By FD Hacks Staff
Have you ever been to a firefighter trade show or exposition? If so, you know firefighters love tools and gadgets. We like to be prepared for every situation you can imagine, and then the ones that you’ve never thought of. This has merit, as we are called to complete an ever-growing and diverse set tasks, often with little certainty of the situation we’re heading into.
Unfortunately, our gear pant pockets become the dumping ground for such tools. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen firefighters digging and searching through their gear pant pockets to pull out the right tool. Their pant pockets are loaded with webbing, a rescue wrench, wire cutters, a tactical rescue knife, two flashlights, 17 wedges, firefighting gloves, extrication gloves, EMS gloves, traffic gloves….ok you get the point. When it comes time to actually work, their stuffed pants are uncomfortable and impede their ability to crawl during fire extinguishment or search and rescue operations.
It is much more effective to keep less equipment in your pant pockets.
Use your jacket pockets and spread things out if you need a place to store tools.
Assign a purpose to each pocket so you won’t have to remember where every single item is, but rather where to go to find each object based on task at hand.
For example, put your flashlight in your chest pocket, EMS equipment in your right front, extrication/rescue tools in your left front, etc. Need the window punch you carry? Go to your left front pocket.
What About My Pants?
As for your gear pant pockets, I recommend just webbing and firefighting gloves. I put my left hand glove in my left leg pocket and my right hand glove in my right leg pocket. There is no extra thinking involved. It is a great storage spot because the gloves come out when the gear goes on, increasing range of motion and comfort for work.
There is no right way to store your small tools, webbing, and gadgets in your gear, but there is definitely a wrong way. Don’t pack pant pockets. Refrain from frequently changing storage locations. Keep it simple, organized, and consistent.
Disclaimer: You must always consider your own safety and fire department policies and procedures.