By Mark van der Feyst
Every structural firefighting jacket purchased today will come with some form of drag rescue device (DRD) that can be easily reached from the upper back. This device has been designed to help rapid intervention teams or interior firefighters drag a downed firefighter to safety.
When the DRD is pulled from the back access panel, two big loops close around the firefighter's upper arms much like a girth hitch.
The DRD is located between the turnout coat's outer shell and inner liner. It can be inspected easily by lifting the outer shell. For the DRD to work properly, it must be correctly set by the manufacturer or the third-party cleaning company.
On our fire department, gear came back twice with the DRD not set correctly. It was caught by the firefighter while doing his daily gear inspection on one set and during a training evolution on the other set. Take the time to inspect the DRD to make sure it is set correctly after the coat has been cleaned.