1. #1
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    Question Helmets and NFPA compliance

    Our department is looking at the possiblity of replacing our helmets with either the Cairns 880 or 1010. We have always used the standard faceshield in the past. We now have some guys that would like to get the Bourkes and Goggle setup (to remain NFPA compliant).

    My question is, is it still NFPA compiant if the department issues the helment with the 4" faceshield, then the individual has the option of buying and installing the bourkes and goggles? I had read somewhere that the helment has to come from the factory with the bourkes/goggles already on them to be compliant, and that you couldn't simply add them yourselves. Is this true? If so, can someone point me in the direction to find this information?

    Thanks.

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    This one has been kicked around before, but what the heck here's some info.

    We have the similar situation at my station. I actually spoke to an OSHA rep and his explanation was exactly what was stated in your post. In order be compliant the helmet has to come from the factory as it will be used and cannot be altered after the fact.

    I told him my opinion of that(biting my tongue a few times) and he stated that he understands that you are technically making helmet have better eye protection by adding goggles, but the theory behind the ruling is that the construction of the helmet was certified based on factory specs for construction with 'x' options.

    I don't know what I believe, but in order to be compliant and keep guys happy at the same time, we are phasing in new helmets. If you are happy with yours, keep it. If you want a different set of options, we will get you one either when your current is in need of replacement or when we get new members. In our setup probies get hand me down gear initially (if we have something that fits safely). The plan is your existing helmet goes to a guy who hasn't proven his worth yet and you get the new one as a 'reward' for your time and service.

    I guess it makes sense. I'm happy because we are changing up officer colors so the 5 of us are getting new lids anyway.

    Was that clear as mud?????

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    Default Re: Helmets and NFPA compliance

    Originally posted by ForestOhioFF
    My question is, is it still NFPA compiant if the department issues the helment with the 4" faceshield, then the individual has the option of buying and installing the bourkes and goggles? I had read somewhere that the helment has to come from the factory with the bourkes/goggles already on them to be compliant, and that you couldn't simply add them yourselves. Is this true? If so, can someone point me in the direction to find this information?
    Technically, I believe that it is NOT compliant to remove the visor and install goggles. The helmet has a label certifying that it was manufactured to the NFPA standard. Once you alter it, it is no longer manufactured to the standard. Replacement visors must be from the helmet manufacturer; goggles, if permitted as a retrofit, would have to be from the manufacturer of the helmet. Installing flip-down shields on your own may void any warranty protection from the manufacturer.

    I cannot find my copy of NFPA 1971, but I encourage you to reference it.
    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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    Thanks for your replies. I was afraid that this would be the situation. I have a feeling that when the time comes to buy the helmets, the department will only buy the 4" faceshield for 2 reasons:

    1. So that all issued gear is the same
    2. It is cheaper ($40 more for the bourke/goggles)

    I don't blame them for this at all, but I wish there was a way for us to add bourkes/goggles and still be compliant.

    Thanks.

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    Personal opinion....Bourkes are useless, they protect nothing. Face shield at least protects to a little degree something coming at your face. Goggles are good as they protect your eyes. Best solution, face shield and goggles. Again, just my opinion.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    We use face shields, I can leave my glasses on (they are safty glasses), the goggles and my glasses won't fit together. What are bourkes?
    Stay Safe ~ The Dragon Still Bites!

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    here they are ................
    Last edited by Weruj1; 10-30-2010 at 09:27 PM.
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    Thanks Weruj1: I have an "old leather" hanging on my wall with that type shield, wondered what it was called.
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    Originally posted by Bones42
    Personal opinion....Bourkes are useless, they protect nothing. Face shield at least protects to a little degree something coming at your face. Goggles are good as they protect your eyes. Best solution, face shield and goggles. Again, just my opinion.
    Well, we have both helmets from our dealer to look at, and they both have the 4" shield. If you ask me, those look completely worthless. They barely come down to nose level, and they are far from your face. If anything came flying at your face, it wouldn't do much.

    As far as goggles, no one wears them, and they never will. They are too bulky and a pain in the arse to deal with. The few that have them on our department never wear them. Most everyone has a pair of safety glasses for MVA's and other non-fire stuff. The only time a shield or bourkes would be used is in an overhaul situation, and the bourkes would probably not be any better or worse than the shield.

    So, given the choice, I'll take the bourkes/goggles and put the goggles in my bunker pants, or better yet, just leave them behind on the rack.

    Just my 2.

