Chin Strap Saves Firefighter's Life

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October 20, 2008 - Cincinnati -

A Cincinnati firefighter says a small piece of safety equipment saved his life in a house fire. Jeff Neal ran into a burning home in Price Hill Sunday night. The third floor flashed over, and Neal fell through the floor.

"This is the helmet I was wearing last night on Engine 24," said Neal. His charred helmet will have to be replaced, but Neal says he's just grateful he made it out of this house fire alive, especially after a section of the third floor collapsed beneath him. "I stopped and tried to pull myself out and that's when the rest gave way," said Neal. "I went head-first and fell 14 feet into the deck outback.

"When I fell through the floor, my helmet broke away from the inside shell, but fortunately I had my chin strap on." When asked what would've happen if he hadn't had on his helmet, Neal replied, "the whole helmet would have come off and I would have hit head-first, without protection." Neal says believe it or not, a lot of his colleagues don't always take the time to make sure this strap is securely fastened.

"I know a lot of guys on CFD and around the country who don't wear it, because it's not cool, but it saved my noggin."

Firefighter Neal is living proof of the importance of wearing PPE properly. It may not "look cool" or it may not be as comfortable as without it . . . but it can make a difference. You must wear PPE properly to allow it to make a difference for you.

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John Jacobs's Avatar
John Jacobs replied the topic: #16
The key word in this story is "properly". So many times I see people wearing PPE but not the way it was intended. For instance, having foam plugs in your ears is a lot different than wearing hearing protection.