One of the essential duties of a fire department is to provide and require the proper use of all personal protective equipment. Here is why:

Proper equipment protects firefighters from:

    • Inhaling potentially dangerous smoke, debris, and toxins that could lead to respiratory system issues.
    • Harmful particles and toxins that could penetrate the skin.
    • Head injuries that could lead to further health conditions.

It is also crucial for firefighters to wear the PPE during certain training activities, not just when in the field. Proper use while training protects firefighters from dangers and promotes the appropriate use and knowledge of the products. In addition, consistent use and wearing can help firefighters to understand “ins-and-outs” of the equipment so they can quickly recognize if anything is damaged in the event of an emergency.

Some ways you can promote proper PPE usage:

– Let your members know they must use their SCBA properly every time.

– Conduct equipment inspections routinely. This will help you recognize any equipment that needs to be replaced before it is too late. Ensuring every piece of equipment is in proper condition could save a life.

– Review how to clean, maintain, and store each piece of PPE with all members. PPE that is not cleaned, maintained, and stored correctly could become damaged and cause serious harm, possibly death.

– Finally, encourage each department member to stay up to date with free training and webinars regarding PPE.