Equipment of fire fighters

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fireman with extended personal protective equipment in Lower Saxony

The equipment used by fire fighters offers them protection against the various dangers of an operation (e.g. breath poisons , high temperatures).


When working for the fire brigade , the emergency services are constantly exposed to high risks. In order to minimize these risks, special protective equipment was introduced in the fire services. The protective equipment should protect against mechanical and thermal effects. The structure and equipment are regulated in the relevant standards ( DIN EN ).

The requirements for protective clothing are specified by the fire brigade accident insurance funds in the respective accident prevention regulations. Furthermore, it was determined by the accident insurance companies when the protective equipment is to be worn.


The protective effect of the individual parts must correspond to the EU standard . The color is not standardized, as is often wrongly assumed. In Germany, protective equipment according to HuPF (manufacturing and testing guidelines for protective clothing for fire fighters) and according to DIN EN 469 is usually worn. The necessity is stipulated in the accident prevention regulations of the fire services. Depending on the department in the fire brigade, there are different regulations regarding the requirements for protective equipment.

In addition to protective equipment, there is also uniform for special occasions . These are only available for the deployment department and for the age and honor department . The uniforms can have other names in other federal states.

Children's fire brigade

There are no legal regulations for the children's fire brigade that prescribe protective equipment. In addition to having fun and games, the children's fire brigade aims to teach the right behavior in dangerous situations without the use of devices, so no protective equipment is required.

Youth fire brigade

Since the use of operational equipment is conveyed and practiced with the youth fire brigade , protective equipment is mandatory here. This must be worn for every training course in which fire brigade items are used.

Personal protective equipment for the youth fire brigade

According to the clothing guidelines of the German Youth Fire Brigade, the uniform of the youth fire brigade in Germany consists of:

  • sturdy shoes
  • Youth fire trousers
  • Youth fire brigade blouson
  • Youth fire helmet with youth fire service symbol
  • cut-resistant plastic gloves.

Additional protective equipment for the youth fire brigade

Many youth fire brigades also procure weatherproof youth fire brigade parkas, safety shoes, safety boots and / or oil rain jackets. The jackets have the basic color blue and orange on the shoulders. They are provided with a reflective strip on the back. The pants are in blue with reflective stripes. The all-weather jacket is blue and orange from chest height. On the back there is a back label attached with Velcro. This is often printed with the name of the respective youth fire brigade.

Operations department

Rescue workers in an industrial fire

The operations department is exposed to the most risks, so most of the equipment is found here. Not all of those mentioned here are available at every fire service. There are differences here depending on the size and dangers in the release area. The fire brigade accident insurance funds, as accident insurance for fire brigade members, have issued with their accident prevention regulations that the equipment must be worn for every use, training and exercise.

Personal protective equipment

Fire fighters protect themselves with their personal protective equipment (PPE) from the external dangers of a deployment site. Personal protective equipment represents the basic protection of every emergency worker. PPE includes:

Fire protection suit (jacket and pants)
The protective suit is made of a fire-retardant material (for example aramid , Kermel or PBI ) and should provide protection against heat radiation and the effects of flames. It is provided with reflective strips and, in some cases, additional fluorescent strips, which differ in height and width, and possibly also in color, depending on the federal state.
Protective suits consist of protective trousers and a protective jacket - but there are also one-piece overalls . However, suits in which the trousers have a lower protection level than the jacket are also worn. When using this variant, normal trousers must be put on under the protective trousers, as the skin could otherwise suffer burns or scalds. However, this variant is noticeably disappearing, at least for those who work under respiratory protection and are directly exposed to the dangers of fire.
According to the standard in Germany, both pants and jackets must have thermal insulation of 40 kW / m² when used in a fire. In the case of very high temperatures, a heat protection suit is also worn. If ABC substances are present , a special protective suit is worn depending on the hazard.
Fire helmet with neck protection
DIN fire helmet F100 from Schuberth with visor and neck protection
A conventional fire helmet is made of aluminum , thermoset , thermoplastic , Kevlar (AFK) or GRP . It is provided with a neck protection (usually made of leather or aramid fiber). In addition, a visor can be installed to protect against splinters, foaming agent spraying on the proportioner or against thermal radiation (mostly using vapor-deposited metals).
The fire helmet is intended to protect the head against falling objects and flying parts and must therefore be worn in accordance with the relevant accident prevention regulations and / or your own risk analysis. Most fire helmets are phosphorescent (luminescent) and have reflective stripes. The phosphorescent coating was introduced in the 1960s at the suggestion of the Frankfurt fire director Ernst Achilles . Depending on the federal state or the fire department, additional reflective unit or function badges are stuck on. B. Mark management rank and / or wearers of breathing apparatus and paramedics . A helmet lamp can also be attached to the helmet to keep your hands free for work. There are also sets for radio devices that can be mounted on the helmet.
The helmet used in Germany after the Second World War is in its basic form an approximation of the military protective helmets of the time (e.g. steel helmet ), while the fire helmets during the war or before were the same helmets as those of the army.

