1. #1
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    Default Dual Pupose Helmets

    What is the best dual pupose helmet on the market these days?

    Dual purpose as in meeting structural standards, but also being light and cool enough for wildfire use.

    I would imagine this is more of a question for the Western US guys, but if anybody knows any good equipment for this, please let me know.

    IIRC this is common practice for California departments. If anybody from Cali has an input I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks
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    What my N6A isn't a good wildland helmet...... ! Just joking!!!I would say those Phenix helmets, thats what most depts out that way use.
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    Default



    I cant think of anything I would rather do less then wear a leather traditional helmet for a 12 hour long wildfire shift on a 110 degree day while working in close proximity to a running wildfire.

    HOT!!!

    The sweat would be pouring off of your head like a sprinkler system!!!



    While I do love leather traditional fire helmets, I would not consider them dual purpose by any means.

    I am looking into Phenix helmets, they seem like they will fit the bill.

    Anybody have any coments on those?
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
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    Default Re: Dual Pupose Helmets

    Originally posted by SamsonFCDES
    What is the best dual pupose helmet on the market these days?

    Dual purpose as in meeting structural standards, but also being light and cool enough for wildfire use.

    I would imagine this is more of a question for the Western US guys, but if anybody knows any good equipment for this, please let me know.

    IIRC this is common practice for California departments. If anybody from Cali has an input I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks
    I don't have the NFPA standards handy, but I think that wildland hats have a weight limit to be compliant. With the low weight limit, I think it precludes a helmet that meets the tougher structural standard from meeting the wildland standard as well.

    I am not saying you cannot find a helmet that might suit you for both; I just don't think you can find an NFPA-certified helmet approved for both.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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    Cool Two Will Do.....

    I use different helments for different purposes. I have a 1010 for structural firefighting, (OK, for standing around the command post) A Pacific Technical Rescue model for my fun things like jumping off tall buildings on thin ropes, and a "Construction hard hat" style for Brush Fires and other outdoor events. All of my lids have appropriate certified goggles attached for eye protection, and the Brush helment has a nomex ear/neck flap. Works for me, but I can see where budget restraints can limit choices, in particular, if you are not allowed to provide your own, but must use what the dept gives you. Stay Safe....
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    Default Re: Re: Dual Pupose Helmets

    Originally posted by firemanjb


    I don't have the NFPA standards handy, but I think that wildland hats have a weight limit to be compliant. With the low weight limit, I think it precludes a helmet that meets the tougher structural standard from meeting the wildland standard as well.

    I am not saying you cannot find a helmet that might suit you for both; I just don't think you can find an NFPA-certified helmet approved for both.
    I am getting a bit confused again on the NFPA standard/compliance Vs. the NFPA certification. I didnt think that the NFPA would certify any gear, just give guidlines for performance and fuction??? Maybe I am getting OSHA regs confused with NFPA standards???

    In any case, if you are injured wearing say a Phenix helmet on a wildfire, a helmet that provided a higher level of impact and thermal protection, are you going to be in more trouble leagaly/what have you then if you are wearing a wildfire hard hat that provides a lower level of protection? I know, a question for the lawyers, but one that makes me wonder. I realy get tired of this liability CYA BS.

    In any case, I do know that my current wildfire helmet is not compliant for the reason you state JB, it is to heavy. I have a Bullard wildfire full brim helmet with ratchet suspension, a Hotshield UltraShroud, goggle retainer with goggles, a few stickers, and some velcrow strips for attaching flashlights. It is to heavy for the current wildfire standard IIRC, but it works great. My only problem with this is that I have 2 bulky helmets to keep track of and carry around with me when I am to far from the station to respond directly there. I would much sooner have a single helmet that can pass for dual use. If I go out on a rotation on a state or federal fire, then I would probly break out the wildfire hard hat again, but for our local departments use, a dual purpose helmet IMO is the best option.

    So yes, a structure helmet would end up being to heavy, no matter what model you get, but IMO a Phenix or similar helmet is not THAT hevay, at least not heavy enough to be a problem. The only realy concern I have is the helmet being to hot for extended wear. If that is the case the guys will be takeing them off all the time and cooling their beans, but they are unprotected then. Heat stress is a real issue with extended wildfire operations so I want to get some input from guys that have used Phenix or other pasable dual purpose helmets in these conditions.

    JB, just out of curiousity, does Bullard make a possible dual purpose helmet? We have some bullard firedomes around, but they seem like they are to hot for extended wildfire use.
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    Default Re: Two Will Do.....

    Originally posted by hwoods
    I use different helments for different purposes. I have a 1010 for structural firefighting, (OK, for standing around the command post) A Pacific Technical Rescue model for my fun things like jumping off tall buildings on thin ropes, and a "Construction hard hat" style for Brush Fires and other outdoor events. All of my lids have appropriate certified goggles attached for eye protection, and the Brush helment has a nomex ear/neck flap. Works for me, but I can see where budget restraints can limit choices, in particular, if you are not allowed to provide your own, but must use what the dept gives you. Stay Safe....
    Budget is one of the concerns with my department. Issueing 2, and sometimes 3 helmets as you mentioned can get to be a bit more costly then is desireable.

