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Tools and Uniforms

Three Decades of Improvement 

The evolution of New York City firefighters’ gear over 30 years is displayed using mannequins on our first floor. These mannequins are dressed with the protective outer garments and breathing apparatus used by firefighters in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. All three represent members of truck companies, and are surrounded by some of the forcible entry tools and rescue equipment they would use on the job, including the versatile Halligan tool. The Halligan is unique because, unlike many other tools in the fire service, it was designed specifically for firefighting and made by a firefighter, Chief Hugh Halligan. Dramatic differences can be seen in the transition from the turnout coat of the 1970’s to the bunker gear of today, while the basic form of the firefighter’s helmet has remained relatively unchanged. This exhibit allows visitors to compare firefighting today to what it was like a century or more ago.

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