4-7 Wildland fire fighting and personal protective equipment
Firefighters may be involved in wildland fire fighting. Wildland fire fighting is the activities of fire suppression and property conservation in woodlands, forests, grasslands, brush, prairies and other such vegetation, or any combination of vegetation that is involved in a fire situation but is not within buildings or structures.
Heat stress is a major cause of injury during wildland fire fighting.
Firefighters need personal protective equipment (PPE) that is appropriate for this specialized task.
Actions for employers
- consult with their joint health and safety committee or worker representative when determining appropriate PPE for wildland fire fighting
- develop operational procedures to limit exposure to wildfire smoke
Wildland fire fighting PPE considerations
Outerwear should be flame resistant and provide protection to the legs, torso and arms to meet the NFPA 1977 Standard on protective clothing and equipment for wildland fire fighting. When worn as an ensemble with gloves and boots, the pant cuff and wrist design should prevent skin exposure.
Structural fire fighting helmets provide protection but can add to fatigue in these circumstances. Consider other head protection that can be properly secured to the head with a chin strip.
Rubber fire fighting boots provide protection, but they can add to fatigue if worn for a long period of time or to travel long distances on uneven terrain. Consider alternative protective footwear where this potential exists.
Consider the use of gloves that meet the NFPA 1977.
Wear respiratory protection that is appropriate for the task and hazards. See 4-9 Respiratory protection program for more information.
Consider the task being done when determining appropriate eye protection.
Hearing protection is recommended when working around portable pumps, chainsaws or other loud equipment. There are specific requirements about noise protection in the noise regulation.
Applicable regulations and acts
- Occupational Health and Safety Act
- clause 25(2)(a) for providing information and instruction to a worker
- clause 25(2)(d) for making workers aware of hazards
- clause 25(2)(h) for taking every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers
- O. Reg. 381/15 - Noise for protecting workers from hazardous sound levels
For guidance on helmets, boots, gloves and outerwear, read NFPA 1977 Standard on protective clothing and equipment for wildland fire fighting
For guidance on helmets, read CSA Z94.1 Industrial protective headwear — Performance, selection, care, and use
For guidance on boots, read CSA Z195 Protective footwear
For guidance on eye protection, read CSA Z94.3 Eye and face protectors
For information about protecting workers from heat related illness, read the Ministry of Labour heat stress guideline
Firefighter guidance note 4-9 Respiratory protection program