and see how much stuff I have picked up over the years.

This was the extent of PPE I carried in the eighties. Note how well my brush coat and pants roll up and fit into my boots and how the helmet strap goes around the coat. No mask or fire shelter, those were shared. My coat also held a 2-cell flashlight and one pair of fire-craft gloves. Carrying your PPE like this made it easier to keep track of when riding on the tailboard, it was less likely to fall off.

The two bags of PPE I carry now. The green one is for my wild-land PPE, the red for everything else. There wouldn't be room on the tailboard for two firefighters and four bags.

The contents of my PPE bags. All of this stuff was issued to me by my agency. Additions include a brush helmet, brush boots, brush gloves, web gear, fire shelter and helmet lantern. Oh yes, I almost forgot my special long sleeve t-shirt.

An EMS bag including eye and splash protection, N95 mask and latex gloves has been added as has my own SCBA mask and flash hood. Note the three pairs of gloves, one for structure fires and rescues, one for wildland fires and a pair of work gloves.

My personal favorite is the traffic safety vest. What a waste. I am lucky however, as the Kinda Big FPD usually buys decent quality stuff. I just wish they would a porter to wash it and haul it around for me.

I really don't like it when I pull up on scene and see our patients talking on their phones. When this happens, I can usually count on anywhere from two to ten more people showing up on scene within a few minutes. Besides getting in the way, confusing my patient and offering useless and inaccurate advice, they often get offended when they are asked to keep back out of the way. Sometimes, this entourage beats us on scene.

Every once in a while, someone shows up who performs a useful function such as interpreting or taking custody of a child or pet. This is rare however. There is nothing you can really do about this, except maintain scene control and remember that the whole family is watching and often video taping.

Ahh, the miracles of modern technology.

Thanks for reading.

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