Haven't posted in a while so I hope this hasn't been brought up already. This is really a question for volunteer firefighters. 

How do you handle new firefighters and the gear situation. I understand not wanting to shell out $1500 plus every time a new person joins. So do they get hand-me-downs until they reach a certain training or membership level or do you fact purchase new gear for new members?

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After the 3 month probation period we fit new members in hand me downs. They will not get new gear until they prove themselves to be valuable. Also new members usually wear salad bowl type helmets as opposed to more traditional styles that our full members wear. The salad bowl is a dead giveaway that the FF is not fully trained :)

We give out hand me downs unless we don't have any that fit. ONLY then do we shell out the cash for new ones and we buy from a local dealer off the rack.

We did have a member point out that some hand me downs are in rough shape and out of date (just to get new gear) but we tell them "if you wear out what we give you {by running calls}..."we'll get you some new stuff"

I do believe that firefighter safety does have to come first but as others have observed, if we bought new gear for every vollie we had come through the door we would be in money trouble pretty quick along with the fact that many in my county are simply serving their time in a volie department until they get into a paid job which means we'd have a lot of gear on the racks when they leave

We operate nine (9) pieces of apparatus out of two stations.  Fully trained Firefighters are expected to have completed all Pa. training for Firefighter I.  Because a firefighter might be assigned to operate on any one of the nine apparatus, we have instituted an in-house training program where the Lt. or Station Capt. must sign-off on each apparatus.  This is generally completed in 6 to 9 months, and usually before the state training has been completed.  During this time, the "Probationary" firefighter is outfitted with hand-me-down turnouts and a blue helmet.  Once all requirements for the in-house training are complete, the "Probie" comes before the board and if all requirements and performance is in order, his final election to the fire department is done at a general meeting.  He is permitted a total of two (2) years to complete the state training for Firefighter I.  Once the final election is complete the firefighter is eligible for a standard new TOG, personal face piece and Helmet.

wow...been away for a while. Made my way back to the sound of crickets and visuals of tumbleweeds... too bad really,

Anyway. Thought I would share again, so here I am....haha

If ours are going through Level one, they will get new gear. Until then, it's hand me downs. Plain n simple.

Happy new year !!! 

First of all every member is protected with PPE that meets or exceeds NFPA standards. So issuing hand me downs or surplus gear to your people would be putting them at risk. Every member of our Dept was issued the same gear. However if we had someone come in and we did not have something to fit them we would order new gear to fit them. We have a responsibility to protect our members with PPE that does just that. Protect them.
I realize that there are Dept that struggle to pay for apparatus let alone PPE. They get by as best they can with surplus or hand me down gear from other agencies but the bottom line is if someone gets hurt they will pay dearly.

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