Thanks to generous support from our community, including donations and visitors to our breakfasts, active members of the Manchester Fire Department have all been issued new high visibility rain gear.
In the past, firefighters were often caught outdoors in the worst weather mother nature could provide while wearing full turnout pants and jackets. While turnout gear may seem appropriate, and often is the standard, there are many reasons why it’s not the preferred uniform for inclement weather.
- Is heavy and bulky. Those heavy layers are important for protection from heat, but they don’t allow a firefighter to move around freely while not performing hazardous tasks.
- Does not “breath”. Turnouts do have multiple layers, designed to keep us dry, but those layers can actually hold water instead of repelling it. Wet turnout gear is dangerous for firefighters who might get called to a fire. Trapped moisture can quickly turn to steam, causing burns. Our new rain gear is a breathable material that will help us stay cool and dry from the inside out.
- Is not “high-viz”. Even though our gear has reflective stripes, they are not enough to meet visibility standards. The new rain gear meets all current visibility standards to help keep us safe when working in roadways.
While it’s unfortunate that the order we placed arrived the day after crews spent time working in the rain and darkness, we a grateful to the community for supporting us and enabling us to be better prepared for situations that come in the future.