Wildland Firefighting Gear

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As a firefighter, you have to respond to situations that involve extreme conditions. Firefighting gear for wildfires assists in offering safety, making movement easier and giving room to breathe. You must take measures to ensure your gear can meet the demands of every call. There are several precautions you can take that will keep your equipment in the best shape to better protect you. 

Wildland Gear Checklist for Firefighters

Safety is essential to being a firefighter, which is why you need continuous training. These safety rules go beyond tasks to perform, requiring the right wildland fire gear and equipment. Let's explore some of the best gear to have.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Wildland Firefighters

Because of the risks firefighters face, the NFPA Standard 1977 focuses on establishing safety standards for firefighters. These standards relate to fire gear and equipment. Based on the requirements, firefighters should have the proper personal protective equipment (PPE). 

This PPE should meet some specifications, including the following: 

  • Respiratory system protection prevents the inhalation of harmful materials like gases, splashes, splatters and chemicals from entering the body. 
  • Head protection, including headgear and hard hats, offers protection from force from falling objects.
  • Body protection helps prevent body injuries from extreme temperatures, radiation and toxic chemicals. 
  • All gear should be comfortable in different environments and for long periods.
  • Equipment should be made of lightweight material that makes movement easier.  

All the wildlife firefighting gear standards minimize the risks of hazards and the issues they cause. The right gear can help you avoid problems like burns, cuts and heat stress. Flame-resistant materials are essential, as they allow your body to remain cool while absorbing the fire's heat. 

For flame-resistant materials to provide you with the level of protection you need, you must do your part to take care of them. Watch out for any gas or oil stains, as they increase the risk of the clothing catching fire. 

Tools of the Trade: Hand Tools and Power Equipment

As a firefighter, trust in your gear and the training you have received is essential. When choosing the tools for the job, you want to know that they will limit the risk related to your work. Take the time to select the best tools, as they allow you to do your job well. 

The tools that firefighters most use include the following:


Firefighters use axes to cut fire lines and obstacles during operations. Wildland firefighters use single-bit or double-bit axes. Single-bit axes have a cutting edge on one side and a striking plate on the other. With a double-bit ax, both sides will have cutting edges. Your choice depends on how you need to use the gear and types of areas you typically work in.


Shovels are necessary for firefighters, as they are helpful for various situations. Though shovels are for digging, you can also use them to scrape, smooth and cut light fires, making them an essential operation tool. 

Fire Rake

Fire rakes look like garden rakes, but they have a much more dramatic triangular shape, and their tines are broader. The everyday use for these rakes is to collect firebreaks and move them away so they do not continue to spread. Rakes also help loosen surface debris and eliminate hazardous materials that can cause health issues.

Respiratory Protection and Gas Detection

Wildland firefighters are exposed to dangerous chemicals and can run the risk of coming into contact with them. Detecting these chemicals earlier on is vital. It is crucial to have gas detectors as hazardous gases you cannot see may lurk. You will also need respiratory protection to remain safe while working on the job.

Maintaining Your Firefighting Equipment: Best Practices for Readiness During Wildfire Season

Maintaining your gear is vital to receiving the level of protection your equipment was meant to provide. Proper maintenance ensures that the material remains durable and lasts longer. You can follow some wildland firefighting techniques and strategies for better gear maintenance:

Regular Maintenance Schedules

Performing regular maintenance checks is crucial, as it helps remove hazardous contaminants and materials you are exposed to. These hazards can create serious health risks if they are not removed, and cleaning your equipment can help reduce the chances of skin irritation and long-term health problems from inhalation or dermal contact. 

Before you clean your gear, inspect each item for any damage or signs of contamination. If you notice any issues, take action to ensure your safety before they grow into larger problems. You can typically wash most materials in the washing machine with standard laundry detergent, but it depends on any chemicals you've encountered. Be mindful before mixing cleaning agents.

Inspection and Care for Prolonged Gear Life

Detecting damage to gear is essential, as it helps prevent more significant issues from occurring. Inspect for problems like loose stitching. You should also check your zippers, closures and reflective materials for damage. 

Safely storing your equipment can assist in preserving the gear's quality. The best practice is to keep the equipment in a cool, dry place where it doesn't come in contact with direct sunlight, whether inside your vehicle or in a closet. Avoid exposing the material to moisture or heat.

The best practice when caring for your gear is to follow the instructions offered by the manufacturer. They understand how to keep the materials functional, all while guaranteeing longevity. Failing to follow the manufacturer's instructions can reduce the gear's strength and longevity.

Addressing Wear and Tear: Repair or Replace?

Wear and tear will happen regardless of how careful you are with your gear. There are times when you must decide whether to repair or replace it. The answer to that question will depend on how big the issue is. 

When you first notice the issue, your first reaction should always be to address the problem and avoid further damage to the gear. Failing to take immediate action will affect the strength of the equipment. If you need help deciding whether to repair or replace the gear, ask your department's equipment manager about what steps to take next. They should have a protocol in place for navigating equipment damage and issues and can help you source a replacement piece if necessary. 

Trust BGS for Quality Firefighting Gear

Wildfires can get out of hand even with the right level of training. In this situation, you need quality gear to defend you and those you're working to protect.

Bunker Gear Specialists is your trusted source for firefighting gear and maintenance services. Contact us today to receive expert advice tailored to the needs of firefighters and emergency response teams. 

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