I was recently given the opportunity to try the FDXL100 Leather Fireboot by Fire-Dex. In conjunction with their summer boot giveaway, Fire-Dex wanted to get some pairs of their boots out there for people to try.
Now I have never had any real experience with any PPE made by Fire-Dex. I had heard some things, both good and bad, but was excited to get the opportunity to put their leather boot through its paces and decide for myself. Of course as one would expect, we didn’t do squat for fire duty during the demo period. I did however have a lot of opportunity to wear the FDXL100 in multiple different situations.
First of all, out of the box it was probably the most comfortable leather fire boot I have worn. I ordered the same size boot as I wear around the station and from the first moment I put them on, it was as if I was wearing my favorite pair of sneakers. And with each opportunity to wear them, they only became more comfortable. These boots didn’t slip while walking of climbing.
Another area that I really liked about these boots was that the uppers broke in very quickly and did not remain stiff. So in no time at all is was as if they had almost molded to my legs while wearing them.
The toe protection is very heavy duty, so they have held up very well during the short time I have been testing them. These boots had plenty of traction, and performed well while climbing ladders, climbing stairs, kneeling, crawling and just getting in and out of the rig. They also remained comfortable when worn for long durations.
From my short exposure to them, I would absolutely say they are worth checking out. I will update on their long term durability down the road, after having more opportunity to wear them.
Here is a list of the features for the FDXL100:
Leather Boot Model: FDXL100
- · 2.2 mm full grain silicone tanned waterproof and flame retardant leather.
- · Crosstech Omaha military boot package with nylon inner liner. Waterproof, breathable and antiviral membrane is laminated to a polyester tricot and a nylon inner liner that wicks moisture away from the foot.
Stroble Bootie Construction:
- · Waterproof Crosstech bootie designed with a flat sole bottom made from a W.L Gore gasket material. The seams are sewn and stitched around the outside circumference of the foot. The gasket material is cemented to the bottom of the boot to prevent liner pull out. All seams are taped with W.L Gore seam tape.
Shaft Thermal Barrier:
- · 580g of Poly Felt insulates against heat and cold and provides cushion and comfort in the boot. This thermal liner is positioned between the Crosstech inner liner and the leather outer shell.
Foot Cavity Thermal Barrier:
- · 200g Kevlar®/Nomex® blend for added cut resistance and thermal protection. This thermal liner is positioned between the Crosstech inner liner and the leather outer shell.
- · #88 composite toe complies with NFPA, CSA, ANSI. Composite toes are lighter than steel and do not conduct heat or cold as well as steel keeping the foot warmer when it’s cold and cooler when it’s hot.
Puncture Resistant Barrier:
- · Lenzi composite puncture resistant fabric complies with CSA and NFPA. This flexible fabric allows greater movement and dexterity in the foot especially when in use in a leather fire boot with a cement sole.
- · 5 inch long, ¾ wide, triple ridge steel shank. Provides comfort and stability to firefighters when standing on ladder shanks.
Internal Heel Counter:
- · Poly material heat formed and cold molded to maintain longevity of the heel cup. This process molds the heel counter to each individual boot creating a better fit and increasing the longevity of the boot.
External Heel Counter:
- · 3D molded flame retardant abrasion resistant rubber. By compression molding this heel piece the same abrasion levels of the outsole can be achieved.
3D Toe Cover:
- · 3D compression molded toe guard is placed over the leather and the composite protective toe. This toe guard will increase the longevity of the boot while offering the firefighter great traction and slip resistance when in positions where the toe comes into contact with the ground.
Pull On Holes:
- · Pull on holes are reinforced with a double layer of leather sewn together with Kevlar thread for increased longevity. The holes are of ample size enabling firefighters to use efficiently when wearing fire gloves.
- · All threads are made of Kevlar, Nomex or a combination of the two materials.
Cement Cup Sole:
- · This sole is compression molded with Vibram’s exclusive “Fire & Ice” rubber compound. The combination of rubber compound, sole design, and production method provides the end user with the most durable, slip resistant, flame retardant and comfortable and functional sole in the industry.
Fire & Ice Rubber Compound by Vibram:
- · The Fire & Ice compound by Vibram was developed to maximize abrasion and slip resistance in the most extreme conditions. The sole is flame retardant and flexible in both hot and cold temperatures. The combination of the sole design, construction method, and compound maximizes slip resistance in extreme cold conditions.
Heat Shield at Vamp:
- · The heat shield is an extra layer of foam placed at the vamp to reduce the discomfort caused by radiant heat that naturally hits the boot in the vamp area of the boot.
3 Density Sock Liner:
- · This three density liner starts off with a nano-printed pattern on the cover of the sock liner.
- · This nano-printed pattern increases circulation in the foot and legs during prolonged use. The cover of the sock liner has both anti-microbial and moisture wicking capabilities keeping the foot healthy and ready for action.
- · Under the sock liner there is a layer of EVA memory foam. Over time this memory foam will make an impression of the user’s foot creating the cradling effect.
- · Under the EVA memory foam is a base of polyurethane, which acts as a shock absorber.
- · At the ball of the foot and the heel of the foot there are two gel drops. These gel drops are placed at the high impact points of the foot. The gel drops are designed to absorb and disperse the energy created by a heel strike or push off from the ball of the foot.
- · The combination of all these features are intended to reduce foot, leg and back fatigue allowing a firefighter to operate at peak performance for longer periods of time.
- · The sock liner is custom cut to fit perfectly inside each boot.
- · The sock liner is removable for drying or replacement.
Dave LeBlanc is a Lieutenant at the Harwich, Massachusetts FD with more than 25 years in fire service. Dave’s blog tends to focus on current day issues and maintaining a commitment to the ideals and principals that created the fire service, while keeping today’s firefighters safe.
