This has been somehat discussed before in other off-topic threads and video feedback. I have personally suffered through the effects of improper gear removal while wearing overheated PPE.


When you encounter a downed firefighter and remove the victim to the exterior, please consider your actions in regards to "opening up" the firefighter. If you have a subject in super heated PPE, your actions may cause further harm if not handled with a gentle touch while removing the gear.


Another thought for EMS is do not touch the firefighter with latex or nitrile EMS gloves on, these will melt and you will be burned as well.


Take Care and Stay Safe.




Photo Credit: Fire Engineering and Globe Manufacturing Inc.




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Great topic.
I have always told guys that when an inside crew comes out of a burning structure, don't pat them on the back, or touch them in anyway if possible. I have seen many many guys burned. One guy was caught in a flashover, and just luckily had time to bail out a window. When he landed on the ground, the super heated gear, pressing against his body, burned him (in some cases to 2nd degree) in the places where he made contact with the ground. I also learned something the hardway too. While doing live fire training, I took a crew inside, we did our evolution etc. and came out. A short time later, I took another crew in, and suddenly got steam burned.(very slightly tho) Because I was sweating, and never too the time to rehab and remove my coat to dry off, the sweat turned to steam inside and I got a bit warm. Something so simple. That was something I never learned in my days of training.
Your gear can continue to increase in temperature even after moving away from a radiant heat source. So at that point while you might believe you are headed towards prompt relief, in fact the exposure danger may continue to increase before it subsides. This will further agrivate the danger of compression as you aptly pointed out.
I am curious about your incident with the steam burn. What type of under garments were you wearing at the time and what was the burn location.
Andrew. I was just wearing a t shirt underneath. It was a nice fall night, and we were just doing simple evolutions. After the first one, I failed to remove my turnout coat to air out, and dry off a bit. It wasn't too long after that, that the last crew going in, needed a supervisor and so I was the only one available. Without even thinking about it, we went back inside. As the fire increased, I could feel my upper back beginning to get warmer and warmer. I simply kicked the crew out as quick as they could go, and I followed. I think it was a good thing we were just a couple of feet from the door. Any longer inside, it would have certainly been harder on my back lol. Again it was a learning thing, and from that point on, everytime a crew came out, I made sure they removed their coat to air out and dry off before being allowed back inside. Up until that day, we never paid much attention to regular rehab. Guys got tired, or ran out of air, they went out, and were ready to go again quickly. Not anymore. They are taken out for a specific amount of time. Good learning thing though. Glad it was me and not one of my crew members to find out.
thanks for the very informative reply. couple of issues here about keeping dry underneath. first is the steam burn issue, second general comfort, and third I was told by one dept that they had staph infection issues believed to be caused by sweaty undergarments.

So much attention paid to what is worn on the outside but very little attention paid to the inside. A little less glamorous subject perhaps...
I agree with the others, great info and makes for a good coffee table discussion.
Thanks guys. I have had some personal experience with this subject, so it is on my mind when I teach RIT classes. We can always expound on a training subject, especially when we finally get "real world" experiences. Many who have trained in Firefighter Survival and RIT have never been thrusted into the "real victim" scenario. Hopefully our training always gets modified when we see our deficiencies - Hence not hosing down a brother who is steaming or the suggestion for Fire/EMS providers to not wear nitrile EMS gloves for immediate action on a downed firefighter with steaming gear.

Both of those are moth to the candle syndrome.

We should all have discussions with our brothers and sisters on the proper care and handling of a down brother, and concerns with causing further harm/injury to them or ourselves.

But to be honest, the photo material shown was released by Fire Engineering and sponsored by Globe.
FETC, once again a great post! These are the topics/training that we don't here about! We are so focused on other agendas of training, when sometimes all we need to do is think out of the box at times.

Great stuff!!
Can't seem to get a link right to the video, but when you hit the link, you'll be in's training minutes section. Select season 3, and in season 3 select doffing superheated gear.
FETC, This is an awesome training topic. My crew & I have been in this situation on a few occasions. I just recently did a class on this very topic, aimed mostly at the support crew that outside of the structure waiting for us to come out. Unfortunatly, without any training on this, other firefighters wanting to help with getting your gear off don't realize they could do more harm than good. Please,please,please.....train your people in this topic!! Don't let one of your fellow firefighters end up burned because this information wasn't passed on to them. Have them practice it on each other. This is a huge opportunity to help us help each other!
Thanks for the info. This has never come up during any training I have attended and yet som important.
Another example I use when teaching about when not to touch... is when you are in the flashover container, the gear can get super saturated with thermal heat that the slighest touch on a fellow brother will cause an unexpected steam burn from within. Especially if the brother is sweating alot.
Thats why I am in the biz Chief.


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