    Other considerations with this single issue dual purpose helmets revolved around the nature of our fire district. We are a rural MT fire district that seems to have dual purpose calls all the time.

    Call it the interface or what have you, it is what we are faced with in our area. We rarely have a structure fire that does not ignight the surrounding wildfire fuel, be it trees or prairie. We rarely have a wildfire that does not end up threatening a structure of some sort, be it a abandoned cabin or a half million dollar ranch house that has been standing for 110 years. We rarely have a vehicle fire that does not set the road ditch on fire, hopefully on the upwind side of the road. It seems that the majority of our calls are dual purpose, so we are thinking to hourselves it would be great to have a dual purpose helmet.

    Phenix seems to be as close and as good as it gets.

    We constantly have the threat of a break away wildfire at nearly every fire call we go to, regaurdless of the nature of the call.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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    Default Re: Re: Re: Dual Pupose Helmets

    Originally posted by SamsonFCDES and edited by JB
    (1) I am getting a bit confused again on the NFPA standard/compliance Vs. the NFPA certification. I didnt think that the NFPA would certify any gear, just give guidlines for performance and fuction??? Maybe I am getting OSHA regs confused with NFPA standards???

    (2) In any case, if you are injured wearing say a Phenix helmet on a wildfire, a helmet that provided a higher level of impact and thermal protection, are you going to be in more trouble leagaly/what have you then if you are wearing a wildfire hard hat that provides a lower level of protection? I know, a question for the lawyers, but one that makes me wonder. I realy get tired of this liability CYA BS.

    (3) JB, just out of curiousity, does Bullard make a possible dual purpose helmet? We have some bullard firedomes around, but they seem like they are to hot for extended wildfire use.
    1. NFPA does not certify anything. Independent testing organizations, such as UL and USTC, will test a product and then certify that it meets the NFPA standard. Very few places require that gear meet NFPA standards. However, if a lawsuit is brought on behalf of an injured firefighter, the NFPA standard will be brought up.

    2. Welcome to the world we have let the lawyers create. If a tree falls on your head, and hurts you through a structural helmet, it would probably have hurt you through a wildland helmet. However, if a firefighter suffers heat exhaustion or takes off his heavy helmet and then gets hit by a tree...well, an attorney could use an NFPA standard against you.

    3. Since you asked (so, no grief on "pushing products"!): http://www.bullard.com/Products/FIRE...l/LThelmet.cfm
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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    Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Dual Pupose Helmets

    Originally posted by firemanjb


    1. NFPA does not certify anything. Independent testing organizations, such as UL and USTC, will test a product and then certify that it meets the NFPA standard. Very few places require that gear meet NFPA standards. However, if a lawsuit is brought on behalf of an injured firefighter, the NFPA standard will be brought up.

    2. Welcome to the world we have let the lawyers create. If a tree falls on your head, and hurts you through a structural helmet, it would probably have hurt you through a wildland helmet. However, if a firefighter suffers heat exhaustion or takes off his heavy helmet and then gets hit by a tree...well, an attorney could use an NFPA standard against you.

    3. Since you asked (so, no grief on "pushing products"!): http://www.bullard.com/Products/FIRE...l/LThelmet.cfm
    Thans for the cearing up of (1).

    2. So, just a rough guess is that if you are subjected to a impact or high thermal exposure that would cause injury through your structure rated helmet, you of course would be injured if you were only wearing a wildfire hard hat. So in that instance, since a higher level of protection was provided to firefigher X, the courts should find that the fire department in question was not negligent in provideing adequate PPE for FF X, and that the helmet actualy provided more then then what the standard level of protection would be. Should be a safe bet to say that you would be clear of liability and such in that case.

    But, if FF X is wearing a structure rated helmet that is a over the NFPS standard for wildfire helmets for weight (at a wildfire), then it is possible that you could be held liable if FF X drops dead of a heart attack. Along these lines could you also be held liable for issueing a dedicated wildfire helmet that is over the recomended weight, such as my current issue lid?

    Also, along those lines, are there any standards for venting or thermal properties of helmets as they pertain to the release of body heat or heat stress? I definatly dont want the guys to be wearing pressure cookers on their heads, but from lawyers point of view, are there any standards or such that would mark a helmet as a liability risk as far as heat stress/heart attacks go? Would weight of the helmet be a factor in this?

    Now, back to our dual purpose calls. What say if we are called to a farm shop fire that has spread to the haystacks and has lit off the hay field behind the farm house. We would respond wearing our dual purpose helmet (be it Phenix or Bullar FDLT ) and bunker gear, probly with our wildland jump packs that have our wildland PPE (minus Helmet). We extinguish the strcuture fire have guys stationed around the haystack working it, now we can chase down the wildfire.

