Posted in Flashlight 101, Headlamps

What kind of Flashlights do Firefighters use?

fireman banner

Key Takeaways:

  • Only you can prevent forest fires
  • Waterproofedness is an obvious must
  • Resistant to temperature extremes
  • Dust-proofedness (ash is fine dust)

Firefighter Flashlights

This post exists because firefighters use flashlights. Though tautological it is sufficient justification. Firefighters need flashlights because it is often dark where they are deployed. Which may not seem intuitive because fire is a fantastic light source. The unfortunate irony being that they are usually deployed to minimize and put out said fire. Furthermore, damages to electrical system from the fire usually create the need for supplementary light sources that are reliable and handy. Additionally, firefighters need flashlights because fallen debris and the cacophony of mangled bodies strewn betwixt cracked pillars, and walls torn asunder can create plenty of dark zones where natural light may not reach. That got a bit dark just now. All the more reason we need to discuss firefighter flashlights.


It should not be a surprise but firefighters are often depicted using a rather long tubular device for the purposes of manipulating and directing a flow of a liquid via pressure and...they use water hoses. This notion of water overcoming fire exists all the way back to Aristotelian notions of generation and corruption, Jungian archetypal symbolism, and even Daoist elemental philosophy. So it goes without saying firefighters in their fight against fires require flashlights which are dependably waterproof. Because water tends to be rather free spirited and in every sense of the phrase, goes with the flow, often moving in ways which we most certainly did not intend.


If you can't stand the heat...

It goes without saying, fire is hot. I said it anyway because blogs have "ideal word counts" and if university essay assignments taught me nothing, it is that I can filibuster with the best of them. Not only do firefighters require flashlights that can literally withstand the heat, but maintain critical operation in the most dangerous of environments. Nitecore flashlights not only have built in advanced thermal regulation modules, but are designed with radiative cooling fins to help keep the body cool under pressure.


I am sure by now boring people in a vain attempt to seem marginally more interesting than they are have told you at some point that the vast majority of dust is human skin. However, in this particular instance they are incredibly wrong. For you see, the most toxic, dangerous, and ever present dust that firefighters must combat is ash. This is where the majority of Nitecore tactical and heavy duty lights really shine. Dust ingression, especially ash which can quickly cake up and bind with itself in presence of moisture can seriously damage the internals of a flashlight. So lotion up, no dusty knees allowed.


Hands Free

Whether it is a headlamp, or a clip on light, a hands free flashlight is an excellent feature for anyone, but I suppose especially for firefighters. Firefighters need to have their hands free for wielding axes to smash in doors and reach survivors, and also to pet their firehouse Dalmatian. This is where clip on lights, such as a Nitecore MT10C with its directional 90° head can come in especially handy. Additionally, you can clip on a keychain to a lapel, or have it dangle precariously like a kitten in a tree branch. Did you know Nitecore makes NVG mount compatible versions of the HC headlamps series? The HC60M v2 and HC65M v2 are NVG mount compatible for heavy duty ballistics helmets which are worn by some fire departments. In all honesty there is every flavor of hands free lighting possible the most important factor is up to user preference.


Finally, the most important aspect is signaling. In a blaze where visibility is low, the roar of flames, the cacophony of falling debris, the lamentations of those in peril, may prove communication rather difficult. This is where lights like the NU series signal lights, or even something like a Tiki clipped to a lapel would serve as the proverbial beacon in the dark. A quick way to visually identify fellow firemen and signal for aid without fumbling around with a radio.


Specialized Tools

I cannot recall the amount of times I have had to come up with a legitimate reason why anyone really needs glass breakers on the bezel of a flashlight. The most obvious scenario is the, you accidentally drove the car into a river, water is fast flowing into the cabin and the reverse pressure is keeping you from opening the door. (then of course the second obvious, dog or infant trapped in hot vehicle). However, as I began to write this post, it dawned on me how incredibly potent the stainless steel bezel with its silicone nitrided ceramic inlays would be in the hands of a fireman. Debris, and other hazardous materials may block his path, nothing so immense it requires him to pull out the trusty fire axe, but just enough to clear away with a P20i, or P20iX.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *