One of the common questions firefighters ask when responding to a call is, “What should I carry with me?”
The list of things you could carry is long — too long — and the number of fire equipment brands to choose from is just as lengthy. If you carried everything with you, you wouldn’t be able to move, and you need to move swiftly and freely to perform at your best. (However, be sure to always carry all the required gear and safety equipment. Requirements are put in place for a reason, and these tools can save you, your team, and those you help protect.)
Here are 5 light-weight tools you should consider carrying to be prepared in any emergency situation:
There is no substitute for a good flashlight. You may be issued a light, but it’s always smart to have a few backups.
When shopping for flashlights, look for something bright and lightweight. You don’t want your light to weigh you down, but the brighter, the better. You may even want to get multiple small lights to keep on different parts of your gear like your helmet, jacket, and pants. These can cost from $10 to $40.
You never know when you’ll need to mark something — or someone — and need to be secure in the fact that your notes won’t disappear. A simple black sharpie can save lives. It allows you to mark routes, leave instructions, or ensure the essential medical information isn’t lost as a patient is shuffled between responders and medical personnel.
A standard multi-tool provides you with the basic tools you might need to handle an emergency situation. You’ll have access to items like a knife, pliers, screwdriver, tweezers, scissors, a saw, a chisel, and more.
Popular tools cost around $30 to $200.
You can easily carry a couple of feet of strong paracord with you. Keep it on your belt or wear it on your wrist. This rope can be used in rescues, as an emergency tourniquet, or to help secure equipment. Paracord is very inexpensive. You can typically purchase 50 feet of paracord for less than $5.
Consider carrying a few doorstops with you. Being able to prop open doorways and free your hands or another firefighter to help move people or other items out of harm’s way can make a real difference. You can even make these wedges yourself out of scrap wood in a few minutes. Remember, they just need to be effective. They don’t have to look pretty.
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