Keeping firefighters safe key to suit replacement

Oak Bay firefighter Mike Josephson gets measured up for new turnout gear by manufacturer’s rep Ed Wilding at the fire hall. Wilding was on site getting specs for replacement gear for a handful of Oak Bay firefighters.

Oak Bay firefighter Mike Josephson gets measured up for new turnout gear by manufacturer’s rep Ed Wilding at the fire hall. Wilding was on site getting specs for replacement gear for a handful of Oak Bay firefighters.

In the officers’ room at Oak Bay fire hall, there are no racks full of suits, no mirrors to check the fit and look of a sports jacket or shirt.

Yet Ed Wilding is going about his business as a haberdasher would, wrapping his tape measure around firefighter Mike Josephson’s chest and waist.

Wilding, a manufacturer’s rep for Burnaby-based Associated Fire and Safety, is on site getting specs for replacement turnout suits for a handful of Oak Bay firefighters.

Rob Kivell, acting assistant chief on this day and awaiting his turn to get measured, stressed the importance of properly sized gear.

“Poorly fitted turnout gear can add to fatigue, because if (it’s ill-fitted), you’re fighting it,” he said.

Kivell has been a firefighter for nearly 20 years, including the last 13 in Oak Bay. During his career he’s seen lighter weight materials utilized to help maximize firefighters’ mobility and lessen the fatigue factor.

On the other hand, he says improvements to the equipment can have an adverse effect in that firefighters can sometimes feel safer than they are in a fire situation.

Regardless of advances that offer more protection from heat – suits can sustain exposure to hundreds of degrees – the same principles for safety apply.

Josephson is getting sized up for his second set of turnout gear since he joined the department nine years ago. That’s pretty close to the 10-year hoped-for lifespan of the suits, Kivell noted.

Wilding pointed out a proper fit enhances the chances of achieving that goal. These days, young firefighters tend to be “a little aggressive” with their equipment, he says, and the suits wear out sooner.

Oak Bay fire has 26 sets of turnout gear on hand. For budgetary as well as practical reasons, five sets on average are replaced each year – the current cost is about $1,800 per firefighter.

Full turnout gear includes jackets, pants, balaclavas, gloves and helmets. The suits are made in Toronto and take between six and eight weeks to complete and be shipped back.

Just Posted

An SUV sits where it crashed through the front window of the 2:18 Run store in Fairfield Plaza, after the driver appeared to lose control on Monday afternoon. (Photo by Phil Nicholls)
Driver crashes through front window of Victoria running store in Fairfield

Phil Nicholls of 2:18 Run said crash sounded like an earthquake at first

Processed sewage is still being deposited at the Hartland landfill rather than sent as biosolids to a Richmond cement plant. (Black Press Media file photo)
Biosolids at Hartland still being placed on landfill in Saanich

Richmond cement plant up and running, but CRD end product not suitable for purpose

Seismic upgrading and expansion work at Victoria High School is about a year behind due to pandemic-related factors, the Greater Victoria School District announced. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Victoria High School seismic work, expansion a year behind schedule

Greater Victoria School District now targeting September 2023 for reopening of historic school

Elk Lake Drive area resident Michael Blayney protests a proposed multi-building development for his Royal Oak neighbourhood, outside Saanich municipal hall on Monday (June 14). (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Demonstrators protest 11-storey development on Elk Lake Drive in Saanich

Saanich locals gather at municipal hall to protest development, public hearing goes Tuesday

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is calling on Transport Canada to rescind its ban to Feb. 28, 2022 on cruise ship stops in Canada, to allow planning to begin in advance of a reopening of the cruise industry next year.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority seeks end to federal ban on cruise ship stops in Canada

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO hopes cruises will resume by 2022

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read