There are now many variants of the shape and protective effect of fire helmets, some with built-in helmet lamps and visors. All newly introduced helmets must comply with DIN EN 443 fire helmets. Further information on the history of the fire helmet can be found in the main article History of fire helmets .

Historically, helmets have evolved from the spiked hood of the Prussian military (leather hat with an upturned sheet metal tip, which is supposed to repel cutting weapons). Later fire helmets sometimes had a comb (also: caterpillar) that ran from top to bottom or a 4 to 6-armed spider with a central high arch to a summit. Both constructions, mostly made of sheet metal and riveted onto the helmet, stiffen the helmet against impacts from above, repel impacts coming from the center to the side and support the breaking of objects falling from above, such as roof tiles or layers of plaster, or at least dampen impacts by indenting of the sheet metal.
Fire brigade protective gloves
Firefighter gloves
A distinction is made between two types of fire protection gloves
  1. Fire-fighting gloves are made of a fireproof material textile or leather with an inner layer made of textile (for example Nomex, cowhide, elk leather) and are often provided with light strips.
  2. Gloves for technical assistance (THL gloves) , which have a higher cut resistance, are mainly worn for rescue missions, exercises and fire operations, but not by respiratory equipment wearers during internal attacks.
Fire fighting gloves should only be used for this activity. This minimizes the risk of injury from damaged gloves. In addition, the modern gloves made of textile have the same properties as the protective clothing (jacket, pants) of the emergency services.

The glove for technical assistance, on the other hand, is designed for more tactile feel and cut protection, it offers little or no thermal protection.

For operations where you could come into contact with blood, e.g. B. when rescuing people, a disposable glove (latex glove) is often also worn under the fire brigade gloves to avoid infections .
Fire protection footwear
Fire fighting boot cross section
Fire brigade lace-up boots
The fire brigade protective footwear consists of boots (mostly leather), with a particularly strong profile, which are provided with steel caps and oil-resistant, penetration-proof and non-slip soles. Firefighting boots are also tested for electrical permeability in addition to many other extensive tests. They must have at least an electrical resistance of 1,000 ohms . Fire brigade protective footwear must comply with DIN EN 15090 from October 2007. Fabrics with EN 20345: 2004 can still be worn. Chemical-resistant plastic boots, which are also provided with steel caps and a penetration-proof sole, are worn in the ABC or hazardous material units.
There are both slip-on boots ("Knobelbecher") and lace-up boots in the fire service; the latter are closed with a zipper . The fire brigade boots are intended to protect the fire brigade members from the effects of fire, slipping, twisting, moisture and falling parts and must also be worn during every use. In addition to boots that only meet the basic requirements, many manufacturers equip their more expensive boots with membranes (e.g. Gore-Tex , Sympatex , or Firetex ) that ensure better moisture protection and make the boots breathable. Some boots also have Kevlar inserts, which provide limited cut protection against chainsaws.
The protective trousers are worn over the boots so that nothing can fall into the boots from above (e.g. embers ) or flow (chemicals, etc.).

Special personal protective equipment

In addition to personal protective equipment, there is also special personal protective equipment for the emergency services in the fire services for particular hazards. This equipment is tailored to the type and number of special hazards.

