By Mark van der Feyst
Many bunker gear manufacturers are incorporating a Class II harness into the pants to provide the firefighter with a harness for aerial- and ground-ladder operations and for firefighter window bailouts. The harness has a rated clasp that the firefighter buckles when donning the pants.
This clasp can be either an insert type or a self-closing hook-and-latch type. Either way, the waist strap of the harness can be exposed to the Velcro enclosure system of the pants. When the bunker pants are folded or pushed down around the boots ready for donning, the Velcro patch rubs against the strap. This chaffing starts to erode the waist strap; this can led to the waist strap eventually failing.
To protect against this chaffing, one manufacturer recommends keeping the pants enclosure closed when doffing the pants so that the Velcro patch is not exposed.