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Everything you need to create the ultimate firefighter ‘man cave’

From a mega-flatscreen TV to a novelty fire alarm light switch, check out this starter guide to completing your firefighter basement


By Dryw Keltz

Caves have come a long way since early man was taking their first stabs at modern civilization, but for every newly carved wheel or crude piece of pottery that Stone-Agers may have proudly displayed in their actual cave, there is a 6-foot-tall Ms. Pac-Man arcade machine or a life-size cardboard cut-out of Rocky IV’s power villain, Ivan Drago, that modern man is proudly showing off in their suburban basement.

These dedicated household spaces go by many names – “bonus room,” “alone zone,” “basement getaway” and, of course, “man cave,” although these zones are certainly not the stomping grounds of men alone. Women are getting their cave game on as well.

Let’s review the essential items to create the ultimate firefighter man cave or basement getaway.

What do you have in your firefighter basement or man cave? Send us your pictures.

Sprawling flatscreen TV



Your first step is to find the largest flat screen TV you can afford that will fit in your cave. You work hard during your shifts, and you deserve a gigantic TV to veg out in front of while you are away from work but still daydreaming about firehouse life. Enjoy a favorite fire buff movie like “Ladder 49,” “Backdraft” or “The Towering Inferno,” or stream some quality TV like “Rescue Me” or “Chicago Fire” in big screen style.

Zero in on something that is over 80 inches, includes Bluetooth and pairs seamlessly with a modern gaming system such as the PlayStation 5. Sure, you could buy a decent used car for the same amount of money that a killer flatscreen TV will cost, but will the used car impress your friends with its stunning picture quality?

Cozy Recliner



Let’s face it, you’re not standing in front of your mega-flatscreen TV; you’re kicking back – and that requires comfort, especially after all the man cave guests have departed and you’re in need of a recharge. Enter one of the less sensationalized features of the man cave – the recliner, aka the cave nap zone. There is likely an old sofa that ended up in your man cave that was found on Craigslist or at the end of a neighbor’s driveway. That’s a start, but to reach your optimal sleep, you need a state-of-the-art reclining chair that offers both comfort and body repair. Consider a zero-gravity recliner that’s designed to take stress off your spine, improve circulation and alleviate lower back pain.

Compact fridge



Any man cave should be stocked with an array of beverages of all types – and you need a way to keep them cool. Think more along the lines of a dorm fridge than the behemoth found in your kitchen. Consider it a bonus if you can find something in a vibrant red to pay homage to your favorite profession. Zero in on something that includes tight space features such as a reversible door option so the fridge’s door can open to the left or right, depending on your preference

and room layout. A side-mounted bottle opener is another clutch feature for cracking open cold, bottled beverages.

Perfect ending to a long day at the firehouse.


Framed movie posters

Now it’s time to bling-up those barren cave walls. You love firefighting. You love movies. Why not show your allegiance with some posters full-size film posters?

Quality challenge coin display

The movie posters will only fill up so much space, so why not showcase your many challenge coins that represent the brotherhood and sisterhood connections you’ve made over the years? Target a challenge coin display with quality construction that has five or six tiers which can hold around 50 coins total. Also consider one that is designed to stand on a flat surface such as a table, counter or bookshelf in case your available wall space is minimum.





Mighty display case

You have worked hard to get where you are in the fire industry, so why not dedicate a portion of your cave to exhibiting some of your most prized memorabilia? You can use this space to display items such as your first helmet, helmet shields, photos from training and incidents, remembrances of the fallen, and fire-focused books.

Ping-pong (and other games)

What good is a man cave minus human competing? Conversation is great, but sport is essential! Darts, pool and foosball are all acceptable man cave competitions, but the be-all, end-all sport of the man cave is ping pong. Of course, ample space for a ping pong table is a necessity. Zero in on a table that is fully laminated, warp-resistant and regulation size. Target a thickness that will yield a consistent bounce. Also look for a table that you can fold up halfway to practice your shots solo; this feature will allow you to fold up the table for quick storage while it’s not in use.

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Powerful speaker

A truly classic man cave feature is a turntable, but for the firefighter who hasn’t completely hopped on board the vinyl resurgence bandwagon, a quality Bluetooth speaker will serve as a worthy substitute. Just fire up your favorite playlist on Spotify, and let this speaker crank out the tunes. Go after a unit that will deliver at least 50 watts of power and features a 3.5mm audio jack in case you need a wired connection. Keep in my something that will be both sonically and visually appealing to your cave crew.

· Turn it up: The Marshall Acton III Bluetooth Home Speaker



Energizing coffee station

Coffee walks a fine line between delicious beverage and requisite stimulant to remain awake. Chances are both you and your cave colleagues are going to be craving a cup of hot java at some point during your cave games, so a coffee station is a great call. You’ve already got a lot going on in your cave, though, so consider a streamlined setup that will take up minimal space.



Finishing touches





Bonus: The ultimate FD callback – the fire pole

In the late 1800s, a Chicago firefighter named David Kenyon had the original idea for sliding down a pole to increase response times during fire alarms. His first attempt was a wooden pole that was three inches in diameter, but by 1880, the Boston Fire Department had a pole made of brass. These days, fire departments are phasing out the fire pole due to injuries such as sprained ankles and the danger of randomly falling into hole. Still, a fire pole in a man cave would be a stellar feature.

FireRescue1 Community “Man Cave” Gallery

What do you have in your firefighter basement or man cave? Send us your pictures.

About the author

Dryw Keltz is a freelance writer living in San Diego County. He has written hundreds of news features, human interest profiles, and film and music reviews over the course of his 20-plus-year career. Keltz has a bachelor’s degree in English writing with an emphasis on creative non-fiction from the University of Pittsburgh.