Interesting Pieces of Equipment Wildland Firefighters Use
For wildland firefighters to be successful, they must be skilled and knowledgeable about the situations they face. They also need high-quality equipment. Stopping the spread of fire and staying safe are tall orders, but it’s possible with their interesting pieces of equipment. Some help keep them safe, while firefighters use other equipment more for putting out fires and stopping them from spreading any further.
Depending on the kind of wildland a fire is in, firefighters could encounter little to no trees or an entire forest. Trees and other debris can quickly get in the way of where they need to go, but they can also add fuel to the fire, helping it spread. Chainsaws are important to wildland firefighters’ arsenals. They are light enough to carry for miles but heavy-duty to cut down trees that are four feet wide. In addition to carrying these chainsaws, the firefighters bring along small fuel bottles and oil to ensure the chainsaw never stops running when needed.
In emergency situations where a wildland firefighter is stuck and can’t return to their vehicle, they can’t just sit around unprotected. Thankfully, they can use fire shelters. Fire shelters are the last lines of defense against flames. Firefighters can open them up and hop in quickly—about 25 seconds! These specialized tents prevent flames and hot, toxic gases from reaching a firefighter. It’s not a comfortable place to be in, but all wildland firefighters are ready to deploy their fire shelters in an emergency to give themselves the best odds for survival.
Water and Hydration
Firefighters also need something that will help them stay alert on the job: water. Doing any kind of hard labor requires the worker to hydrate constantly. That takes on a new meaning as a firefighter. They’re constantly sweating from hauling lots of gear and losing water from their bodies because they’re in 100-plus-degree conditions surrounded by incredibly hot flames. Rehydrating is important, and so is carrying a sports drink like Gatorade to replenish electrolytes.
Wildland firefighters use a lot of interesting equipment to do their jobs and spend a lot of time training and maintaining equipment. A malfunctioning chainsaw, torn fire shelter, or ill-fitting piece of clothing will only get in the way of their job, so the first step to being safe on the job is guaranteeing all equipment is in good condition. It’s a tough job, but firefighters can get the job done when they prioritize these safety measures.