Firefighting Uniform and Equipment

Firefighting Uniform and Equipment

As well as the obvious dangers of heat, firefighters are exposed to toxic fumes, sharp objects, uneven ground, slippery surfaces, biological fluids, spilled chemicals, and electricity. Because of this firefighting uniforms need to provide the best protection possible for our firefighters. Firefighting ensembles are known as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and typically consist of the following items:

The tunic

A firefighter’s tunic is made from fire-resistant, synthetic fabric which retains its structural strength after fire exposure, and resists cuts and tears. It provides a good level of protection without exacerbating the metabolic heat stress of the firefighter. It is designed to enable good flexibility and the collar has a long zip to ensure complete closure of the jacket to the neck. It provides a high level of thermal resistance protection without being overly heavy to wear.

Flash hoods

The protective hood or flash hood is a one-piece garment that provides extra protection to the head and neck during structural firefighting.


Firefighting boots are designed to provide superior safety and comfort to the wearer. They have a dual-density cushioned rubber sole which reduces the boot weight and provides orthotic superiority, greater ankle support, and reduces skeletal impact-related injuries. Additionally, the boot is fire retardant and resistant to water penetration. A full interior synthetic fire retardant liner provides increased wearer comfort, by allowing better foot breathability and increased thermal and radiant heat protection.


International trends in firefighting helmets change almost every five years. Helmets are designed to be durable, long-lasting, impact-absorbent, protective, and as lightweight as possible. The colour of the helmet is different depending on the rank of the firefighter. Most firefighters have yellow helmets, while the commissioners are black.


Firefighters have different types of gloves for protection against the variety of hazards that may be experienced in their duties. For example, there are surgical gloves for protection from biological hazards (e.g. body fluids), chemical-resistant gloves, general-purpose gloves, and thermal-resistant gloves for general firefighting. There is no single glove that can provide adequate protection from all risks. Training, experience, and supervision are needed to ensure the correct glove is being worn.

Breathing apparatus

Breathing apparatus is needed by firefighters when carrying out interior offensive structural firefighting or in other areas where they may be exposed to high temperatures, oxygen deficiency, toxic substances, smoke concentration, dust, heat radiation, or burning embers. Breathing apparatus is worn for the respiratory safety of firefighters. They supply the wearer with air from a cylinder.

Wet weather clothing

Wet weather gear is often needed for hazardous materials and rescue incidents in bad weather, as well as when assistance is provided to the State Emergency Service during a storm or flood. Firefighters have a multipurpose jacket for use in a variety of operational areas, with a high degree of protection from the elements and comfort from climatic extremes.

Cold and extreme climate clothing

Firefighters who work in Alpine areas such as the Snowy Mountains require clothing more suitable to their environment. To meet these extremely cold conditions firefighters have additional clothing items which provide thermal comfort including heavyweight socks, longer and substantially warmer coats, heavier-weight pullovers, and in some circumstances, fur-lined caps. Firefighters who actually work in the snowfields also have snow gloves and fully lined heavy-weight raincoats and over trousers.

Bushfire jacket

The bushfire jacket is designed primarily for bushfire-fighting applications. The jacket is lightweight, and comfortable and affords the wearer moderate levels of both radiant and thermal protection while minimising the possibility of heat stress.

High-visibility safety vests

From time to time firefighters are required to operate on or near roadways or in areas where they need to be clearly visible. For these situations, firefighters wear a lime yellow vest with silver reflective tape. The vest ensures that personnel in a non-firefighting situation can be adequately seen by passing motorists. These are not used in firefighting operations.


Overtrousers provide firefighters with increased protection and, as the term implies, are worn over another pair of trousers. Overtrousers are made of synthetic fabric with high-temperature resistance and good thermal stability. They fit very loosely to allow air to circulate between the two layers of garments. The cushion of air also enhances thermal protection.

Invuyani Safety is a supplier of fire protective clothing and firefighting equipment like hoses and portable fire pumps to the fire industry. Our range of personal protection products includes hand protection i.e. barrier creams and hand cleaners. And for people that work at heights, Invuyani Safety supplies a range of fall arrest equipment. Our gas monitors are imported from BW Technologies in Canada, one of the leading manufacturers of both fixed and portable gas monitors.

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