Stomping Out Fires II: All About the Gear

I did some laundry at the OCFD #4 firehouse recently.

Yuck!

Yuck! This calls for the extra rinse cycle!

Doing laundry at the firehouse requires planning and some luck. You see, we each have two sets of gear- our “wildland” or “grass” gear and our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that we wear most of the time- including some grass fires because there may be a building involved. Here in my neck of the woods, or prairie, that building is likely to be a barn filled with hay.

You have to check the weather, wait for rain, “call” the washer and drier, and literally hope that nothing burns while your gear is in the wash or drying. It is both illegal and imprudent to fight a structure fire in grass gear. We do not have spare sets of either kind of gear at OCFD #4.

I joined OCFD #4 right before pasture burning season. The chief wasted no time in sending one of the cadets up into the attic to fetch the boxes of PPE. We played dress up until I was all kitted out with the basics, including a pair of boots.

You can just see the tops of my boots sticking out of my pants. In the station or on the truck, our gear is always ready!

You can just see the tops of my boots sticking out of my pants. In the station or on the truck, our gear is always ready!

Step in. Pull up. Strap in!

Step in. Pull up. Strap in!

Back to laundry… I went through nearly the entire pasture burning season in a set of inherited PPE which, although cleaned before going in the attic, was still quite… aromatic. No fabric softener for this stuff. In fact, we do not put them in the drier at all. By the time the weather and the wheel of fire fate cooperated, my PPE was beyond stinky.

We had just finished a day of training. Here are some pictures of how we spent that Saturday.

The Planning Session Our Safety Officer

The Planning Session
Our Safety Officer

What really happened.

I learned how to use the nozzle’s shower, or spray, setting to create a space in which you can breathe- and withstand the heat.

The back edge of the field. Working with the wind.

The back edge of the field. Working with the wind.

These guys are not panicking. They are taking a much-needed break. Those helmets are heavy!

IMG_8528And this guy… Go Navy! Every sailor is a firefighter!

Modeling his new grass gear.

Modeling his new grass gear.

What I did.

Let's get this done! Put the wet stuff on the hot stuff. Over there!

Let’s get this done! Put the wet stuff on the hot stuff. Over there!

And yes, I stomped out a few things.

Story of my life.

Story of my life.

 

 

 

Now that you know how my gear (and I) got so smelly, shall we return to the laundry. Again?

 

 

 

 

I know I’m repeating myself, butlb93nOne must disassemble the stuff first!

IMG_8577

You have to remove the lining. The snaps were attached by superhuman trolls.

You have to remove the lining. The snaps were attached by superhuman trolls.

I think we’re back to where we started, so let’s fast forward to the point where the PPE is as clean as it is going to get and drying in the sunshine.

!IMG_8590By the time you’re done, you wish you had one of these because you still have to put it all back together again.

It survived the training exercise- empty, of course.

It survived the training exercise- empty, of course.