BLF firefighter flashlight?

Most of my guys would use a light for interior firefighting. Scene lighting is supplied and adequate in most departments. Command doesn’t really need a light unless it’s a fast attack. Medical can be addressed with a $5.00 penlight. Safety does need a light but a whole different type and a BLF Q8 actually fits nicely :D. The light selection for actual firefighting is limited and often very expensive.


This is why I suggest a brighter more penetrating beam.

It seems you may be a bit of a light buff (as I’ve become) but most of the guys don’t know much about lights. Most firefighters still rely on supplied lights or lights from local hardware stores. That’s why I was hoping for something effective and priced within reason. I am not AWARE of something that fits the bill like it could/should.

I don’t know about the beam on these but maybe these would be a good starting point. In my opinion a helmet mount is a need because it’s hands free. Being able to remove it for hand held use is a plus and a decent narrow beam would be helpful in smoke because that is where it is most critical. I like your idea about a simple switch with a couple settings. I know a narrow beam could work with a little more intensity/power.

I’ve been a career firefighter for 33 years and have seen many changes including technology in lights. It would be great if a little bit of that technology could focus (Pun intended) on a decent light for firefighters. Most of us are still forced to buy our own personal lights because the mainstream suppliers can still milk the municipalities with out dated and very expensive lights.

As to whoever mentioned the police, their needs are very much different from ours.

I’m not here to argue with anyone. I just thought I’d throw out a suggestion to those who have such depth of knowledge on this topic. Maybe a mount for an existing light or an upgrade/tweak to a mountable light or maybe there is one that exactly suits that I don’t know about. One thing I’m sure about is there are those here who have skills and perhaps interest in problems related to lights and, it seems, a desire to tinker with ideas.


Questor, did you see this one?
I think it might be perfect for you

(Quite expensive though)

Very nice, but wow on the price.

It would still need to be mounted plus batteries plus charger.

It is nice but probably overkill in a number of ways.

Thanks for pointing it out though.

Ummm, DV-S9 or similar? (See above.)

I was searching the forum for a some firefighter light recommendations. The information about firefighter needs in this threat are good.

Can anyone chime in about newer lights that would fit the bill?

In need of several lights:

  1. A helmet light to penetrate smoke/fog for fires, I’m assuming tint and reflector will be an important factor.
  2. Another helmet light for motor vehicle accidents (MVA) to illuminate the immediate working space in front of me. This involves cutting and sheering metal and glass. Extricating victims, so being able to see blood is important. Scene lighting is often inadequate. Think of a rollover situation or working against a guardrail where scene lighting can’t get to. This light needs to have good runtime at medium to high output for the duration of the call/extrication and in case there’s another call immediately after.
  3. A right angle jacket/turnout coat light for fires and extra scene lighting.
    *All of these lights should have a button that can be used with thick gloves.
    *Weight is also a factor, especially on the helmet lights.

4) Water search and rescue light. Typically this involves being on high speed water craft, being close to and searching the water surface, up close and at a distance. The lights provided by the department are horrible. The beam bounces off the water, creating a V shaped beam, which makes it very difficult to see and search the water surface. You’re practically blinded by two beams. It also causes to illuminates the shoreline if close enough, this again bounces back the light. But more importantly, the darker the shoreline the easier to see on the water.
5) A thrower without much spill to illuminate the shoreline or farther distance.
*these light MUST have long runtime at sustained high output.
*they can be handheld.

Any suggestions or recommendations welcome

Streamlight 90503 Survivor LED is what our dept issues us. I still carry a convoy s2+ in my pocket.

Like it was said before, the light has to be approved, you can not just bring what you want, My friend works for transit rail company, they are only allowed to use agency approved gear, he once brought to work a light that i build, since it had green\red leds, which he needs to direct train traffic, before the day was over, he was called in to his supervisor, was told that 2 train operators complained, his light was blinding them, he was told to only use approved gear, they take it very seriously, lights that approved in his dept are lame plastic pelicans and bright stars.

