We are now moving into the spring of the year and things are starting to come to life. The weather will be getting warmer and more folks will be out on the roads, at the lakes, visiting the parks and just being out and about. It is also budget time for departments that are on a July 1st budget year. Those budgets have to be worked on and submitted for the June approval. This is the time of year we have to look at our needs and see what equipment is at the top of the list, sometimes a tough situation to be in.
Getting a chance to attend different fire conferences allows me to see some of the newer equipment and most updated technology coming out. About a year ago while I was wandering about at a fire show, I came across a booth that was displaying what appeared to be bunker gear. This gear had a slightly different look to it, as it seemed to appear much lighter than the normal structural gear. It had my curiosity up, so I had to get a closer look.
The gear was made by TecGen and it did look like structural fire gear. At a closer examination, I found it to be very lightweight material and quite soft to the touch. I wondered how this could hold up to the roughness of rescue. After I tried it on, it felt even better, so it was time to do a little research and see about evaluating this stuff. Here is what I found out about this gear; it is UL rated to surpass the NFPA 1951 guidelines for technical rescue and NFPA 1977 for wildland fire fighting. This makes it great for use in vehicle extrications, confined space rescue, trench rescue, agricultural rescue, as well as other types of rescue environments.
The set I have is the TecGen Xtreme level 3 package, which has some really cool features. The coat has a radio pocket with a microphone flap to hook your lapel microphone. There is a large left chest pocket along with two large pockets on the lower front sides of the coat. The collar has a Velcro closure for protection from the elements, and the front zipper has a Velcro storm flap as well. The coat is trimmed in reflective 3M Scotchlite around the bottom of the coat and the wrist. You can get an extra stripe around the middle of the coat if you prefer. The wrists also have adjustments for your gloves to interface.
The pants have an adjustment strap at the waist, and the belt loops will take a three inch wide belt. There are pockets on the sides like normal pants, as well as pockets on the back and also front lower cargo pockets. They all have closure flaps with Velcro. The bottoms of the pants have a take up strap for boot adjustments and zippers to allow for pulling over your boots. The pants also have Scotchlite striping around the legs.
Now let me tell you about a few really cool features. The pants have reinforced knees and slots so that a thin piece of foam padding can be inserted for additional protection when having to crawl. The bottom pants cuffs are also reinforced so they do not fray, and the coat has elbow reinforcing. These features make it excellent outerwear for extrication and confined space. Departments that are involved in vehicle extrication and technical rescue should look at this gear for their PPE requirements. You can find out more at www.tecgenxtreme.com.
As always next issue we’ll look at some more equipment worth adding to your cache. Be sure and do your research before buying.
If you have any questions or comments, please shoot me an email at [email protected]
. Until next time, train hard, be safe, and know your equipment.
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