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    Default do leather helmets pass impact tests better than non-leathers ones?

    here's a question that i'm sure has been posted before, but not in this exact way.

    one of my FF2 instructors (who is a career FF with 25 yrs on his dept, a career Lt, and the dept's training officer) told me that when he tried to get his chief to purchase leather helmets for his department, he used the arguement that leather helmets performed the best in the impact test. the chief's response was that the plastic ones (which i know really aren't plastic, but you know what i mean) passed the test too, so they were just as good. his response was that plastic ones passed the test, but only minimally, while the leathers held up much better.

    so here's my question. we all know that both leathers and plastics meet the NFPA requirements for helmet protection. my question is, to anyone who actually know the facts (as well as where they can be verified), did leather helmets actually do better on impact tests than plastics, even though both passed with what the NFPA wanted as a passing grade?
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    Default Re: do leather helmets pass impact tests better than non-leathers ones?

    Originally posted by DrParasite
    here's a question that i'm sure has been posted before, but not in this exact way.

    one of my FF2 instructors (who is a career FF with 25 yrs on his dept, a career Lt, and the dept's training officer) told me that when he tried to get his chief to purchase leather helmets for his department, he used the arguement that leather helmets performed the best in the impact test. the chief's response was that the plastic ones (which i know really aren't plastic, but you know what i mean) passed the test too, so they were just as good. his response was that plastic ones passed the test, but only minimally, while the leathers held up much better.

    so here's my question. we all know that both leathers and plastics meet the NFPA requirements for helmet protection. my question is, to anyone who actually know the facts (as well as where they can be verified), did leather helmets actually do better on impact tests than plastics, even though both passed with what the NFPA wanted as a passing grade?
    The chief doesn't give a fat rat's rump about impact tests...what he sees is [size=huge]

    dollar $ign$
    [/size]

    that are going to take a bigger bite out of his budget.

    Ironically, I have been through many "pleather" and "tactical tupperware" (yes, I had TT when I first got on "da job" ), and the cost of those exceed the cost of a leather...which can last a career if given proper care!
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    cap, that's exactly what my instructor said. because it was cheaper, and passed the minimum requirements, it was good enough to use.

    but have lethers been proven to hold up better on impact tests than TT or pleathers?
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    I always get a kick out of these arguements.....Does anyone think they will survival 25000lbs of force to the head anyway? Leather...Plastic....who cares! Both will protect us from the common objects like sheetrock, wood, and the occational china breakfront.....It won't matter if someone drops a halligan from the top of a 24' ladder on your head if you are wearing leather or plastic...it will still knock you flat on your azz and put you out. Its a matter of tradition, personal preferance, and most of all MARKETING....which means $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$........Much like the Automatics vs. Smooth Bores......
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    The impact test is the standard !!!!!!!!!! All helmets must meet the standard besides the N5A in some places. Vinnies post is on the $$$$, on all fronts, pun intended ! So (lets just say) that leathers took 5 lbs of additonal weight before failing, does it mean it is better than the other helmets that didnt ? I suspect not ........for another reason if that was the case MSA/Cairns would be spending big bucks touting they have the safest helmet.
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    My N6A once "took a ride" (unintentional, but I was having an episode of cranial flatulence at the time and thought it was already in the cab of the rig) on the front bumper of Engine 1, fell off of it in an intersection and went rolling across it. Mty Deputy picked it up off the street and handed it back to me. All it need was a little black paint to cover the "road rash" and it was as good as new. If my lid were "pleather" or "tactical tupperware", it probably would not have survived.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 11-20-2004 at 10:26 AM.
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    My "TT" fell off it's hanging hook at my gear stall, about 7 feet in height. When it hit the cement floor, the shell cracked. I don't equate that to a 24' Halligan drop.
    "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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    Originally posted by Bones42
    My "TT" fell off it's hanging hook at my gear stall, about 7 feet in height. When it hit the cement floor, the shell cracked. I don't equate that to a 24' Halligan drop.
    Then go to the quartermaster and get another "TT".....
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    Try this with your leather helmet...

