Department Of Fire & Rescue Services
Montgomery County, MD


No. 804
Aug. 3, 1995

1.0 To establish procedures for the issue, replacement, maintenance, and use of protective clothing and related equipment.

2.0 This policy applies to all Department personnel assigned to the Fire Protection Occupational Series.
This policy was developed in cooperation with the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 1664.

3.0 Approved - Complies with all published specifications of the Department.
3.1 Issued - Protective clothing and related accessories stocked and distributed from the Department's Property Section.
3.2 Negligence - The flagrant or obvious lack of care or attention. Examples of negligence with regard to protective clothing include the intentional damage or destruction of clothing or equipment, not incurred in the course of duty, carelessness on the part of the user, and loss or theft as a result of carelessness.
3.3 Protective Clothing - All issued and/or required clothing for use during fire/rescue operations.

4.0 All issued Department protective clothing and equipment will:
  1. be the property of Montgomery County;
  2. be available for inspection by supervisors at any time;
  3. not be modified without approval of the Director;
  4. meet specifications approved by the Director;
  5. be worn in accordance with all Fire and Rescue Commission Regulations and Department Policies and Procedures regarding safety and use;
  6. be cleaned and inspected by authorized contractor at least once per calendar year(coats and pants only);
  7. be issued by the Departments Property Section;
  8. be cleaned and maintained according to manufacturer's recommendations;
4.1 Personnel must report the loss or damage of any protective clothing items or official equipment to their supervisor. Captains must investigate the incident and determine responsibility for loss. The Captain's decision may be appealed to the Director. The Director's decision is final. If the loss or damage is found to result from negligence, the item will be replaced at the employee's expense. A payment plan may be worked out between the employee and the Department if the Director determines that payment may result in a hardship for the employee.
4.2 The Station Officer must notify the Shift Captain and Corporation Duty Officer when advised of lost, damaged, or stolen items valued at $100 or more. Stolen items valued at approximately $100 or more must be reported to the police department. A Supervisor's Incident Investigation Report (SIIR) must be completed and forwarded to the Shift Captain for all losses or damage to protective clothing. A copy of the report and determination of responsibility will be forwarded to the Property Manager, Property Section.
4.3 Protective clothing considered non-usable by the employee and needing replacement must be presented to the Station Commander for inspection. If the Station Commander concurs, a Property Request Form must be completed, authorized and and taken to the Property Section. Captains and above must present their unusable protective clothing to their supervisor. Differences of opinion must be referred to the Safety Officer for resolution.
4.4 Personnel who retire, resign, take a leave of absence or are terminated must turn in all issued protective clothing items to the Property Section within one week after the effective date of separation. Personnel on light duty are responsible for the security of their property.
4.5 Personnel must wear or use only issued and/or approved protective clothing and equipment.
4.6 The Director may authorize issuing protective clothing to employees outside of Emergency Services, civilians, dignitaries or others as needed.
4.7 The Director may authorize issuing protective clothing articles as a memento of service to employees who retire.
4.8 Safety inspections of protective clothing and equipment must be performed and documented by the Station Commander and by the Shift Captain as prescribed by the Director or his designee.
4.9 The exact placement and positioning of identification and insignias must be in accordance with the diagrams and descriptions in this policy. No other insignia or markings may be used without the permission of the Director.
4.10 Personnel who have been promoted must report to their supervisor to obtain an authorized property request form for any protective clothing items needed. All previously issued and non-usable items must be returned to the Property Section upon issuance of the new items.
4.11 Employees may purchase a 14" NFPA compliant firefighting boot to use during emergency operations. An approved boot less than 14" in length may be worn as station footwear only. Employees must provide proof of the boot's compliance to their Shift Captain or Station Commander/supervisor before using the boot. An approved NFPA compliant leather helmet may be substituted and used for training and emergency operations, at the employee's expense.

Employees requesting permission to use a leather helmet for emergency operations must provide proof of its compliance to their Shift Captain or Station Commander. Leather helmets must be properly maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. A determination as to its safe conditions will be made at any time by the Station Commander, Department Safety Officer or designee. These decisions as to the helmet's fitness for safe operation are final,non-grievable, and non-arbitrable.

4.12 Protective clothing and equipment for specialty teams and Divisions in other Bureaus must meet the appropriate related and Department standard(s) as approved by the Director
4.13 Personnel must mark protective clothing using either a laundry marking pen, indelible pen or non-removable label. All items not previously marked and all newly issued items must bear the name and ID number of the individual member. All items must be marked in the following specific areas only:
  1. Protective Coat - inside on the storm flap only.
  2. Protective Pants - inside left rear pocket flap.
  3. Boots - inside at the top of each boot.
  4. Firefighting Gloves - on the back of each glove.
  5. Helmet - on the rear brim. (See Pages 7 and 8)
  6. Protective Hood - outside rear near base
  7. Suspenders - left suspender on back
4.14 A decal of the official logo of the International Association of Firefighters may be displayed on the rear brim of the helmet. This decal must not exceed the size of a dollar coin of the United States mint. An American flag no larger than one and a half by three inches may also be displayed on the rear of the helmet.
4.15 The Director may authorize the substitution of specific protective clothing for the purpose of evaluation. Individuals in an evaluation group will be required to complete the appropriate documentation, etc. Personnel may request authorization to participate in specific item evaluation through the appropriate chain-of-command. The certified employee organization must have the opportunity to participate and review results of the evaluation, particularly as it regards to safety.
4.16 Protective clothing worn by a firefighter seriously injured or killed in the line of duty must be impounded by the Safety Officer or designee.
4.17 All personnel must wear protective clothing in accordance with all Fire Rescue Commission regulations and department policies.

