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Three Cold Weather Items to Pack in Your Gear Bag

Posted by John Feld on 3/12/2014 to Fire Equipment
As most firefighters and emergency personnel know, emergencies can occur in any type of weather.  Therefore, it is important to be prepared for any type of weather by ensuring your gear bags are packed with the appropriate clothing and accessories.  Cold weather is sometimes overlooked when ensuring you have the appropriate gear; fortunately, here are three items to keep in mind when selecting gear for cold temperatures.

1. Balaclava (Ski) Mask

This essential cold weather item makes fighting fires or any other type of emergency more comfortable by keeping your entire head warm and protected from the bitter cold.  A balaclava is named after the town of Balaklava in the Ukraine.  History states that the British troops received knitted balaclavas to help protect them from the bitter cold during the Crimean War. 
 
Individuals who enjoy outdoor winter sports such as snowboarding, snowshoeing, skiing and sledding benefit from these full face masks.  There are various styles of the balaclava mask but most typically cover all parts of the head except the eyes, nose and/or mouth. 
 
This type of mask is essential for a firefighter and other emergency personnel because it offers superior protection when working in cold weather conditions.  Special fire-resistant treated material makes this item a vital component of any emergency gear.

2. Traction Footwear

Firefighters are often called to navigate through various terrains, including wet rocks and icy slopes.  Traction footwear is indispensable as it allows the user to quickly add needed traction during any weather condition.  There are no distinct straps or requirements, simply take the traction spikes out of your gear bag and slide them over your shoes.

3. Hand and Toe Warming Packs

Even after packing the appropriate clothing and accessories, there will likely be times when you need an additional source of heat.  Hand and toe warming packs are excellent items to pack in your gear bag because they are small and offer an instantaneous source of heat.  Simply open the pack and it will immediately warm up when exposed to oxygen.  The hand warmers heat for eight hours and the toe packs heat for five hours.
 
Remember to pack these three essential items when preparing your emergency gear bag.  By having these items on hand, you will be prepared to respond in any type of weather.

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