    At what point does the heavy structure helmet become a liability in the eyes of a lawyer? Heat stress is one thing, and we are all aware of it and take appropriate measure to aviod it. But, here you are again in structure gear or a mix of structure gear and wildland PPE, wearing a dual purpose helmet.

    Are we all going to get sued and go to jail?

    I dont expect you to anser all of that JB, it was just what was going through my head while thinking this issue through.

    Damn the lawyers.

    3. We will take a look at those. Thanks
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    Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Dual Pupose Helmets

    Originally posted by SamsonFCDES

    2. So, just a rough guess is that if you are subjected to a impact or high thermal exposure that would cause injury through your structure rated helmet, you of course would be injured if you were only wearing a wildfire hard hat. So in that instance, since a higher level of protection was provided to firefigher X, the courts should find that the fire department in question was not negligent in provideing adequate PPE for FF X, and that the helmet actualy provided more then then what the standard level of protection would be. Should be a safe bet to say that you would be clear of liability and such in that case.
    I do not have the NFPA documents in my office, so I cannot positively confirm that a structural helmet does or does not offer greater impact protection than a wildland helmet. Based on the construction, I am confident that an NFPA structural helmet will survive greater thermal exposure than a wildland helmet. You will have to review the appropriate NFPA docs to be sure. But, if you exceed the protection of the standard, that is a level of legal protection.

    But, if FF X is wearing a structure rated helmet that is a over the NFPS standard for wildfire helmets for weight (at a wildfire), then it is possible that you could be held liable if FF X drops dead of a heart attack. Along these lines could you also be held liable for issueing a dedicated wildfire helmet that is over the recomended weight, such as my current issue lid?
    I am not a lawyer, never have been, and never will be. So, I don't know for sure...I'd imagine there is a slight risk. But, my understanding is that liability must include an establishment of "causation". That means a lawyer would have to show that the heavier helmet caused the cardiac event, rather than the FF's smoking, running 10 miles earlier in the morning, humping a 50 lb pack up a mountain, eating french fries with every meal, etc. Could it be done? Maybe. But "causation" would have to be established.

    Also, along those lines, are there any standards for venting or thermal properties of helmets as they pertain to the release of body heat or heat stress? I definatly dont want the guys to be wearing pressure cookers on their heads, but from lawyers point of view, are there any standards or such that would mark a helmet as a liability risk as far as heat stress/heart attacks go? Would weight of the helmet be a factor in this?
    I am not aware of anything in NFPA or elsewhere. There may be a technical issue, as there is with turnout gear, that keeping heat out usually means keeping heat in too.

    Now, back to our dual purpose calls. What say if we are called to a farm shop fire that has spread to the haystacks and has lit off the hay field behind the farm house. We would respond wearing our dual purpose helmet (be it Phenix or Bullar FDLT ) and bunker gear, probly with our wildland jump packs that have our wildland PPE (minus Helmet). We extinguish the strcuture fire have guys stationed around the haystack working it, now we can chase down the wildfire.

    At what point does the heavy structure helmet become a liability in the eyes of a lawyer? Heat stress is one thing, and we are all aware of it and take appropriate measure to aviod it. But, here you are again in structure gear or a mix of structure gear and wildland PPE, wearing a dual purpose helmet.

    Are we all going to get sued and go to jail?
    Again, it is probably an issue of causation more than anything else. It would probably be a civil action rather than a criminal action, so you should be able to stay out of jail either way

    I dont expect you to anser all of that JB, it was just what was going through my head while thinking this issue through.
    Well, I tried. I'll reiterate: I am not a lawyer. For the record, this is not legal advice offered by me or my company. It is merely an effort to explain what my understanding is of the issues posed. Still, I hope this gives you a little guidance.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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    Default THE BUCK STOPS HERE...

    Here is the deal...The Phenix Fire Helmet is/has been
    used for dual purpose...BUT IT WAS NEVER DESIGNED TO
    DO SO. I know because I asked the people who invented
    it back in the 70s.

    It is very light weight and popular, so some/most
    Firefighters just decided to use it as such. Since out
    here in the wildland, you could be battling brush,
    structure or the combonation, having one relaible
    helmet seemed to be the ideal.

    Yes- NFPA does NOT approve anything.

    Yes- The Phenix helmet EXCEEDS NFPA guildlines.

    Yes- The Phenix 1500 series has been copied by
    other companies.

    Yes- When selecting a tool/PPE, you should more
    than just the "tradition factor."

    No- I do not work for Phenix, I just research the
    best tool for the job.

    Hope this helps out. I heard you will see a lot of
    Phenix helmets in the current issue of FH. Check
    out their website at- www.phenixfirehelmets.com

    -Bou

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