The Survivor is good. But I don’t want to use their helmet light. It’s too overpriced for what it is. Plenty good lights with similar functionality at more affordable prices available.

Yes, the s2+ is trusty, but with integrated charging so prevalent I wouldn’t mind upgrading. Plus with the new emitters that are available now I’d love to have some more/new options.

This sounds like a government or union joint. We’re an all volunteer outfit. Almost everyone has their own lights, mostly store brought stuff, and other tools to get the job done.

What beam color penetrates smoke or fog and still has enough light to see the surroundings?

@Tender. As you spell out above, you need five different lights. The one advantage to the clunky streamlight stuff is that it’s not so bright that it’s blinding the firefighters or EMS around you when you turn in their direction. As soon as you start throwing more than 100 lumens out in front that becomes a problem. So if it’s going to have more than 100 lumens you have to be able to turn it on and off or adjust it quickly and easily if it is helmet or chest or pocket mounted. That is the biggest obstacle as I see it. Some version of an S2+ probably is the best option for a pocket carry. Many different LED and driver and UI options. I would pick something at 4000k or less. It might actually be a good choice for one of the two different helmet lights you need also. Again there are so many LED and reflector and floody versus throwing options. A very floody 50,100,200 lumen small, easy to operate, rechargeable, high CRI 3000k, second helmet light is also required but what that would be?, I don’t know.

For fog/smoke, you want as warm-white a beam as you’re comfortable with. Cooler-white beams just scatter and reflect back back at you.

For less spill, get a light with a big-ass TIR lens in front, like a Catapult Mini and/or IF22A. The Cat has a way tighter beam but isn’t as bright, whereas the IF22A has a wider beam but is brighter and has more reach.

Dunno about right-angle lights, but I’m sure people will chime in.

Helmet-light to see das blut, you’d want a “high-CRI emitter with high R9 value”. I’m sure others will chime in which lights have the appropriate emitter. People like the 519.

Not sure about the beam profile you’d want/need, though. Reflectors will have the usual hotspot + spill. TIR lenses will have a nice uniform hotspot, size determined by the emitter and lens. You could get a small tight beam like I mentioned with the Cat Mini, or a wider beam like the IF22A, to wider and quite useful at close range beams like from the E2L and other triples/quads. Finally, if you want a wide-angle blanket of even light, an aspheric lens is wonderful. (But get a fixed lens like a Pokelit and not a zoomie because a zoomie is about as watertight as a cardboard cereal-box.) Yet Another Possibility is to get a regular reflector light and slap on some diffusion film to smooooooth out the beam for wider angle close-in viewing. I got a Tacklife with a tight beam which really isn’t useful around the house, that with diffusion film applied to the inner-side of the front glass, makes it a much more useful light with a nice diffuse beam.

I’m a volunteer and we still budget for gear for our firefighters. Sounds like ya’ll need to get somebody in there that knows how to apply for grants and start running the books better.

Oh, and there are lights like the venerable Q8 with tapped ¼–20 threads that can be mounted on tripods and similar.

And don’t forget dive-lights for the ultimate in waterproofness (if that’s even a word).

I'm no firefighter, but in the summer i cook on a grill outside, there is always lots of smoke, i noticed it absolutely does not matter whether you got cool white or warm white, neither goes thru smoke, all reflect and scatter, warm however is easier to the eye. now if you want the light get thru smoke, as much as it is at all possible, best is to use narrow beam with little to no spill, it is the spill that reflects and creates whitewash in front of you. However you still will not get a clean tunnel of light thru smoke.

Hi, I’m new here. I’m a 10-year volunteer FF, state structure, hazmat, heavy engineer, wildland sqwadee, EMT. I’m the department’s PPE wrangler and live practice fire circus director.

