Donning and Doffing

Post date: Jun 24, 2014 1:26:07 AM

In a little under 3 weeks I will be doing my practical test for the fire service. This will bring 6 months of (part time) classes, book learning, and numerous practical days in pretty crappy weather (I seem to remember it was snowing when we were doing hydrants and hose streams) to an end.

Most of the skills that we will have to perform on this day will be pretty straightforward, you either know the material or you don't. We have been practising, there should be no surprises. Unfortunately, there is one piece I am fighting with (see title... well, the first word anyway).

Now don't get me wrong, I can put my clothes on just as quick as the next guy (or gal); that's easy! However, I have never had to do this under pressure with someone watching and timing me. So there we have it, I need to be able to put on... sorry, 'Don' my PPE: hood, boots, pants, jacket, mask, helmet, tank, and gloves in less than a minute. It almost sounds easy when I word it like that.

My current time (first day actually timing this) is 1 minute 36 seconds. This is how I have my gear laid out:

and here are the Motions:

01) Put on Nomex hood. I have it tucked into my right boot splayed open. Hop into boots while positioning hood.

02) Once hands are free from hood, set feet firmly in boots and pull up pants.

03) Place suspenders over shoulders and secure Velcro fly and fly clip.

04) Put on jacket and secure 4 clips moving from bottom to top. Seal Velcro flap from top to bottom.

05) Drop too knees in front of tank. Check gauge (2200+- (acceptable ranges) PSI) and verbalize the check.

06) Fully open valve and grab mask (resting on top of tank)

07) Fling mask strap over head and position behind back collar.

08) Place mask on face, tighten straps and pull hood up over mask.

09) Secure Velcro collar!!!! (I missed this three times in a row)

10) Put on helmet and secure strap

11) Throw tank over shoulders and pull arm straps. Secure chest and waist belts

12) Attach regulator to facepiece and take a deep breath!

13) Put on gloves.

So yeah, I need to make up 36 seconds somewhere (If you have tips let me know). Thankfully this isn't a cram; I have 3 weeks to figure things out.The key here may just be practice.