Extrication gloves are heavy duty work gloves which are designed for use by first responders. These gloves provide lots of protection for the hands while also permitting manual dexterity, allowing the user a full range of motion so that he or she can assist with extrication procedures. Some extrication gloves are also fire-resistant, although these gloves are generally not approved as hand protection for firefighting. Extrication gloves are available through companies which supply equipment to firefighters and police, and directly through manufacturers as well.
Classically, extrication gloves are worn in extrications, procedures in which a victim is removed from an unstable environment for treatment. Car extrications are among the most common form of extrication, but people can also be extracted from structurally damaged homes, aircraft, and so forth. These gloves can also be used for other heavy-duty tasks which put the hands at risk for abrasions and cuts.
Essentially, extrication gloves act like armor for the hands. They have thick flexible plating which provides coverage without impeding movement, and they are made with thick materials which protect the hand. Some are designed to be worn with glove liners, while others can be worn as-is, and the wrist is usually elasticized so that debris cannot enter the glove. Extrication gloves are also resistant to cuts and tears from protrusions, such as metal flanges created by the Jaws of Life™ when a car is opened up for an extrication.
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It is important to fit extrication gloves properly, or they will be less effective. The gloves should fit snugly enough to provide protection, while allowing the user to move his or her hands freely. Gloves which are too big can fall off or promote chafing, while small gloves may be uncomfortable or awkward to wear. It is also usually not advisable to wear extrication gloves belonging to someone else, as gloves conform to the hands of their users over time.
In addition to being used in rescue operations, these gloves can also be useful for heavy duty tasks like working with heavy machinery or handling construction debris. Some construction workers, mechanics, and other people in rough jobs like to use extrication gloves to protect their hands on the job. When well treated, a pair can last a long time. Firefighters are usually issued extrication gloves and care instructions along with their uniforms, but they can also buy their own gear if they prefer.