Ask kids about their favorite feature at the local fire station, and they will probably reference the fireman’s pole. Also known as a sliding pole, the device was invented in Chicago in the 1870s, although it is often incorrectly credited to the Boston Fire Department. Prior to this time period, spiral stairs and sliding chutes were used in firehouses, but they just weren’t fast enough. Chicago firefighter David Kenyon changed all that.
Kenyon worked in Chicago’s Engine Company No. 21 where the hay for the horses was stored on the third floor. At that time, the second floor was used for recreation and sleeping, while the ground floor housed the firefighting equipment. When the hay was being transported to the firehouse, it was secured to a wagon using a wooden binding pole. That pole was stored in the hay loft when not in use. One day firefighter George Reid slid down the pole in response to a call for help. It inspired Kenyon to create a permanent pole.
In 1878, Kenyon convinced the fire chief to cut a hole in the building so that a permanent pole could be installed. The pole, which was three inches in diameter, was made from Georgia pine beam. The firefighters shaved and sanded it, and then applied several coats of varnish and a coat of paraffin. Over time, fire houses everywhere adopted the pole as a means for quickly descending to the ground floor when the alarm sounded.
Although fire poles have been an endearing symbol of firehouses for many years, most are now being removed or are rarely used. It seems they’ve been the cause of more than just a few broken ankles.
Pictured above: Lubbock Fire Station No. 1 has two McIntire Brass Works Inc. fire poles used to get to the ground floor of the station. The poles were transferred downtown from Fire Station No. 3 in 1979.
Congratulations to Adam Thompson!
We picked our top 10 favorites, put the names in a boot (of course), and pulled out Adam’s name. There were many funny, creative captions. Our favorites were:
- Jason: Man, the kids at the day care are gonna be sooooo jealous! Yeeeeeeees!
- Adam: One small step for Hayden, one giant set of Fire Dex boots to do it in.
- Bryan: Can you see me now? Good!
- Montana: Fire-Dex turnout gear sheds some light on the lower quality competitors.
- Linda: “You Light up my Life”.
- Chris: My fire boots went out on the town, helping me do the best job in the world!
- Rich: Hey guys, where’s the rest of my Fire-Dex gear? The truck is leaving without me!
- Adam: HERE’S WHERE MY BOOTS WERE ON THE 4TH! (with image)
- Eric: I’m the reason you need to wear the best gear to work
- Ken: “We Glow, You’ll Glow”
Be watching for more caption photos in August.
Adam, please email your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Firefighters often need to get past a locked door, cut through rooftops or break down walls and ceilings. To accomplish these tasks, they use tools that are commonly referred to as implements of destruction. These devices are specially designed to help the firefighter forcibly get past any structural barriers. The origin of many of these tools dates back to the early days of firefighting.
One particular tool greatly affected the firefighting profession—the pull-down hook. Hook and ladder crews were so named during a time period when a cornice or pull-down hook was used to pull down teetering chimneys or burning roofing materials during a fire. It consisted of a heavy forged hook and a heavy, solid-link chain. A pole was placed in the hook to hoist it up onto a cornice or chimney, and a rope was attached to a ring in the end of the chain.
Today, firefighters use different styles of pike poles to open holes in walls and ceilings. They are available in an assortment of head designs, with different types of handles and a wide range of lengths. Although the various designs are used for different types of construction, from drywall to plaster, they were all developed and adapted by firefighters.
One example is the Halligan tool, a multipurpose pry-bar that makes it possible for the user to quickly open several types of locked doors. Designed by a firefighter, it is one of the most frequently used tools of the modern-day firefighter. For more delicate situations, the K-tool is used. It allows the firefighter to extract a complete cylinder lock from a door in just a few seconds. And finally, in some instances tools like gasoline-powered chain saws and circular saws have been adapted to the special needs of today’s firefighters.
The photo of the Pull Down Hook was loaded from the FASNY Museum.
We live in an age when technology is progressing so rapidly that many items we grew up with are now obsolete. Case in point: the typewriter, the pay phone and the eight-track tape. Add the joker box or telegraph alarm box to that growing list. An interesting icon from fire fighting history, it was once the primary means of dispatching fire companies in major cities throughout the United States and England. During a 50-year period, these “boxes” appeared on just about every city street corner. Here’s how they worked.
The box was connected to a telegraph wire that went to every fire station in the city. Inside each box was a spring-loaded wheel with bumps on it. The bumps corresponded to the number given to the box. For instance, if the box’s number was #123, the wheel would have one bump, then two bumps, and then three. When someone pulled the handle located outside the box, it released the spring-loaded wheel, causing it to turn. The bumps pressed down on a key, sending an electrical signal to every fire station in the city. In the stations, a bell would ring out the number of the box. At the same time, it punched holes in a paper tape at the watch desk. Fire companies assigned to this particular box would dispatch themselves to the fire. What’s most interesting is that every fire station in the city had to keep track of every other fire station—just in case the station that was assigned to that box had already been called to another fire. Interestingly, telegraph alarm boxes were widespread throughout the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s, and in some cities, they were still being used during the 1960s and 70s.
How did the box get reset after the fire? Well, the fire chief, of course. He simply used a key to open the box, rewound the spring—and the system was ready to go once again.
All Tapped Out?
Here’s a bit of trivia you may not know: When the fire was finally under control and the fire chief returned to reset the box, he would “tap out” a signal indicating that the box was clear because the fire was now out. In many cities the code for under control was “1-1” and the code for all companies clear was “6-6”. Fire personnel at the various stations waited to hear that the fire was “tapped out.”
The photograph is from the Fire Museum of Maryland.