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PPE in Firefighting & Food Industries: How to wear PPE Correctly!

How to wear PPE Correctly: PPE in Firefighting & Food Processing Industries!

Firefighter wearing a PPE kit

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many medical & healthcare-related terms made their way into the day-to-day life of the common man. PPE was one of them. Actually, PPE has been widely popularized during the pandemic, but its applications are found in various industries. Why are these PPE used in firefighting, manufacturing & food industries? To protect the individuals from any potential hazards.

In this article, we will have a walkthrough of a step-by-step illustration of how to wear a PPE kit in a particular space. So, let’s begin without any further ado.

Why wear a PPE kit properly while working?

Many occupations have potential chances of hazards & accidents. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is a US government department that is responsible for laying down the guidelines for the prevention of occupational hazards. It recommends the use of protective gear aka PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) as a safety measure while working under a potential hazard.

People wearing PPE Kits

If an individual ensures that they have worn the PPE kit properly, then it can save them from any potential mishap without any injuries or with minimal damage. The ultimate aim of the PPE is to protect an individual from the hazard without any injury. To ensure it, PPE must be properly worn. This means that the individuals should be well-trained in donning the PPE.

Similarly, the individuals must be provided training in doffing the PPE as well. This ensures that they don’t damage the PPE while removing it. Even guidelines over storage must be included in the training. A well-maintained PPE will ensure that it remains efficient while protecting the individual.

If you are a healthcare worker looking for a step-by-step illustration on how to wear a PPE, we highly recommend you to go through the following CDC article on Using Personal Protective Equipment.

How do Firefighters wear a PPE?

Fire is equivalent to hazard. Especially, if your task is to put off the fire. Firefighters put their lives on the line to protect individuals trapped in the fire and also simultaneously extinguish the fire. These firefighters have very little time to wear the PPE kits. They have to wear the entire PPE kit in less than one minute! Thus, firefighters are trained to wear the PPE kits quickly to reach their destination as soon as possible.

For example, in 2018, a video of Croatian firefighters went viral. Why? It was the quarter-final of the FIFA Soccer World Cup played between the hosts Russia & Croatia. The game went into the penalties. The Croatian firefighters were watching the match anxiously as a potential win would mean that Croatia will play England in the semi-finals. Just before a few seconds of the victory of Croatia, the firefighters heard the siren and were off wearing their PPE kits in seconds. One must be wondering what does the PPE kit of these firefighters comprise? Let’s find out about them. 

Firefighters donning PPE

There is always a risk of burns in a place that has caught fire. High temperature, dense black smoke, and extreme heat can result in various breathing issues as well. As a protective measure, firefighting personnel wears PPE to protect themselves. The PPE worn by the firefighting personnel is shortlisted on the basis of the hazard analysis. The steps of donning the PPE are as follows:

Step 1: Gather All the Required PPE

Step 2: Don the Hood

Step 3: Put on Fire-resistant Protective Footwear

Firefighters ensure that the protective footwear they wear is not bulky. There are instances where they need to run quickly for rescuing & other purposes. The footwear should also protect the individual from high temperature & must be fire-resistant. Poor fitting is another issue that firefighters must avoid. 

Firefighter PPE

Step 4: Wear Fire-resistant Protective Clothing 

Fire-resistant, comfortable, and protective clothing are a must for a firefighter. Trousers, pants with suspenders, and bunker jackets of multiple layers are worn by firefighters. Each layer of the clothing plays a vital role in protection. The outer layer protects from high temperature & flame. It is followed by a moisture barrier that protects from steam burns. There is again a thermal layer that protects from radiant heat.

Step 5: Put on an SCBA (Self-contained Breathing Apparatus)

Fire hazards are always accompanied by dense smoke & poisonous gases. To protect themselves one needs to wear an SCBA. Extreme care must be taken to ensure that the SCBA has no damages. SCBA provides clean & pure air.

Step 6: Wear the Firefighter Helmet

Firefighter helmets are the most famous & recognizable PPE. Antique firefighter helmets are famous collectibles. Not only do they add for the looks but also for they protect the firefighters from the falling debris. The firefighter helmet is strong, durable, and heat-resistant. 

Firefighters with PPE

Step 7: Don the Fire-resistant Gloves

Fire-resistant safety gloves are a must. They should be donned for protecting the hands from flames, sharp objects, heat, etc.

If you are interested to find more about safety gloves, then do read our article on Safety Gloves : Importance, uses and types

How to wear PPE in Food Processing Industry?

In the manufacturing & food industry, the personnel is at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals & pathogens. Moreover, there is a risk of contamination. Hygiene can be compromised if proper PPE is not worn. So, in these industries, PPE plays a dual role. PPE protects the personnel from potential dangers as well as maintains hygiene. 

The PPE also needs to take account of the heavy machinery, temperature conditions (near freezers, boilers, fryers), and other factors. Once the hazard analysis is done, the required PPE may be shortlisted and can be donned by the personnel.

PPE in Food Industry

The steps of donning the PPE are as follows:

Step 1: Gather All the Required PPE

Step 2: Put on Protective Footwear

If there is a chance of a chemical interaction, then chemical-resistant shoes are highly recommended. When dealing with any heavy machinery, protective footwear should have steel-toe caps and (or) steel sole protection. They are highly recommended in places where there is a risk of an object falling, cuts, and scratches. 

In some cases, one can also opt for water-resistant or chemical-resistant shoe covers over normal boots. If there is any medical condition that doesn’t allow one to wear any particular footwear, then they should wear basic protective shoes.

Man wearing a PPE

Step 3: Wear Protective Clothing

If there is a chance of a chemical interaction, one must wear chemically resistant protective clothing. They must be worn properly such that the chemical doesn’t come in contact with the skin. If there is no danger of chemicals, then at least a basic disposable apron is a must, especially where there is a risk of contamination or pathogens. 

Moreover, there are many other disposable protective clothing such as overalls, smocks, gowns, and jackets that are available for different situations. The protective clothing must not have free loose garment pieces or threads. Else, it can get stuck in a mechanical part of a machine.  

Step 4: Put on a Face Mask or Respirator

A face mask is not always necessary. But, whenever there is a potential hazard of toxic or poisonous gas leakage or even fumes, then a face mask or a respirator is a must. It is compulsory to wear a face mask as the gas leak may have ill effects. Remember, that there is always a possible hazard of chemical poisoning without a respirator. Any interaction with gas in these industries will require the donning of a respirator. 

Step 5: Don the Safety Goggles or Face Shield

Safety goggles or face shields protect the face. Though not always necessary, they are worn when there is a possibility of any splashes (especially in the food industry).


Step 6: Protect your Ears by Wearing Earbuds or Earmuffs

If the industry has heavy machinery that produces a lot of noise & sound, then it is highly recommended to wear either earbuds or earmuffs (whatever is more comfortable).

Step 7: Wear a Hair Cover or Hard Hat

Lastly, put on a hair cover to ensure that hair fall doesn’t cause issues in hygiene, especially in food industries. A hair cover or cap is a must to ensure proper hygiene. Moreover, it is highly recommended that if there is the possibility of damage to the head, then a hard hat or a helmet should be worn. 

Step 8: Don Safety Gloves

Protective safety gloves protect the individual from scratches. If necessary one should wear chemical-resistant gloves accordingly. In the food industry, it is recommended that the safety gloves should be food grade.

Do you want to know more about donning PPE? Know more about PPE in Construction and Farming: How to wear PPE correctly! 

Stay Safe! Stay Healthy! Stay True!