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Firefighter Gear: Then and Now

The first breathing devices for firefighters used air pumped from a bellows through a hose and into a “smoke mask.” They were rarely used because they were bulky and unreliable.

After World War I, the gas mask came into use, but it provided no protection from carbon monoxide. Nor did gas masks work in an oxygen-deficient environment.

Today’s masks are self-contained (versus filtering outside air, as the original masks did) and prevent toxic smoke and gases from being inhaled. They also provide a minimum service life of 30 minutes of clean air and 100 liters per minute of airflow.

Sources: FireLink Photo Upload, iStock

Then & Now: Gloves & Boots