Fire brigade belt with hatchet, fire brigade gloves and accessories

These pieces of equipment can e.g. B .:

  • Fire brigade protective clothing against increased thermal effects, if the actual fire brigade clothing does not correspond to the approvals for internal attacks.
This means the fire brigade overpants and jackets for internal attacks, but not the heat protective clothing
  • Fire brigade belt (formerly fire brigade safety belt , formerly hook belt or wide belt )
It has an eyelet and a snap hook , which enable you to hold and rescue yourself from heights using a fire brigade rope, and is now only made from textile belt materials - previously also from leather. He is, for example, during a firefighting carried in a multi-storey building to be at a possibly suddenly cut off escape to rappel by firefighters leash and harness. Modern protective jackets optionally have an integrated belt system (e.g. BIG FIRELINER from Consultiv), if these are used there is no need to wear a fire brigade belt.
Various items as additional equipment for an attack force
The fire ax is an ax that is designed for the special requirements of the fire service. It has both the conventional wide wedge for cutting and chopping wood, and a narrow, pointed hoe on the opposite side. This hoe is used to smash doors or as a tear hook . See also emergency door opening .
  • Fire lines
  • Tape sling . Endlessly sewn together loop made of textile tape material (mostly synthetic, approx. 20 mm wide) for safe opening of doors, keeping contact in the group, recovery, self-belaying and various uses that are known from the field of "technical climbing". Belt slings for these uses are usually approx. 180 cm long and ideally meet the requirements for climbing purposes (breaking strength, safety of the seams, etc.)
  • Respirator (with appropriate respirator , also with dead man's device )
  • Flame protection hood
The flame protection hood consists of 1 to 3 layers of fabric. It is pulled over the head and should protect all parts of the body not yet protected by a helmet and protective suit such as ears, neck and hair from the effects of flames and heat. The most common materials are Nomex or Kevlar .
When deployed in traffic areas, the UVV fire brigade (GUV-V C53, § 17 (3)) demands that fire brigade members be protected by means of warning and blocking measures. This is achieved, among other things, by wearing suitable personal protective equipment.
The most common safety vests are those that correspond to EN 471 class 2. But there are also special fire brigade protective suits that meet this requirement. In some federal states, the accident insurance companies see the wearing of fire brigade protective clothing according to HuPF as sufficient (approximate effect).
In addition to safety vests, identification vests are also worn in the fire service. These serve to identify functionaries at the place of operation (e.g. operations manager , specialist advisors, respiratory protection monitoring, group and platoon leaders ). Identification vests can in some cases meet the requirements for safety vests according to EN 471 class 2, but this does not apply to all identification vests. Among other things, if the vest is not sufficiently reflective.
The meaning of the individual identification vests are regulated at the state level. In addition to identification vests, colored shoulders are also used in some places.

Depending on the type of use, the following protective equipment / safety equipment can also be used:

Age and honor department

Members of the age and honor department do not take part in the training and emergency service and therefore no protective equipment is required. They wear the fire service uniform of the federal state, with the last rank they have achieved in the operations department.

The department can also consist of other names, such as: B .:

  • in Hesse it is called the Honorary and Age Department according to § 10 of the Hessian Fire and Disaster Protection Act .


Work clothing green, blue or sand yellow

Office clothing green (Austria)

For training courses, youth work and other events, work clothing is worn in green, sand yellow or blue. It has no protective function and must not be worn during operations. This consists of trousers, a blouse with shoulder clips, a service shirt with shoulder clips and a service cap and must be worn with or without a tie, black socks and black shoes. You can also wear blue T-shirts and, in winter, matching sweaters or vests. Instead of the service cap, uniform black baseball caps with inscriptions are increasingly being worn. This uniform can also have other names in other federal states.

Office clothing brown

Office clothing Braun (Austria)

The service clothing I brown or blue (Carinthia) is worn for festive events such as Floriani fairs, general meetings, visits, but also for conferences and funerals. This consists of a white service shirt with shoulder clips, a brown / blue uniform skirt with ranks sewn on, black trousers with red lines on the sides and a brown / blue service cap and must be worn in black shoes with black socks. All badges at the highest level (e.g. FLA, FuLA, WLA, service medal, honors) are also attached to the uniform skirt.