I issue the Streamlight Survivor Right-Angle LED AA-Alkaline to our structure firefighters. It does not interfere with air packs.
Have the Streamlight Vantage helmet light.
Have the Nitecore MT06MD Medical Flashlight AAA
Have Powerflare LED road flares in lithium
Have Petzl Pixa 3 AA

Starting at the top and bottom; AA batteries are regular stock items for federal incidents like floods and wildfires, not AAA, not lithium. I’m spending my own money for lithium batteries. The Petzl Pixa AA is glued on my wildland helmet; I can turn the spotlight on to search in the distance. However, it too-often turns on by itself in my pack, so that’s no good, tho I carry extras. Many rechargeable batteries self-discharge, so they are a point of failure for stored emergency use. As a volunteer agency, we have no daily staffing of working stiffs (only chiefs) and don’t have a daily call response. That right-angle flashlight comes in a rechargeable version, but I wouldn’t want it for EMS. That right-angle has a nice, big fat button and tactile click. I use one daily in my garage because it stands up on it’s own.

Two things I don’t like about the helmet light: (1) it uses lithium batteries, and (2) mine is the original version with a big flip switch that could be accidentally be turned on in storage (hasn’t actually happened, best that my bad memory remembers?). The main complaint is that when it’s dead on a fire, I’m likely out of luck.

I don’t think any color light makes a difference penetrating smoke. Thick smoke means you can’t see your hands or feet, are crawling on the floor, sweeping (groping) for victims. That means my right-angle light is pressed against the floor and no good to anybody. The color of smoke is actually kinda significant.

I use Eneloop AAA in the Nitecore MT06MD Medical Flashlight due to their low self-discharge. This flashlight offers low lumens for checking pupils, and then clicks up bright enough to look for lost patients in the bushes. My complaint is that the clip on this flashlight makes it ride too high in a pocket and is more likely to get lost. It’s small enough diameter that I can put it in my mouth like a cigar.

The Powerflare LED could come in rechargeable or lithium, but I got lithium for better storage. I carry these in my personal car because I respond to medical calls in my own car and then stick these on the roof so the ambulance can find me. They have many lighting patterns, but I think that “flashing” patterns are disorienting to drivers, so I use the circular pattern.

When we got new air packs, the new packs self-discharged in 1/3 of the time as the old packs. I cried wolf before we ordered, but nobody listened. At least the packs do not need batteries to deliver air, they only need air in the bottle.

I think the most important quality is that the light turns on when you need it. That means it won’t accidentally turn on by itself and you don’t have to go searching for special batteries.

Exactly this. And you’re absolutely correct about the clunky streamlights and too many lumens.

This is some great pointers. I got a Pokelit for this purpose and I love the beam. For scene work I could use a little more uniform floody beam and runtime. The Wurkkos TS10 4000k is great. Just want a little more runtime. Based on this discussion, any 11.11 deals worth buying? Willing to try out a few different lights

I do have the original Q8 which I am going to start making use of for search and rescues. And yes, I’ve looked into some Wurkkos dives. Anything you recommend?

This is exactly what I’m looking for. It doesn’t have to be perfect it only has to work for the situation

Thanks. I’ll inquire within!!!

@ralpheburns. You’re on point and great insight. You’re spot on about the availability and ubiquity of AA batteries. Yes about self discharge which is why I ideally I’d like 18650 or 21700. That big fat button on the Survivor and it being AA definitely makes it reliable.

You’re absolutely correct about interior firefighting and visibility. In your experience what’s the best option?

A pen light is a good idea, but out medic and EMTs deal with the victims. We Assemble and get to work extricating… the fun stuff, cutting sheering and smashing. You know, the muscle.

That power flare is a great idea for responding to calls.

Sounds like it was above your pay grade. But not being reliant on batteries is a great advantage.

Couldn’t agree more on this: “I think the most important quality is that the light turns on when you need it. That means it won’t accidentally turn on by itself and you don’t have to go searching for special batteries.” Which is why I’m asking for advice and recommendations.

I get paid a new t-shirt each year. This year I got a fire dog, woof. You outta go medical too; don’t mean you give up extrication or sawing line. Medical can quickly make a difference to someone having the worst day of their life.

The new radios are $2400 - $4500 and ain’t good for much with dead batteries. The AA clamshells are big and fugly and what you want for backup.