New twist on 'what's in your pockets?'

One of our regular followers of the blog, an officer with the Prince George’s County Fire Department, was recently notified that he would be receiving a new probationary firefighter to his shift. His new firefighter will be coming in with the minimal, standard issue equipment and no previous experience.

So, if you were this officer, what would you put in the probie’s pockets?




Bill Carey is the daily news and blog manager for Elsevier Public Safety (FireRescue Magazine/Firefighter Nation, JEMS and LawOfficer sites.) Bill also manages the network and is a former volunteer lieutenant with the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George's County, Maryland.

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In my turnouts I carry the following:

Multi-bit screw driver

Gerber tool

Med Scissors

Fiscars cutter

Diagonal cutter (wire cutter)

Channellock 5 function Rescue tool/cable cutter

Forgot my flashlights, I have a Streamlight Survivor on my coat, a UK 4AA on my helmet, another UK 4AA and a cheapy LED flashlight in my coat pocket.  I NEVER want to be without a working flashlight.


On my gut belt in a pouch I carry a Spyderco knife and a ViseGrip multi-tool.


I have been teased about being the walking toolbox bit we have some HUGE buildings in my career FDs area and the idea of walking a couple hundred feet to a couple hundred yards back to the rig for a screwdiveror a pair of pliers just doesn't make sense to me so I take the ribbing.


We have a guy who carries as much stuff. I keep telling him if he falls into a lake he'll drown before we can get to him! LOL

I must admit I've borrowed from him a couple of times.

I stay fairly minimal: webbing, wedge, multitool, spanner wrench, glass punch, flashlights on both coat and pants.

In the probes pockets?  This is an interesting twist to a well visited topic! LOL

Lots of tissues so they can wipe their noses.

A good firefighter quick-reference guide.

Chief Brunicinis list of rules for probes.

A good self rescue system.

Everything else they need they get from officers, senior firefighters or the truck.

Moose I have to disagree.  Even if you don't carry a single other thing EVERY firefighter MUST carry a wire cutter, some kind of multi-material snip and a knife.  WHY?  So if they become entangled they hae a fighting chance of getting free.


I carry a good assortment in my pockets and on my GutBelt and I have used everything I carry at one time or another.  Again, to me it makes no sense to have to walk a couple hundred feet or yards back to the rig for a simple screwdriver or pliers.

One thing I found I carry in my coat pocket is a crate tool. It has a two side hammer head and the handle has a pry bar end and a nail puller in the middle of the handle. Its small enough to fit in the pocket.

I also carry a folding knife, mulitable head screw driver and a nylon chothes line with snap hooks on both ends.

20 ft webbing and caribeener 

flip tip screw driver

good quality multi tool

lineman's pliers

small cresent wrench

good quality knife

one of those no battery flashlights (lights on outside of jacket and helmet dont count for this one)

just enough tools to get you out of small problems but not enough to make you sound like one of king arthur's table mates as you walk down the hallway looking for the false alarm 

inside pocket of jacket -- spare winter time nothing beats putting on a dry warm nomex when you gotta go back to do overhaul

I was merely having some fun Don, as this topic is discussed in so many ways on so many forums it gets redundant.  I agree with you.  I have a gerber, a mini halligan (about 12"), shove knife, 3 different styles of folding spanner wrenches with window punches and pry-bars and gas shut-offs, wood chocks, small pieces of prussik rope for utility use one tied in a prussik loop, a firefighter knife with seat belt cutter and window punch and O2 wrench, a small pouch on my pants suspenders with 2 pair of medical gloves, rescue goggles, my personal rescue rope with large "D" ring biner, spanner belt with tool ring for axe, gloves, hand warmer pouches, hood, 2 small flashlights.

I feel that too much attached to the outside is a danger as well, like the belts and lights and ropes, too much to get snagged on stuff and become a hazard.

Those Gut Belts, are they good?  Functional and easy to use?  I was looking into one but due to lack of funds I got myself one of those spanner belts just to use as emergency drag device, and to hold my tools.  Are they rated for rapelling? Thanks!

You sound like me, a walking tool box!!  LOL

We use the GutBelt in combination with our Personal Escape System.  So yes, we use it for bailing out of windows.  I believe the new NFPA Standard calls for the escape belt to be made of a fire resistive material.  The older ones are not fire resistive.

Which standard was that again?  I think we made a mistake in my dept, I dont think we got harnesses or belts, just the rope, hooks, and biners.  Are we required to have a harness or some type of belt, I forgot?  We were just going to do the wrap.

Yes, I am a walking tool box too!  I used to have more but I learned whats important and whats not.  My knife also has the slotted screwdriver tip so I can pop trunks and what not as well.

I remember when members of the dept carried rope hose tools in their coat pockets. It had a hook on one end and a ring on the other. They would put the hook in one pocket and stretch the rope across the back of their coat and place the ring in the other pocket. It was use in different ways when needed.

Right coat pocket: Folding spanner wrench with gas-shutoff, and my right firefighting glove.

Left coat pocket: multi-tool, aa maglight, left firefighting glove.

Inside pocket: carbonfiber hood.

Radio pocket on coat: well that is self explanatory.

Hook on right chest: 90 degree streamlight.

Right pants pocket: linesman pliers, Back up right hand glove.

Left pants pocket: back up left hand glove.

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