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    ForestOhioFF,

    You make a point that I agree with. Here is my personal opinion that comes from experience. I've worn both face shields and Bourkes. I curently wear bourkes.

    The faceshield broke often, made helmet off balanced and as you note sits quite a distance from the wearers face. It really did no better or worse than the bourkes as far as preventing stuff in the eyes, but had all those additional disadvantages.

    The bourkes have work just fine for me. Never seen them break and they don't make the helmet off balanced.

    I recomend having the goggles in the pocket or on the rig if you want them for overhaul and such. No one should think any more or less of you. We are all adults and it is up to you what you feel comfortable with. They should not be on the helmet as they get covered and filled with all kinds of debris you wouldn't want on your face or near your eyes(ie. insulation) And one should have bourkes in case you don't have the goggles ready or they break or are filled with debris, etc.

    Do what makes you feel safe to do the job; don't give me a hard time about my bourkes and I won't give you a hard time about your goggles.

    FTM-PTB

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    That reminds me...

    I would like to find a nice little nomex/what have you protective cover for my goggles on my helmet. My old sweat sock looks like hell and smells worse, but it does do the job.

    If anybody knows where to get a easy on/off goggle protective cover made from some material that wont melt (IE Nomex, etc...) the please let me know.

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    Originally posted by FFFRED
    I recomend having the goggles in the pocket or on the rig if you want them for overhaul and such. No one should think any more or less of you. We are all adults and it is up to you what you feel comfortable with. They should not be on the helmet as they get covered and filled with all kinds of debris you wouldn't want on your face or near your eyes(ie. insulation) And one should have bourkes in case you don't have the goggles ready or they break or are filled with debris, etc.

    Do what makes you feel safe to do the job; don't give me a hard time about my bourkes and I won't give you a hard time about your goggles.

    FTM-PTB
    Actually, it is not up to you or anyone else as an adult to use "what you feel comfortable with." OSHA (and non-OSHA states must meet the minimum as well) requires the use of ANSI rated eye protection in certain situations. The facepiece lens on an NFPA SCBA meets ANSI for eye protection; so do NFPA goggles. NFPA visors do not meet ANSI for eye protection, but do for face protection. Bourkes/flip downs do not meet ANY standard.

    God only gave you two eyes...treat them well.
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    Originally posted by firemanjb


    Actually, it is not up to you or anyone else as an adult to use "what you feel comfortable with." OSHA (and non-OSHA states must meet the minimum as well) requires the use of ANSI rated eye protection in certain situations. The facepiece lens on an NFPA SCBA meets ANSI for eye protection; so do NFPA goggles. NFPA visors do not meet ANSI for eye protection, but do for face protection. Bourkes/flip downs do not meet ANY standard.

    God only gave you two eyes...treat them well.
    Which is why I would be getting the bourke/goggle combo. I would be NFPA and ANSI compliant. And as far as use of the goggles and/or faceshield, I would be using ANSI standard safety glasses instead.

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    I think that one of the major issues with installing Bourkes as an aftermarket item is that you have to drill holes in the helmet to mount them (am I correct in this?). I know that in industry where I work you cannot (legally) drill any holes in a hard hat or other protective headgear. I think that this is why any choice of eye protection should be a factory installed item...punching holes in your lid will void your warranty, at best, and may weaken the structure of the helmet at worst.

    Also, as someone else stated, Bourkes do not meet any standard for protective eyewear. Faceshields alone are only considered SECONDARY eye protection....they must be used in conjuntion with either safety glasses or goggles (PRIMARY eye protection). If I recall the standard correctly (there was a thread about this on the forums a while back). I'll agree that the Bourkes look cool and give the helmet a nice "traditional" look but actually using them is not NFPA compliant.

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    dmleblanc...you are correct... That is why you are "supposed" to have them installed at the factory.

    Bones...Although I like the bourques, I tend to agree with you. The only thing I find them useful for is looking up when pulling ceilings. If they are installed correctly (close enough to your face) they are good for that.
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    Originally posted by captstanm1
    The only thing I find them useful for is looking up when pulling ceilings. If they are installed correctly (close enough to your face) they are good for that.
    Which is part of my point. Have you seen the 4" faceshields they are putting on these helmets? They wouldn't do anything for you, even when pulling ceilings! Except maybe give you a facefull of plaster and insulation.

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    ForestOhioFF,

    That is my point as well. I've worn both and I currently wear Bourkes.

