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One of the essential protective equipment that wildland firefighters bring with them is a wildland fire shelter. Firefighting is a job that brings with it high risks and danger. Firefighters are exposed to great flames and smoke when they try to put out the wildland fires. In emergency situations, these wildland fire shelters provide firefighters with protection from intense heat and smoke. When they are used during emergencies, fire shelters can and do save lives. Read on to learn what fire shelters are and when you should use them!

What Is A Wildland Fire Shelter?

Basically, a wildland fire shelter is a portable and quickly deployable shelter that wildland firefighters can jump into during critical situations as the final resort for protection against heat and smoke. This improves the chance of survival for firefighters. Fire shelters are made out of an aluminized cloth that is laminated to fiberglass silica. It is shaped like a half-cylinder that comes with rounded ends. They resemble a burrito or a huge sleeping bag covered with tinfoil when it is seen from above. When it is deployed the right way, fire shelters can effectively block radiant heat and trap breathable air. However, they are not able to protect wildland firefighters from continued contact with flames. Because of their life-saving abilities, all wildland firefighters are required to carry a wildland fire shelter while they are on duty. 

The History Of The Wildland Fire Shelter

The first development of a fire shelter happened in Australia back in the 1950s. The unique cone-shaped design started to be used by the United States Forest Service which later led to the development of a longer and lower A-frame style shelter. This was intended to make the user get on the ground in the prone position. This shelter was required in 1977 after a few firefighters perished in the Battlement Creek Fire in Colorado. In 2003, a new generation of fire shelters was released after developments in the 1990s. Many agencies have been cooperating to further improve the fire shelter design. All these will help many firefighters to do their job well and preserve their lives in cases of emergencies. 

When To Use A Wildland Fire Shelter

A wildland firefighter should only use a fire shelter in extreme situations when they have tried all other ways of escape. Even then, fire shelters will need some space to reduce direct contact with flame as they cannot protect against prolonged contact with direct flames. Distance has to be kept from large fuels. Boulders, rocks, and scree can let in heated, toxic air through the gaps. Small vegetation and grass need to be cleared before the firefighter gets inside. If you are in an entrapment, protect your airway and lungs at all costs. Most firefighters die from the heat that harms their airways and not from burns.

These fire shelters have saved many lives of wildland firefighters, however, it is not recommended to use them as an alternative option to safe firefighting procedures and practices. 

Anchor Industries, Inc.’s Fire Shelters are Trusted by Professionals

When lives are at stake, there can be no compromises on quality. For over 30 years, Anchor Industries Inc. has been producing government-approved fire shelters, putting our products at the forefront of the markets we serve. With our ISO 9001 certified production procedures, you can be confident that the utmost care and safeguards are used to build the finest quality Fire Shelter for your needs. Contact us today to find out more!

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