    I took and old bullard firedome that nobody loved anymore...

    I then took a TNT multi tool, 8 pounds...

    I then applied the sharp side of the head of the TNT to the bullard (sitting on the driveway) with all the force I could muster...

    A small slit appeard in the bullard with <.25 inches of penetraition by the TNT axe head...

    Now try that with you leather helmet and let me know what you find out.

    If leather was supperior impact/pentraition protection then dont you think that ballistic vests would be made of leather instead of stuff like Kevlar and plastics...?
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    Maybe a little off the subject, and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong...

    The N6A (Sam Houston) has a kevlar liner in the impact shell, so that it meets NFPA and OSHA requirements (off course, whether it meets eye protoection standards depends on what eye protection you put on it).

    The N5A (New Yorker) does not have the kevlar liner inside the impact shell, and does not meet the NFPA standard (Although it does meet the OSHA standard).

    Interesting point: A member of the NFPA PPE committee told me the story of a FF he knew that got caught in a flashover. He told me that had this FF been wearing an "LA Style" helmet, and not a Ben II, he would have been killed, as the Ben II, while heavier than the "LA Style" helmet, offers more thermal protection. Fortunatly, the FF made a full recovery.

    Recent statistics do prove, however, that chicks totally dig guys in leather helmets. When asked what they thought of guys in "Tactical Tupperware," the ladies interviewed stated that they thought they were telephone repairmen.

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    I don't understand what's all the fuss about helmets......if your wear a helmet your a sissy.....Next thing yous guys will be telling me is that you close up your turnout coats and pull up your boots....bunch of Marys.......Let me tell you about my last fire....I had fire to the left of me and fire to the right of me, the truck couldn't make the fire floor or the floor above....then the nozzle melted.....I said "wet me down Lou, I'm goin' in".....

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    And what did Vinnie see right before he crawled in? Me, striding out with a baby under each arm with my turnout coat flapping wide open, leather helmet burnt to a nice, alligator-patterned crisp, 2 long snots running from my nose to my belly button!
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    OK, here's the deal on helmets:

    1. The impact test is not the only test. Part of this is penetration, which is determined by how far a pointed object goes through the helmet when dropped from X feet. Part of a helmet test also involves testing how much energy from an impact is transfered to the neck (less is better).

    2. Materials that are highly resistant to penetration tend to have higher impact loads applied to the neck when they are very hot or very cold. Helmets are tested at both extremes. The idea here is that if it stops the object from penetrating, but then breaks your neck in the process, the helmet has not done its job.

    3. Just because a helmet LOOKS good, does not mean that it will actually provide protection. Each impact and heat exposure degrades the integrity of the shell material. This means it cannot withstand its "rated" impact, regardless of the how the shell might appear. Helmets should be replaced as frequently as turnout gear.

    4. For pure impact resistance, I have witnessed non-NFPA tests (firing a 500g slug at a helmet) that indicate the thermoplastic helmets provide the most impact resistance. From a practical standpoint, there is probably little difference in real life.
    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 Wow...

    Originally posted by SamsonFCDES
    If leather was supperior impact/pentraition protection then dont you think that ballistic vests would be made of leather instead of stuff like Kevlar and plastics...?
    Wow! Probably one of the best statements I have ever seen
    written here. I am going to keep that one in my back
    pocket!

    Thanks, Bou

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    Default And, oh...

    Lets me ask you this...How many fire helmet manufacturs out
    the are ISO 9000+ certified?

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    Originally posted by SamsonFCDES
    Try this with your leather helmet...

    I took and old bullard firedome that nobody loved anymore...

    I then took a TNT multi tool, 8 pounds...

    I then applied the sharp side of the head of the TNT to the bullard (sitting on the driveway) with all the force I could muster...

    A small slit appeard in the bullard with <.25 inches of penetraition by the TNT axe head...

    Now try that with you leather helmet and let me know what you find out.