During parades or other marches in formation, this uniform is sometimes worn with the old spider helmet and waist belt (belt over the blouse). However, this way of wearing is especially less where the new fire helmet has already established itself.



In Switzerland, due to the federal structure of the fire brigade, both protective clothing and the actual uniform are not uniformly regulated. In many places, in addition to protective clothing, there is a blue and yellow work uniform (consisting of dungarees or trousers and a smock), which is used on the one hand for activities that do not require wearing protective clothing, and on the other hand can also be worn on formal occasions . A special uniform for formal occasions is the exception. The work uniform is usually provided with a name tag of the wearer and their rank and usually contains a reference to the fire service organization in the form of a badge.

In the canton of Zurich, the building insurance of the canton of Zurich has contributed to a certain standardization of uniforms. The normal personal equipment of a firefighter consists of three pieces of clothing, namely the fire protection jacket, the work uniform and the light work clothing. While the fire protection jacket and light work clothing are kept in red for the team, officers wear both fire protection jackets and light work clothing in yellow for better visibility. With the exception of the badge for the rank, there is usually no distinction between crew and officers for the work uniform.


Furthermore, individual fire service organizations have a large number of specific clothing. For example, there are rain clothes or work overalls that were handed in personally.

Historic fire protection suit


At the stand of an alarm vehicle (1906)

The German fire service suit has a long history. In the early days of organized fire fighting, fire fighters only had a uniform , comparable to today's uniform. In the German Empire, the uniform of the fire brigade was the same as that of the army. During the time of National Socialism, the fire brigade uniform was replaced by the uniform of the fire police.

After the war, fire extinguishing became a matter for the federal states, and service suits and possibly separate protective clothing also developed differently depending on the federal state. In Bavaria, for example, the service suit consisted of a blue, high-necked jacket and black mixed wool trousers that were flame-proof. If only this set was worn in action, leather boots (also known as "slip boots") with a steel toe cap and an aluminum plate in the soles, as well as a pair of simple leather gloves and the German DIN helmet with neck leather were added. In Bavaria, after the Second World War, the introduction of separate protective clothing optimized for use in fire began. The Bavarian protective suit was partly sewn from disused tarpaulin sheets of the occupying powers and was in use until it was replaced by the improved Bayern 2 in the 1970s.

In some fire brigades, however, for a long time only the service suit that was also used in action was kept in store. At the latest with the transition from outside to more and more frequent inside attacks with respiratory protection and the associated dangers of exposure to flames in the 1970s and 1980s, however, the need for specially designed fire brigade protective clothing was recognized.

The complete separation between the representative service suit and the operational clothing, which is primarily designed to provide protection, was completed at the end of the 1980s with the appearance of the first flame- resistant trousers and coats. Additional items of equipment made from Nomex, such as flame protection hoods, completed the personal equipment of the fire service provider in the 1990s.

The shape of the service suit (sometimes also called dress uniform) has changed little since the complete separation between service suit and protective clothing. Where available, it was not possible to close the jacket at the top. The appearance of the service suit is regulated by the respective federal state.


In Austria , many older combat trousers and blouses with a protective effect of 20 kW / m² are still used. Two different uniforms are available for fire and technical use. If, however, protective clothing with a protective effect of 20 kW / m² is worn in the event of a fire, additional protective equipment is required.

Until a few years ago the color of the operational clothing was uniformly green with blue or orange protective jackets in some federal states, but in some federal states the color of all operational clothing has been changed to blue or sand yellow, although old clothing can be worn out. The changeover will take a few more years, especially for smaller fire departments. Regardless of this, red protective suits are also used for safety reasons, especially by fire brigades that drive on highways . This is not welcomed by the state fire brigade associations , but they cannot prohibit it as the individual fire brigade is responsible for it.

In many places in Austria the so-called spider helmets of the Viennese shape are still used. These are slowly being replaced by newer models, depending on the financial capabilities of the individual fire departments.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. (PDF)
  2. ( Memento from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF).
  3. Article on PSA youth fire brigade
  4. Hessian Fire and Disaster Protection Act (HBKG)
  5. ( page no longer available , search in web archives: GVZ directive regarding personal protective equipment )@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /