I know that some one out there has been through this debate before. While going a little longer than ten years for turn outs might be doable....twenty year old turn outs are not acceptable. However, I am meeting with friction on the replacement angle. "We're Volunteer Fire Fighters...we don't not have to hold ourselves to the ten year standard."

Of course, they do. But I'm looking for other Officers that have seen this movie before and came up with some magic bullet responses to get new turn outs. Thank you.

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"OK Chief, I'll quit asking for the bunker gear. Can you do me one favor though? I would only ask that you sign a letter saying that I made you aware of this potentially lethal safety situation and it was your decision to not replace the gear. That way the liability is on you and not me if any of our members are injured or killed using substandard, noncompliant gear." hehehehe


Seriously though, I know some manufacturers/dealers offer a lease program. For X amount per month/year per person, they provide 2 sets (gotta have a spare set) of gear, make repairs, clean the gear etc. I've not dealt with these programs and maybe someone else out there has experience but that is an option that's out there.


Good luck!

Does anyone have any more information on this lease program?  This is an interesting option for my department and woud probably be cheaper and a lot more economical for a small rural department like mine with only 10 interior firefighters.  Lease gear for the interiors and have the other stuff for the exteriors/fire police to use.

Any info would be appreciated!


As previously stated, schedule a few sets every year so that you are always buying a small amount of gear. That being said, even if you get a grant for the entire department, buy a few sets every year anyhow. Otherwise, when you get to the 10 year mark, you will be depending on another grant. If you don't get it, you will be in dire straits. Like I have argued with many politicians, fire does not care if you are volunteer or career firefighters. Your gear needs to be correct to protect you and your members.

Good day Chief, Training Officer Huntley here. We went about it in a round about way. NFPA sugest we inspect our gear, so when we inspect we always seem to come up with a couple pairs that are needing replaced it took about 3 years but they are all within date and always clean and in good repair commisioners I dont think realize they have replaced all of the gear. lol just thinking outside the box. It seems to be a bit more afordable this way.

                               D.Huntley II

so what does your county commitioners say if you have them, do you have a city budget

is there any thing that you can do to go for a fema grant,i agree with all the others about the 5

year plans. we are a small 14 member (for right now) dept and we just replaced some of ower

ppe and it's not cheap, we replace at least 3 sets every year, we set it in to the budget every year

this is just ower county budget ower town budget we use for other things like dues and fppa, and

other things, but we just dont rely on these things for money we have other things that we do to put

that money there , like we have oktober fest and some other things. im just trying to help give you some

idea's and some people to talk to, in oder to get some money i know how hard this is i get to look at the

budget when it gets ruff drafted and the again when it's done, and we are looking at less money this

year because of budget cuts so just hang in there it will all work out

  As a small rural Dept. we are in the same boat. My question is does anybody know of a specific incident where outdated gear was the basis of a law suit ? Recently I have been touting NFPA compliance and liability mitigation as ammo to present to our board for new equipment especially turnouts and SCBA's

Thank you.  From what it looks like, these companies just lease to students at fire academies?  I dont see if they lease to fire departments for a one, two or three year lease, but I took the number and will call.  Thanks again!


Please show where it says, "If gear is in good enough condition that it can go longer than ten yrs, ok as long as you keep a watch on it..." 

Is this documented somewhere or is this just your opinion?  If it's just your opinion then you are passing on faulty information to someone who *might* believe you.  I suggest you go and read what Don C. said above, it pretty much clarifies the issue.  Regardless of what you happen to *think*.

Well I can provide you with additional reasoning beyond the "volunteers deserve better" comment.  The standard is set on a 10 year cycle. Most everything in a decade gets redesigned and 10 year old gear compared to new gear do not have the same materials, features and protection. The next thing is the gear regardless of how many times you see a fire, fails the testing process from daily wear and tear. How? If you recycle gear or hand out used gear, improper fit will cause internal damage that will fail some of the NFPA PPE annual testing requirements.  Gear too large or small wear out the the liners by just walking in them. I have seen liners fail the NFPA 1851 Inspection and Testing at 3 years old due to daily use and poor fit. Improper storage or UV ray exposure has also ruined gear that has never seen fire. I have also seen a coat 14 months old just shred in your hands (during annual pull test) from constant exposure to the sun while being stored in an automobile.


But flipside of the coin here - If the 10 year "looks new" never seen fire gear is good enough for your fire chief, then HIS department holds the liability. NFPA is a recommendation to most, sometimes NFPA is law dependant if the state has chosen to adopt certain standards into state law. Some mention OSHA here, well some on FFN are non-osha states.  


On a different note, gear made 20 years ago may not meet the current NFPA standard for TPP and THL. Therefore one firefighter is saying he is burning up and the kid next to him in brand new gear has not reached maximum heat saturation.  This is an important reason why fire departments need to have a gear specification standard so everyone is wearing the same level of protection.  It would be like letting one guy wear a class A hazmat suit and his partner in station wear.


The main reason for replacing turnout gear is simple, (FIREFIGHTER SAFETY) it will fail the 1851 PPE testing requirements, and therefore regardless of its age, it is unsafe to have a member wearing it during fire department operations.  Technically, if you are in a NFPA or IFSTA ProBoard Firefighter 1 class, your gear will need to be inspected before that class starts.  I have sent many students home to find NFPA compliant gear before they are allowed to complete the program.


Actually I'd bet that volunteer gear is in worse shape than our career brothers/sisters.  More than one department I know of has never had their gear tested, recycles gear which sometimes doesnt fit the new occupant right. Add to this that fluorescent lights add to the breakdown of nomex and similar fibers, people store their gear in the trunk of their car thru out the summer.

You can not look at gear and say this is good just on a simple visual inspection, it needs to be professionally inspected to ensure that it is capable of doing its job. Just because I look good in my ems uniform doesn't mean that I'm an emt but I am subjected to continued testing to make sure.  

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