Before I get started, I'm not a safety Nazi. I'm not a KSO (Keyboard Safety Officer). And I probably violate more safety regulations than I should. But when I'm unsafe, I wear my Personal Protective Equipment. When I am acting safely, I wear my PPE. That sounds like a double standard I agree. But the fact remains that I wear it. Some guys/gals like to try and call me out for wearing the appropriate gear at calls. I'm ready to work, bottom line. I also take care of my equipment which, much like common sense, seems to be considered a super power. I frequently look at the way other firefighters are operating at an incident and wonder "Do these guys care if they go home to teir families?". Some guys are too busy trying to impress other firefighters that they forget the goal is to go home safe and enjoy a long retirement.
Many times in this line of work you do not know when you are acting in an unsafe manner. Incident scenes are dynamic and fluid. Something that was safe when you arrived on scene may not be safe after a couple minutes of operation. We do not have the luxury of knowing all the hazards that are present like some industries do. That is why we have to be ready for things to change in a bad way. You could respond to an alarms sounding and have it turn into a 4 alarm fire with a fatality. How many more people would have died in an instance like that if the boss allowed his members to invesatigate without their gear on? "I'll run back out for my gear if I need it" is a pathetic excuse for your lazyness and complacency.
Some industries have it pretty good, f you work in a gym you may have to worry about and occasional body substances, proper lifting techniques, and maybe some hostile patrons. Emergency services on the other hand could go to a call for alarms sounding in a building and find all of that plus some.
Some people just flat out don't know how to wear their equipment, or don't care. Having it on the wrong way or using the wrong equipment for the job is just as bad as not using anything, maybe worse. The false sense of security that comes with using something "Good enough" will get you into much more trouble or you could end up worse injuries.
Fire helmets have had suspension systems in them since the 1970's and I imagine firefighters have been removing them since, well the 1970's I don't get it. Is it too heavy? Even firefighters in departments that issue leather helmets remove the suspensions or go buy the presentation helmet to wear. I image having it rest on top of your ears somehow makes it better. I prefer to not mutilate my equipment. I also prefer to have the liability for a failure to remain with the manufacturer or my department , not with me for modifying my equipment. Have you thought about the blowback from modifying your gear? If someone acts like an idiot and dumps an AC out a window (instead of pulling it into the room) onto your head who's responsible for your helmet not slowing it down? Granted that's a dramatic example but what about a brick that falls on you from 10' up? Maybe the helmet is too heavy? In that case maybe all of the equipment is too heavy and maybe this career is not for you?
The final thing I'll touch on is standards. Some officers set the bar so low the competition trips over it. If you have standards for PPE and company performance then those standards always apply. You cannot expect firefighters to pick and choose what is right based on who is working that day. "Chief Hidalgo is working today, better wear bunker pants at car accidents" That is confusing crap. I blame the officers for beahvior like that. Some officers do go overboard, but this job is not so demanding that you cannot put your stuff on for a call.