5.0 All Personnel are:
  1. responsible for the care, maintenance and security of each item.

  2. responsible for reporting the loss, damage or theft of any protective clothing and issued equipment to their supervisor immediately.
5.1 Bureau Chiefs/(or Designee):
  1. will authorize issuing protective clothing and equipment per this policy.
5.2 Safety Officer (or Designee):
  1. is responsible for the Protective Clothing Inspection Program.

  2. is responsible for making the final determination when differences of opinion arise over replacement of damaged protective clothing.

  3. is responsible for impounding and securing protective clothing worn by firefighters seriously or critically injured or killed in the line of duty.
5.3 Captains:
  1. are responsible for investigating the circumstances of lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed protective clothing items, and making an initial determination of responsibility for replacement costs. Such determination will be forwarded to the affected employee in writing and will include the dollar amount for reimbursement to Montgomery County. A copy of that determination and appropriate supporting reports will be forwarded to the Property Manager.

  2. are responsible for conducting safety inspections of protective clothing used by personnel in their commands when prescribed by the Director or designee.
5.4 Station Commanders:
  1. are responsible for reviewing and approving Property Requests after verifying and/or determining the actual need for replacement.

  2. are responsible for conducting safety inspections of protective clothing used by personnel assigned to their stations as prescribed by the Director or designee.

  3. are responsible for ensuring that the protective clothing used by personnel in their duty stations is cleaned annually.
5.5 Property Manager:
  1. is responsible for issuing all protective clothing and insignias. The Property Manager will maintain records of items issued, condemned and the replacement cost for each item.

6.0 Issue:
  1. Routine - Personnel at the rank of Lieutenant and below must complete a Property Request Form and submit it to their Station Commander (or Shift Captain if the Station Commander is on extended leave) for a replacement evaluation. The approved Form and the items to be replaced must be taken directly to the Property Section. Personnel at the rank of Captain and above should complete the appropriate forms and submit them to their supervisor. No compensation will be provided for time or transportation to the Property Section.

  2. Emergency - Personnel must bring items requiring emergency replacement to their immediate supervisor. If a replacement is needed, a Property Request Form must be completed. If the replacement cannot be made at the duty station (use of existing equipment for the remainder of the shift), the DFRS Duty Chief may obtain the needed items from the Property Section. Issued gear must not be loaned/borrowed without permission of the person to which the gear is issued and the Shift Officer.
6.1 Personnel must submit page 1 of the Supervisor's Incident Investigation Report (SIIR) with a Property Request for all items lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed.
6.2 If a Corporation which originally issued protective clothing has requested that the items be returned when retired, such gear is to be returned to a Corporation representative.
6.3 If a Corporation which originally issued protective clothing has determined that the items are now the property of DFRS, such gear is to be returned to the Property Section.
6.4 All protective gear issued by the DFRS Property Section is to be returned to the Property Section by the employee at the time of replacement.
6.5 All serviceable items which have been turned in as a result of transfer, promotion, resignation, retirement, etc., must be returned to the Property Section for placement in the Department's stock for reissue.
6.6 Cleaning and Maintenance:
  1. Personnel should select an off-duty period of at least 8 consecutive days to send the protective clothing for cleaning.

  2. Hoods, gloves, boots, suspenders, tools and other items must be removed from protective coats and pants before the garments are sent to the vendor.

  3. A cleaning repair tag must be completed for each garment. The tag must include the individual's name, rank, date, duty station, and shift assignment. The individual will retain the stub and record their name, stub number, and date out on the in-station cleaning log.

  4. The tag should be affixed to the garment. The garment should be placed in a plastic bag and forwarded to district headquarters.

  5. The DFRS courier will collect the garments from the district headquarters and deliver them to the cleaning contractor.

  6. The courier will pick up the cleaned/repaired garments and return them to the appropriate district headquarters.

  7. The shift captains (or designees) will return the cleaned/repaired gear to the employee's duty station.

7.0 Name and I.D. locations on Protective Coats and Pants
7.1 Helmet decal, identification, and color instructions
7.2 Sample cleaning and repair tag
7.3 Sample cleaning and repair log

8.0 DFRS Policy #804, "Protective Clothing", dated March 4, 1992 is cancelled.
8.1 Directive 93-05 dated February 3, 1993, is cancelled.