While participating in a burn with brother firefighters the question came up about how nice and shiny my new helmet was. Although I knew the firefighters I was with where just kidding it made me think.
For firefighters who have not been in the business long or still think it is acceptable to look salty, let me impress upon you are wrong. The salty look means nothing. Stop and THINK. The set of gear that looks so worn could be gear that is used to conduct live burns in, which is a controlled environment with heat and smoke concentrated on it for long periods of time. Also, all it takes is that one hot fire that the individual showed up to all year-long. Looking Salty also comes with the most hefty price. When you don’t clean your gear, and you look so salty, those are incomplete products of combustion left on your gear. Think about that.These incomplete products aid in breaking the materials down in your gear and making YOU flammable as well as the cancerous products that get into your pores when you sweat.
These are just a few thoughts for those who feel they need to look salty. It is not about how you look that makes you salty. It is, however, how you perform in the way you train and perform on the fire ground. Just remember the salty ole dog just might be the cleanest guy you see. This does not mean wash your gear every time you get smoke on it. It means at least rinsing away dirt, grit, and grime. Washing your gear needs to be done at least twice a year just for the environment it is exposed to of diesel fumes and other things from apparatus. But, if it is heavily soiled it should be washed following the manufacturer’s guidelines.