    The only thing I find them useful for is looking up when pulling ceilings. If they are installed correctly (close enough to your face) they are good for that.
    Exactly what else are they for than that? Isn't that what they are intended for? The bourkes are closer to the eyes than the faceshield and that is what makes them supperior to the shield

    The angle of approach with the faceshield is so large. The borkes are more reliable (they don't typcially break like the faceshields would and they don't make the helmet off-balanced.)

    As for Bourkes not being OSHA compliant, firemanjb, They came on my OSHA compliant helmet, Which is a law not a standard.

    Are you guys firemen or buffs?...
    "Bourkes look cool" or "traditional looking"
    My bourkes are for my eye protection and they worked just fine as of last week. They were invented by a FDNY fireman who wanted eye protection when "traditionaly" helmets had no eye protection. My complaints about faceshields have nothing to do with their looks, just thier functionality.

    It isn't up to us as what to wear? Really You only follow what the NFPA says? Does your Dept currently meet (or have a schedual of complaince) for NFPA 1500 or 1710? If you do you are in the vast minority.

    Do you have stickers, photos or rubber straps with chocks, flashlights and nails on your helmet? (if not you should) Those aren't NFPA approved and they are after market alterations not approved by the Manufacturer. Thus not being NFPA compliant and voids the waranty. (although I had my suppension just fixed under warranty even though it had all the above.)

    If a brother wants to improve the safety equipment by removing the faceshield and placing bourkes and goggles on there...more power to him. The reason the NFPA rules state that he must purchase a new helmet is because the helmet makers want you to spend more money and buy more of their products. They want to increase the purchase cycle so as to improve thier business. If this brother dosen't have the money to do this, it is understandable and I see no problem with doing it yourself.

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 12-22-2003 at 01:29 PM.

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    FFFred
    I was not even going to respond to your jabs but I will. Looking at the number of posts you have made I see you have limited exposure to the forums.
    Are you guys firemen or buffs?...
    Can't speak for others but I am NO Buff. I am a line firefighter and have been in this business for 33 years.

    Exactly what else are they for than that? Isn't that what they are intended for? The bourkes are closer to the eyes than the faceshield and that is what makes them supperior to the shield
    I never said I agreed with the provisions of the standards nor did I say there is anything wrong with the bourques. I had them installed on my helmet when I bought it and I have the goggles instead of the shield. I have been using bourques since they first came out on my leather helmet. I have no qualms about the fact that sometimes I installed them and I have every bit of confidence in my helmet being structurally sound. Does it meet compliance...No.. But..How much warranty is on the helmets anyway? After the warranty runs out is the manufacturer still liable if it fails??? Lastly, I have always contended that the 4" visors are USELESS!

    It isn't up to us as what to wear?
    No...Not really. Your department is liable if they issue you or allow you to wear non-compliant gear. I am sure this will spark the discussion of Standard vs Law, but it is a nationally recognized consensous standard. That is why most departments that allow you a choice of helmets (ie., your own vs an issued one) will allow you to purchase your own and they kick in the amount they normally pay and you pay the difference. In the same light they also require it be NFPA and OSHA Compliant. This covers them. This discussion has nothing to do with other standards.

    they are after market alterations
    I do not think these constitute an alteration as they do not change the physical characteristics of the helmet.
    because the helmet makers want you to spend more money and buy more of their products.
    That has nothing to do with it. The helmet leaves the factory built one way and if you change it physically, then you have changed the physical characteristics of the helmet. When you do this, they can no longer gaurantee it.
    Last edited by captstanm1; 12-22-2003 at 03:45 PM.
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    captstanm1

    They are not jabs. They are my opinion based on my experience that I have gained from working in a wide aray of depts. Nothing more. I'm feel some comments from guys that just dont make any sense. I just happen to have strong opinions on this issue. I will make mine known and you can make yours known as well.

    Also I have been around these forums since their inception and since LHS's first incarnation I chose not to post on topics such as what is the color of the strobes on your rig etc.. So I don't have many posts. As far as my exposure is concerned I regularly read comments on here. And I really don't care if a guy has 1 or 5000 posts. That doesn't add or subtract from the value of his view point.

    As you might note we agree on some things. I didn't direct the buff comment to you. I directed the "buff" comment towards those who made the comments such as "Bourkes only make your helmet look cool or traditional". They are for my protection and work just fine as I used them at a job last week. Helmets traditionally had no eye protection. So leave such "what looks cool" comments for the buff forums.

