Lakeland Industries Fire Gear Logo with Emblem

5 Critical Flaws In Your Firefighter Turnout Gear

Turnout gear by Lakeland on a red background - shown from left to right - Stealth, B2, B1, A10

As a firefighter, there are certain tasks you must complete every time you put on your gear, strap on your SBCA and arrive at the scene of an emergency. You understand the importance of saving time, even just seconds, as you complete these necessary tasks, but does your turnout gear offer you the flexibility and maneuverability to perform at your best?

What flaws in your turnout gear design slow you down and reduce your efficiency?

Design features that improve performance, reduce time to gear up and increase your efficiency should naturally be included in your turnout gear, but this is not always the case.

Take a look at the top 5 critical flaws of firefighter turnout gear. How does your gear stack up?

Stealth - One of the lightest turnout gear sets with some of the best protections displayed in a thumbnail view1. It’s Not Lightweight Turnout Gear

Firefighters are required to gear up for every emergency, which often entails adding 60 or more pounds in the form of turnout gear, SBCA, boots, a mask and vest. Consider the benefits of selecting turnout gear designed to be more than 10 pounds lighter than traditionally designed gear Lightweight turnout gear can be the difference between finesse and fatigue in the line of duty.

For non-fire emergencies, also consider the benefits of dual certified and extrication gear.

Visible Turnout Gear - Tape clearly showing visibility on sleeves and chest of Lakeland Turnout Gear2. It Doesn’t Offer High Visibility and High Performance Features

Illustration of LazerMax piping

When seconds are critical, high-performance design and small details become the difference between success and failure. Bunker gear that offers high visibility reflective seams to keep firefighters visible in dark conditions, for example, is an absolute must.

Moreover, small design features, like a universal flashlight holder, adds both versatility and functionality for firefighters. If a firefighter is tasked with crawling in tight spaces, a flashlight can illuminate the way and high visibility seams will ensure they are always seen.

Adding LazerMax™ Reflective Piping will give your gear additional safety, and is ideal for any low light situations.

Stealth Turnout Coat cinched at waist3. It Doesn’t Have A Cinching Lower Back

Required for many aspects of the job, an SBCA can make a loose turnout jacket feel bulky and bunched, reducing movement and function. Improve comfort and efficiency with a drawstring cinch in the lower back.

This unique design feature included in premium turnout gear allows for extra material to gather in the back of the jacket, behind the SBCA, leaving the front of the jacket straight for increased movement. The best turnout gear considers comfort, safety and functional elements in the design.

What other qualities does the best turnout gear share? Take a look at optimal turnout gear construction now.

Closeup of shoulders on the Stealth Turnout gear by lakeland industries4. Inflexible Shoulder and Knee Construction

A poorly constructed jacket sleeve can be a safety and time issue in the line of duty. If sleeve design prevents a firefighter from lifting their arms, or if raising their arms causes the jacket to pull up, this can cause problems at the scene of an emergency.

A properly constructed jacket shoulder should include both back pleats and underarm gussets to allow for maximum movement. In addition, the shoulder should be set into the coat, with the shoulder seam located close to the neck seam.

A correctly placed shoulder seam, near the neck, will allow a firefighter to lift and extend their arms with freedom and without causing their coats to rise or pull up.

The same can be said about knee construction. Traditional turnout gear includes a static knee construction, with a fully extended pleat below the knee. Not only does the clumsy design and extra material cause knee knocking, before a firefighter can climb stairs or drag a hose, they’ll be required to waste precious time hoisting up their pants. Instead, opt for a turnout pant designed to optimize performance on the job.

A turnout pant designed with a dynamic knee expansion pleat located above each knee, as opposed to below the knee, allows for improved maneuverability, movement and flexibility.

In addition, a turnout pant that offers extra protection when using the side of your knees to push offš or feel your way through a dark environment is an added bonus. The best bunker gear is designed to improve agility and movement speed to help firefighters perform at their very best.

Stealth turnout pants, suspenders close up5. Suspenders That Don’t Stay Put

Freedom to move with ease is one of the essential requirements of turnout gear, but when movement causes suspenders to slip off the shoulder, it can be both distracting and dangerous. A suspender system that is designed to move and that’s constructed in a way to make adjustments simple, is ideal. Suspenders certainly won’t save a life in an emergency, but poorly constructed suspenders can distract and disrupt a firefighter in moments when focus and attention are essential.

How does your firefighter turnout gear stack up?

Lakeland Stealth™ Turnout Gear is the ultimate in fire protection technology. Advanced ergonomics combined with cutting edge materials give you superior protection with maximum freedom of movement. Learn more about Lakeland Stealth and #GearUp with Lakeland.

Looking for more firefighter information? Take a look at our firefighter fitness guide to get the latest information on how to upgrade your firefighter fitness routine.

Continue Reading

  • Wildland Firefighting
  • Firefighter Health & Wellness
  • Structural Firefighting

If you don't like forms, you can call us
and talk to a real person.

Jared Johnson carrying hose in firefighter challenge
“I chose Lakeland not only because their gear spec is one of the most custom, athletic fit, and mobile options on the market today, but because the standard they set internally to ensure firefighters have the best and safest gear options available is at their highest level of concern.”

Jared Johnson, 3rd Generation Firefighter
Team ATX | the Austin Fire Department

We'd like to know you better so we can find the right dealer for you.