Kilts are making a comeback in a big way. Many big name manufactures and small shops are putting out specialty kilts for Firefighter ceremonial duties. But what about everyday station uniforms?
Firefighting blogger and public speaker Rhett Fleitz, AKA the Fire Critic, is spear heading an effort to get Kilts accepted as a work clothing element.
Rhett told us that after appearing at numerous public events in a kilt he asked his department administration about wearing a kilt on duty. The reply was that kilts are not covered in NFPA 1975: Standard on Station/Work Uniforms for Emergency Services, so the request could not be approved.
In a fortuitous turn of events NFPA 1975 happens to be in a revision cycle. So Rhett submitted a request to the technical committee to include Kilts as approved station ware. Just to make sure his proposal had merit Rhett, with the aid of other firefighters conducted some experts to test the effectiveness of duty kilts.
“I timed myself and three other guys doing some typical activities. First we tested in normal station pants, then we tested in kilts. Each time for all three of us we had faster times in kilts.” Rhett and his assistants tested themselves
-Getting out of a lay-z-boy chair and running to their engine
-Getting out of bed and running to their engine
-Putting on turn out gear
Not only were they faster, their times were noticeably different. 5-10 seconds faster on average.
“I never realized that pants can encumber you, but they do. Maybe that is why many ancient warrior cultures used some kind of kilt versus pants.”
Members of the NFPA technical committee were not able to comment at this time. Public commenting on the proposed revisions has closed.
It should be noted that NFPA 1975 only covers uniforms worn in non-emergency times. NFPA 1851 covers the requirements of protective ensembles, meaning Kilts could not be used as turn-out gear.
The Fire Critic left us with this statement “the fire service is rich with traditions and history. I hope that for my generation we can leave the fire service with a legacy of new station wear, the Kilt.
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