    If leather was supperior impact/pentraition protection then dont you think that ballistic vests would be made of leather instead of stuff like Kevlar and plastics...?
    Why wasn't the old Bullard firedome loved anymore?

    samson...tell ya what... invest in a leather helmet, run your test and let us know what the results are..
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Default Re: And, oh...

    Originally posted by CALFFBOU
    Lets me ask you this...How many fire helmet manufacturs out
    the are ISO 9000+ certified?
    Most, if not all. I think it may be a requirement of NFPA 1971 that the manufacturer of the helmet by ISO 9001 or 9002 certified.
    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: do leather helmets pass impact tests better than non-leathers ones?

    Originally posted by DrParasite
    so here's my question. we all know that both leathers and plastics meet the NFPA requirements for helmet protection. my question is, to anyone who actually know the facts (as well as where they can be verified), did leather helmets actually do better on impact tests than plastics, even though both passed with what the NFPA wanted as a passing grade?
    I guess it boils down to this....if they both pass, what is the difference? Personal choice and some differences in performance will set the two types apart. Gonzo's comment about a leather lasting a lifetime is true, although I am finding that the newer leathers are not as well made as the older ones.(big suprise, they don't make anything like they used too)

    As long as your head is covered, and you can do the job.....

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    Originally posted by CaptainGonzo


    Why wasn't the old Bullard firedome loved anymore?

    samson...tell ya what... invest in a leather helmet, run your test and let us know what the results are..
    The bullard was not loved because...it was yellow. Helmets should never ever be yellow. They need to be black or red. A few whites thrown in if you must.

    You already have a leather helmet, you try it!

    Since Leather is so good it should only add character...right!?!?

    I dont want to waste my money on leather anyway!
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    Default Re: Re: do leather helmets pass impact tests better than non-leathers ones?

    Originally posted by hfd66truck
    I guess it boils down to this....if they both pass, what is the difference?
    well, if you are need to be treated by and EMT or Medic, would you rather be treated by someone who scored a 70 on the test (which is passing), or someone who got a 90? after all, they are both passing.

    if your gear was tested to survive in 1000 degree temps, with is the testing standard, but this new company gear will survive with less damage when exposed t 1500 degree temp. they both pass, but the new one performs better at higher temps. so which would you rather have on your body? btw, there numbers are made up, and only used for comparison purposes.

    both might pass, but some still perform better when pushed to the limit.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    that is a messed up analogy............
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
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    Default Re: Re: Re: do leather helmets pass impact tests better than non-leathers ones?

    Originally posted by DrParasite
    if your gear was tested to survive in 1000 degree temps, with is the testing standard, but this new company gear will survive with less damage when exposed t 1500 degree temp. they both pass, but the new one performs better at higher temps. so which would you rather have on your body? btw, there numbers are made up, and only used for comparison purposes.

    both might pass, but some still perform better when pushed to the limit.
    Either way, I would be dead..So I guess the matter is in what gets buried. I think the point is that the Standard is designed so that someone can survive either an impact or penetration. So if it passes, it will protect you. If it fails, it won't. At some point you have to look at this practically and decide how safe you can be. Your turnout gear analogy could also be used toward the argument of too much protection, and an inability to sense the enviroment around you.

    The Standard is the Standard, and passing is good enough for me. As a matter of fact, do you look for the NFPA compliance tag...or do you read the individual specs to see what gear does better than others?

    Dave

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    Default Bingo !

    Give that man (Dave) a big fat Cuban (cigar not a senorita). It makes no difference if your gear survives. You get caught in a flashover, you're a goner (unless by the grace of God you hit an incredible string of luck). I had a Cairns 770 "Philadelphian" for several years. Before that I had a Cairns "Flint Flex" (the poor man's New Yorker). If I took a hammer to either of those helmets, I would bet dollars to doughnuts that they would crack before my N6A. I warped the frontpiece of my old New Yorker but never felt a thing. The leather does a good job of absorbing heat IMHO. Thats why I upgraded to the SAMMY with the good impact liner. I am ugly enough as it is without adding injury to insult.
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