I have found (at least in my experiences out here in rural land) that most of the fire depts. out here wear their structural gear to do vehicle extrication, vertical rescue, (almost anything with rescue in it other than search and rescue). I know for most of the depts. out here it is a money thing, but are there any departments that utilize "extrication" gear for their members?
Extrication gear can cost almost as much money as TOG. Most departments use it for extrication since it also gives you a thermal protection. There is no reason to wear TOG for vertical rescue, water rescue or any other sort of special rescue. It can actually be a hazard to the rescuer. A coverall would work if you need something to go over clothes for that.
We had an extrication assignment in progress and almost completed when we were then toned for a structure fire. We cut loose our Engine Co. and they responded direct. Ya never know whats around the corner so we like to be prepared. This would not work for a water rescue, but fits most of our response needs.
I think your regular turnout gear is the best rescue gear to use. Lets say u r at a MVC as u r working the crash u have auto rescue gear on. Now the crash site become engulfed in flames. Which gear do u think u should have on? I think the rescue gear is also a waste of money. Here in ST. Louis our turnout gear is used for everthing.
How many times do crash scenes become "engulfed in flames"? The answer is "almost never".
Either the fire starts before we get the 911 call, or it doesn't start at all most of the time.
I've been responding to wrecks and car fires for 34 years, and I've seen exactly 2 cars catch fire while working an extrication in that entire time. Both were extinguished in seconds, in one case by an EMT in shirt sleeves and in the other by a rescue specialist wearing crash gear. No injuries resulted from either.
The bottom line is that heat stress is the biggest hazard for extrication responders. We need to wear common-sense gear designed to defeat the most common hazards - broken glass and metal edges while reducing heat stress.
You don't see the NBA wearing football gear to play basketball or the NFL wearing basketball clothing.
We need to dress for the sport we're playing, too.