WPFD receives new turnouts

Mary Rumore
Staff Writer

The West Point Fire Department received 19 new turnouts, the suits and equipment worn by firefighters while fighting fires, yesterday.
West Point Fire Chief Ken Wilbourne said the new turnouts cost $33,000 total and came out of the fire department’s budget.
“The old suits were over 10 years old, and it was time for them to be replaced,” Wilbourne said. “They are treated rough and don’t hold up, and they are only under a 10-year warranty.”
He said the new suits were more lightweight and flexible than the old ones.
“They are made to flex like an accordion,” Wilbourne said.
According to Wilbourne, they featured better knee padding, customizable pockets, attached escape belts to pull a firefighter out of a building if necessary, safety harnesses and reflective nametags on each suit. They also were made to custom fit each firefighter.
He also said the new Nomex hoods, which are worn over the head underneath helmets, were more lightweight and cooler than the original ones, and they also cover more of the face, neck and chest.
“All the gear and material for turnouts comes from only two factories in the United States, so you know it’ s good quality,” he said. “We got these new turnouts from Veridian.”
He said the reflective strips on each suit were vented to let out air or steam to prevent firefighters from getting burned.
“Manufacturers did some research and found out that the reflective strips keep air and steam from getting out of the turnouts, which was causing a lot of firefighters to get burned under the strips,” he said. “The vents in the strips will let the heat out and keep them from getting burned.”