Why Do Firefighters Wear Suspenders? The Real Story

If you picture a firefighter’s uniform, you might think of their helmet, high-vis suit, or their axe.

Their suspenders aren’t usually the first thing you think of! But suspenders are a key part of a firefighter’s uniform as they serve an important purpose.

Why Do Firefighters Wear Suspenders?

Firefighters need to keep wearing suspenders as they prevent their pants from slipping off. Pants are often in danger of falling when someone is fighting a fire.

The fabric can become wet and heavy, or the clothes may move when the person is on all fours.

Suspenders are a compulsory requirement of a firefighters uniform in the United States, and many other locations around the globe!

We’ll cover the reasons why firefighters need to wear suspenders in more detail below, including what would happen if suspenders weren’t worn when fighting a fire.

Keep reading on to learn more about why firefighters wear suspenders!

Suspenders Keep Fire Equipment In Place

Suspenders are fixed to the back and front of a person’s pants. They then have straps that cross over the wearer’s shoulders.

As long as the suspenders are worn tightly enough, the pants will stay in place, even during periods of physical activity.

Suspenders are necessary to keep pants in place as fire equipment is very heavy. The weight of fire gear can weigh up to 75 pounds.

If the suspenders weren’t worn, the load of all the tools could easily weigh the fabric down, causing the pants to slip off easily.

How Much Does Firefighter Gear Weigh?

Firefighters need a lot of tools to do their job. As they will be running into burning homes and buildings, they need heat-resistant tools that protect them and extinguish fires.

Firefighter gear can be very heavy. Protective tools like a helmet, boots, gloves, air pack and coat can weigh around 45 pounds in total.

Extra tools like radio, heat-resistant camera, ax, and flashlight can add 20 more pounds to the load.

Firefighter pants also weigh a lot. Jeans or trousers that are the correct size will fit nicely on your frame, but these weigh much less compared to firefighter pants.

Firefighter pants need to weigh a lot due to all the protective layers.

The outer layer will have flame retardant properties, while the inner layer is water repellent and keeps moisture away from the skin.

Additionally, firefighters need to perform physically demanding movements. Without suspenders, there’s a greater chance of the heavy pants falling.

We should also go over what happens when the pants get wet. Firefighters need a lot of water to put out fires.

When the uniform gets wet, the fabric used to make the clothes can soak up a lot of water. If the pants are full of water, the weight of the water makes the pants heavier.

If suspenders aren’t worn, the firefighter's pants are very likely to slip off of their frame.

What Would Happen If A Firefighter Didn’t Wear Suspenders?

What Would Happen If A Firefighter Didn’t Wear Suspenders?

It’s clear why suspenders are important pieces of clothing in a firefighter's uniform, but we should also go over what might happen if firefighters didn’t wear them.

Here are the main issues that could occur if a firefighter didn’t wear suspenders.

Increased Risk Of Falling Over

Firefighters often need to run in the direction of a fire, move up the stairs, or scout out a location.

If their pants start falling, they may trip over the fabric around their ankles and lower legs. This is very dangerous as they might injure themselves or others in the vicinity.

Readjusting Pants Takes Up Time

We’ve covered why firefighter equipment weighs so much. Their pants, gloves, and coats can be very heavy.

If the person’s pants start to slip, it can take a lot of effort to pull them back up again.

The firefighter would have to attempt to secure their pants with heavy gloves, then maneuver clothing under their coat to readjust their pants.

This can take up valuable time in which lives could be saved.

Causes A Distraction

When it comes to tackling a fire, firefighters should only be focused on one thing, which is putting the fire out.

Pants falling isn’t just a nuisance, it affects their ability to answer the call. This wastes time and affects the safety of those around them.

Rescuing Firefighters

It’s easy to believe that firefighters can handle themselves, but as the nature of the job is so dangerous, firefighters can become injured and require help when on call.

If this occurs, other firefighters will need to work together to help the one in need.

This takes place as a Rapid Intervention Crew/Team, as several firefighters are assigned to assist and save incapacitated firefighters.

Fighting fires comes with many hazards, particularly if the blaze is fierce.

All firefighter jobs come with the chance of injury, becoming trapped, or losing consciousness while in the fire.

What Do Suspenders Do During A Rescue?

If a firefighter is incapacitated, they will need saving. As mentioned above, firefighter gear weighs a lot.

The equipment added to the weight of the firefighter can all increase the difficulty of saving someone.

Suspenders can help with this. If a firefighter needs saving, the team needs to rescue him as fast and well as possible.

This may involve fastening something to a piece of their gear, then pulling them away.

Firefighters that need saving are often dragged on the floor, but without suspenders, the fallen firefighter’s pants can slip off of them due to the friction on the ground.

This will increase the chance of the firefighter being rescued experiencing serious burns around their legs and complicates the rescue mission even more.

The Bottom Line

Suspenders are an essential part of a firefighter’s uniform, but this isn’t for aesthetic purposes.

Suspenders prevent a firefighter’s heavy pants from slipping off their legs.

This is extremely important as the suspenders will prevent the firefighter from falling over their pants and injuring themselves, or others if they are trying to perform a rescue.

Suspenders also help if the firefighter needs rescuing, as they stop the fallen firefighter’s pants from slipping down, protecting their legs from burns and injuries in the process.