Firefighter bailout kits give firefighters a way of escaping from the higher floors in a home or building in the case of an advancing fire. Before these kits were introduced, firefighters had no way to escape higher floors of buildings if their escape route was cut off by advancing fire or collapsing flooring. Traditional ropes used in the older kits were large and weak, adding substantial weight without offering much security. The rope sometimes did not even hold a firefighter’s weight during a long descent if it was exposed to fire.
As new materials have been made available, improved equipment has been included in the bailout kits that could help firefighters escape in the event they are trapped on an upper floor. Unfortunately, many safety regulations regarding firefighters are entirely outdated. They do not cover some of the most basic elements of what is needed to ensure that a firefighter can safely escape, such as the use of the stronger, more durable, and lighter weight ropes that are available today.
Fortunately, you can create your own firefighter bailout kit. Whether you are a firefighter or someone who lives or works on a higher story, you can make your own bailout kit or improve an existing kit.
What is a DIY Firefighter Bailout Kit?
As an increasing number of firefighters find their supplies are no longer sufficient against the risks they now face, an increasing number of them have taken the initiative to purchase their own supplies to reduce the risks associated with the job. Some fire departments had even stopped including rope in their kits because they were seen as ineffective. One team spent time researching biometrics and testing different materials to determine what would be a better solution to the outdated materials in their kits.
Based on the findings of the expert firefighters, firefighter bailout kits can now be personalized with materials that will better secure a firefighter who needs to rappel out of a dangerous situation. The materials that go into a DIY firefighter bailout kit are typically stronger and take into account the likely scenarios for a particular department. For example, a firefighter in Kansas probably will not face the same kind of dangers as a firefighter in Atlanta. This matters because there are different ways to anchor the rope, as well as different types of materials that should be used in the different settings so that the rope does not burn.
You want a kit that takes into account your own particular needs and the likely scenarios you may face so that you can prepare yourself as much as possible for a safe escape.
How Firefighters Build Their Own Kits to Maximize Safety
There are several different tools that should be in your kit, including a harness (you should never tie a rope directly around your waist to make a descent). The kit should include the following equipment at a minimum:
It is essential to fully research what is needed to build the kit, and each department’s kit should be customized to the specific needs of the department. You will need to consider how many kits to have if you manage the department. You may also need other tools as well, depending on the situations you anticipate your personnel to encounter.
You will need to take extra time to consider the rope that will be used in your kit. You will need to study many factors regarding the rope to be used, from its length to the composition of the rope, before you tailor the kit to your specific needs.
Training in Use of the DIY Firefighter Bailout Kit
No one should be trying to use firefighter bailout kits without proper training. In the event of an emergency, you want to ensure that you know how to properly secure the rope so that you are not risking your safety further.
The focus of firefighting training should be on avoiding getting into a situation where using the bailout kit will be necessary. However, there should always be some training dedicated to how to use the kits because trying to learn to properly use the kit while under pressure is more likely to result in accidents or missed safety actions. IF staff members have had a chance to use the kits, they will be more likely to use them correctly if the time comes when the kits are needed. From installing the harness to anchoring themselves and rappelling, firefighters should complete the exercise several times while they are in a safer environment.
Training can also help you determine if you are missing any components before a real-world event. If you find that there is anything missing or that stronger ropes are needed, you can update your kits to ensure that you are more likely to make it out of a precarious situation safely.