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CFD Gets Outfit Upgrade

By Hanna Aronovich in News on Jul 25, 2006 5:57PM

On Friday, the Tribune reported about 5,000 Chicago firefighters would receive new protective gear to replace decades-old equipment. Already, other major cities have upgraded to the higher-tech gear, and Chicagoist thinks it's about time we join them. lasallefire.jpg

The new fire suits, called bunker gear, cover the entire body. Flexible boots, overall-style pants and a coat deliver greater protection. Currently, firefighters wear a three-quarters-length coat over rubber boots, leaving the thighs exposed.

Although the new gear is more protective, it is a hotter outfit, and will require firefighters to be relieved with replacements more frequently, especially when battling a big blaze. More frequent replacements means the fire department will need to upstaff.

The gear will be provided by Ohio-based Lion Apparel Inc. The $10 million contract with the company also includes cleaning, inspecting and maintaining the suits. Already, Houston and Seattle have contracts with Lion Apparel. firetruck.jpg

The new gear is expected to arrive by the fall.

Chicago is the last major U.S. city to receive new protective gear, and we think that's inexcusable, especially given the incredible work the fire department does. In January last year, the city announced fire-related deaths in 2004 were at an all-time low, 35.

To the men and women on the front lines, saving lives, safer protective gear seems to be the minimum the city can do.

Images via Chicago Fire Department.