By Bre Orcasitas – Field Operations Specialist. Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center
When thinking about Nomex pants there are essentially two camps of folks. Those who simply think “PPE” and others who think, “formidable opponent”. If you are in the second camp you’ll definitely want to keep reading.
If you happen to be in the first camp there may be some confusion. “Formidable opponent? They’re just pants.” True. They are just pants, but for those who are vertically challenged the standard Nomex pants can leave one struggling to keep up with the crew hiking pace as they’ve got their pulaski in one hand and the crotch of their pants in the other. Yes, you read that right. If the crotch of your pants is nearly down to your knees it doesn’t necessarily support functional fireline movement without a little assist.
So, what’s the point of diving into all this? Wait for it…
Over the years there have been countless efforts to get some diversity in sizing for Nomex pants because as it turns out, firefighters come in a variety of shapes and sizes. At the core of these numerous campaigns one person has been methodically toiling away in the background. Tony Petrilli, the Equipment Specialist with NTDP (National Technology and Development Program), has taken a constant stream of comments and suggestions and has then gradually incorporated those field recommendations into sample versions of Nomex pants as well as permanent variations of the original.
Right at this moment Tony has a Nomex pant survey out on the street asking fire folks far and wide for their input so that he can make the corrections field personnel want to see. So let’s all help the cause by filling out the survey. Whether you like the pants just the way they are, or you want to stop holding-up the crotch of your pants while you hike, give him the feedback and then share the survey link with your pals; the more feedback that is received the better.
Make sure to have a tape measure handy prior to starting the survey, you’re going to need it. The deadline is July 31st so don’t miss your chance to offer up your two cents.