Sunday, July 19

Sunday Fun - Gadgets

I've been seeing some nifty gadgets on some turnout coats lately. They've made it onto the helmets as well, so I wanted to share some of the neater things folks are buying to make their job easier and safer.

First, let's shed some light on things.

It used to be we just carried a flashlight in our pocket, then folks started lashing them to the helmets, but they always seemed to get caught on something bolted to the side.
One of the brothers came in with this item on his helmet the other day:

This particular kind of light I like for 2 reasons. #1, it is low profile and can sit right along the front of my shield. #2 it is LED so it is bright and saves having to recharge it every shift.
This particular model is available from Foxfury Headlamps and will run you about $150 delivered. Not bad considering the size and specs. Maybe Santa will bring ol' Happy a new lamp.

I think we all now have a 90 degree coat lamp, like Ed here, by Pelican, this one from Police and Fire Supply dot com. I like Ed, he holds up well, but if you set your coat down wrong, you hear that "bang" and know the bulb is out. He can also be annoying when you're crawling along a smoke filled hallway and points at your face instead of the floor. I rigged up a little strap to solve this problem, which someone quickly "borrowed." The new strap has MEDIC written all over it and has yet to wander off.

The helmet camera is starting to get popular, have a look at firevideo if you don't believe me. At first I thought it was just another show off type gadget. A co-worker attached one to the bottom of his remote controlled plane and flew it around. If you ever need to get dizzy fast, watch something like that.
But recently I saw this video from the New Chapel Fire Department.

Find more videos like this on
What a great training video. And we don't have to worry about staffing a video unit to respond to fires either. We can hit record on the camera, film the evolution and have a first hand account on conditions inside. I think in the near future these will be linked to the command buggy to give the Chief in the street a better understanding of the fire conditions. Maybe he would have seen fire above this crew in two separate places and recognized an attic fire.
I don't have one and likely won't for awhile. I'd end up recording another burnt popcorn building alarm on the 18th floor and use up all the memory in the stairwell.

Personal escape tools
are all the rage these days, from simply rope bags on belts to elaborate descent systems, there is indeed a variety on the market. My favorite it something that has versatility, that can expand as I need it. I like this product. I wish the video showed a few different things though, watch it first.

First, I'd like to see someone changing from belt to harness with gloves on and kneeling. Second, get that axe out of the passenger compartment. Take the time at the scene to put it in your belt while sizing up the fire. Heck, even get the SCBAs out of the cab. That 46 seconds of size up could make a big difference. And thirdly, I enjoyed the versatility of the strap that allows you to climb that nifty ladder to cut the hole, then you can climb off? Never leave your ladder when cutting the hole. Can't reach? Train more.
But all that aside, what a fantastic product from Fire Innovations. I'd like one.

The last item today isn't really a gadget, but a nice piece of tradition I think everyone should have. A leather shield from Paul Conway or the Fire Store. You can get them from a number of other places around the interwebs, but I like the Conway and Fire Store quality and sometimes the holes come pre-drilled, which is nice when trying to wrangle my own onto an old Cairns 5A with angled bolts. The quality is superb and there is a wide variety of customizable features. I like the gold leafed ones too, but we have a retired guy here who does them custom and by hand.

What will they think of next? Who knows. I know there are a lot of other gadgets out there, these are just some I've seen/have, that I like.

Do you have a gadget you like? Post a link in comments.


FireCritic said...

Great post HM. I like the harness. I might have to check that thing out sometime.

The helmetcam footage is some of the better stuff I have seen in a while.

Big Show said...

the Foxfury is probably one of the best things in my turnout gear. really lights up whats going on in front of me and it great for just about every emergency I face in the fire service, from AFAs, to MVCs, to Fires, plus the flashing red light in the back identifies where i am in the dark and smoke

firefighter / paramedic said...

I like all the gadgets with the exception of the light bar. First, I think it looks retarded. Second, in the smoke there is so much reflected light back at the user, its like driving in the fog with your high beams on. Money would be better spent on any of the other items you have posted. Just my humble opinion