    It appears my definition of "we" is different than yours. You say it is up to the Dept. Well who makes up the dept. Firemen. Most modern FDs have commitees or R&D depts that deal with such issues as helmets and gear. From the brother who started the topic originally it would seem his dept and many members are wanting to look at modifying the helmet. It would be up to them if they wanted a change and researched the subject and presented it in a manner in which the vast majorty of the dept agreed on a type of gear. The Chief in the Ivory tower is a thing of the past and should have been left in the 60s. The Chief should take advice and utilize the energy and experince of the members who are looking to improve their working conditions.

    I just read the papers that came with my helmet(you know the papers most guys toss out when they get the helmet.) I won't clutter the forums with all the legal BS that was in there. However if you read it any modification is not allowed. I know chiefs who make that argument on a regular basis because they have a problem about letting members carry chocks and flashlights on the lid or even placing stickers. I've also heard the same from manufacturers reps. What do they claim...it is a liablility and if you are injured or worse you won't be covered.

    What happens to these guys if the gear doesn't meet NFPA??? We all know probably nothing. There are probably 1000s of NFPA "sugestions" that aren't followed in this guys dept. And few are probably noticed. So why are we such sticklers on this issue of eye protection and not NFPA 1500 or 1710??? What happens if they don't meet the above standards??? Nothing as well. What happened to the liability issue?

    Depending on interpretation if one removes a faceshield and puts on a set of goggles the helmet while still replacing NFPA compliant gear with NFPA compliant gear isn't kosher with the Helmet manufacturers or NFPA standard as I have read and understood it.

    I don't view the manufacturer's intentions as quite as altruistic as you do. Just as the IAFF has Union issues at the heart of its concerns the Manufacturers have the almighty dollar and priffit margins at the forefront of theirs. Not that there is anything wrong with that. That is the capitalistic system we are in and they have every right to pursue a profit.

    This is just my opinion from my view point and my expierence. Thats all.

    FTM-PTB

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    Just for clarity sake, Fred, it's just not NFPA standards for PPE in Ohio. Agree or disagree with NFPA "standards" as they relate to personal protective equipment, those standards have the force of law in Ohio as the Ohio Administrative Code Section 4121-1-21-2 requires that your gear meet the pertinent NFPA standards. That pretty much limits your choices here. It's also in there that any holes in your lid had to have been put there by the manufacturer.
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    Thanks Steamer,

    That does clear up a few things. I know a few states mandate such rules. However I wasn't aware Ohio was one of them.

    I do have a question were the NFPA standards adopted accross the board or did the legislature pick and choose certain ones?

    Many states don't have such laws and even some that do have administrative rules and laws have weak enforcement and weaker fines.

    FTM-PTB

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    They've pretty much done the "pick and choose" thing so far with NFPA. Things like standards for motorized fire apparatus, ladders, and so forth are the only non-fire prevention standards adopted into law as references up to this point. At least off the top of my head, those are the only ones I can think of.

    The two in two out standard wasn't adopted into law in Ohio until last month. Nothing like being on the cutting edge.
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    Originally posted by FFFRED

    As for Bourkes not being OSHA compliant, firemanjb, They came on my OSHA compliant helmet, Which is a law not a standard.

    Are you guys firemen or buffs?... My bourkes are for my eye protection and they worked just fine as of last week. They were invented by a FDNY fireman who wanted eye protection when "traditionaly" helmets had no eye protection. My complaints about faceshields have nothing to do with their looks, just thier functionality.
    An OSHA compliant helmet meets a certain level of impact protection; I believe it is equivalent to a normal hard hat. That's it. OSHA doesn't set a standard for flame resistance/retardance, greater impact protection at various temperature extremes, etc. NFPA, however, does.

    While the bourkes may have worked fine to date, it does not necessarily mean they are safe. What impact testing has been done on bourkes?

    How long did you ride a tailboard without getting hurt, or stand in an apparatus responding "hot" without getting hurt?

    We, as the fire service, need to stop relating the absence of bad events as meaning safe practices were followed.
    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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    Originally posted by FFFRED
    I don't view the manufacturer's intentions as quite as altruistic as you do. Just as the IAFF has Union issues at the heart of its concerns the Manufacturers have the almighty dollar and priffit margins at the forefront of theirs. Not that there is anything wrong with that. That is the capitalistic system we are in and they have every right to pursue a profit.
    The manufacturers are not NFPA. Firefighters, fire officers, fire chiefs, fire training academies, and even the NFA have members serving on NFPA committees. Profit does not decide the performance specifications of helmets or anything else covered by NFPA...reasonable firefighter safety is the primary issue.
    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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