Firefighters employ a lot of equipment to keep them safe on the job, but one of the most crucial pieces of protective gear is station wear. Fire-resistant (FR) station wear is just as important for firefighters as any other equipment—allow us to explain why.
What is FR Station Wear?
FR station wear is what it sounds like—the clothing firefighters wear when they’re at the station. They don’t wear the complete assembly of protective gear at all times, so station wear is for the moments between calls and non-fire hazard jobs like medical emergencies, search and rescue, flood rescues, and more.
Station wear can include simple fire-resistant jackets, shirts, and pants. Although firefighters understand the significance of personal protective equipment (PPE), FR station wear has yet to catch on in many departments.
The Importance of FR Station Wear
FR station wear isn’t something that should be worn from time to time; it’s an essential part of PPE that ensures the safety of firefighters. FR station wear protects firefighters from burns and can even extinguish fires on the garments.
Even during typical non-fire hazard work, you never know when fire hazards may suddenly arise. If firefighters don’t consistently wear FR station wear, they can be exposed to danger. Plus, FR station wear provides added layers of burn protection for firefighters, and you can never have too much protection when it comes to fires!
The Dangers of Non-FR Station Wear
Typically, firefighters who don’t wear FR station wear opt for cotton or synthetic fibers for comfort or similar reasons. But both of these materials are insufficient compared to the safety provided by FR station wear.
The most common material firefighters will don for station wear is cotton. While cotton undergarments are acceptable under National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, it’s not nearly as protective as FR garments.
Cotton isn’t excessively flammable, but it can catch fire if exposed to an ignition source, which is the last thing any firefighter needs!
Synthetic fibers can be comfortable and breathable, which is why they’re still used occasionally as station wear. However, synthetic fibers are much more susceptible to melting, dripping, and burning the wearer’s skin, making them dangerous to wear in extreme heat.
Station wear is just as important for firefighters as their heavy-duty PPE, which is why proper FR station wear is an essential component of a firefighter’s equipment.