San Jose Firefighter Update

Knowing how to remove heated turnout gear is essential to limiting injuries

A San Jose firefighter who fell through a roof last week during vertical ventilation operations was injured more severely than initially reported.  Early reports were that the firefighter received burns to his hands and would not require surgery. It was determined late last week that he will require skin grafts to repair the damage to his hands.  The firefighter also sustained burns to his abdomen.


On Sunday two Modesto firefighters (members of The Firefighter’s Burn Institute) who survived of a roof collapse spent time with the injured firefighter at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. The Modesto firefighters were in the area for a presentation for local firefighters on the near-miss that they experienced while conducting top-side ventilation on a single family dwelling in January, 2010.  


In addition to reviewing safety for top-side ventilation, this incident illustrates the importance of knowing how to remove heated turnout gear from an injured firefighter. Remember the following steps when attempting to remove super-heated structural turnout gear from an injured firefighter. This is just one method, the goal is careful removal of the turnout gear without compression or water application:

  1. Loosen SCBA shoulder straps and unbuckle the waist strap.
  2. Open the storm flap and unclasp hooks.
  3. Open the coat, rolling it and the SCBA over the shoulders and off the arms.
  4. Remove gloves and finish removing the coat.
  5. Unclasp the pants, remove the suspenders allowing the pants to fall.
  6. Roll the pants over the boots and assist in removal.
* If the firefighter is unconscious the goal is the same, though it will be more difficult to perform the skill.  Practice methods for both conscious and unconscious firefighters. Be sure to practice this skill while wearing structure gloves as the injured firefighter’s heated gear – especially metal clasps and buckles – can cause burn injuries to those trying to help. 


We wish the injured San Jose firefighter a speedy recovery.


See: Firefighter Burn Injuries – Fire Engineering; April, 2010





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