1. #1
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    Default Purchasing your own Traditional Helmets

    I'm interested in getting information from those of you that belong to departments that allow you to purchase your own traditional style helmet (leather or otherwise). How does the department manage the upkeep, maintenance, and safety inspections of the headgear? Do they have specific policies related to what helmets you can and cannot purchase? What if the person's helmet is broken? Who pays for the repairs? What if standards change? What process do you use for allowing someone to purchase their own helmet?

    I know that this is not rocket science, but one of the departments to which I belong has a list of concerns related not so much to the type of headgear, but rather allowing firefighters to purchase their own. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks...

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    Default Maybe someday ...........where is '77.....

    we are not allowed to purchase our own helmets, but the Chief has let us get leather boots, "GUT" belts, Vulcan flashlights but no leather lids.......dont know why ........???????
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    Our Department just released an SOP for the purchase of leather helments. Give me your E-Mail address and I will set you up with our Resource Management Chief with the information you need. Stay Safe

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    phyrngn@neb.rr.com Thanks for the reply

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    I have a leather helmet that my dept. lets me wear, although not now because I'm an officer, and I don't feel like painting it. But all they required is that the helmet is NFPA approved. If it breaks I have to pay to have it fixed and while it's in the shop. They'll gladly give me a loaner helmet. Those leather helmets are pretty tough and take quite a beating. Cairns has traditional leather helmets still or the polycarbonate New Yorker style.
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    My Dept. lets us purchase our own helmets, as long as they meet NFPA standard. My Dept. says we have to do the regular maintainance on our equipment(washing, cleaning...). We have a washer and dryer for our turnout gear, so I wash my non-leather stuff with that. For up keep of my helmet(helmet's leather) I take it home and clean it there. So far as replacement of parts, I havn't had to worry about that, but what the Chief said was more or less, if the dept. didn't purchase it they are not responsible for it.

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    I'd love to be able to wear my leather, but unfortunately I can't bring myself to paint it bright yellow - it just wouldn't look right.
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    Same as most others have posted: We can purchase our own but it must meet the NFPA standard as well as Ohio BWC rules. We have to keep them cleaned to department standards (aka when the Chief complains about how dirty it is, we have to clean it) and it has to match our color schemes-black for FF, red for Captains, white for Chiefs. They will not pay to replace it if damaged, etc.
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    ditto above. must meet NFPA specifications, if it's damaged on a call, the department won't pay a dime to repair it. It's sort of like the department gives you gear that it will replace if it gets damaged. if you want to upgrade your gear, you can, but they will only pay for the gear that belongs to them.

    one other thing, if your department issues tupperware for their FFs, the department needs to make up a standard spec for the helmet shield for all traditional style helmets. otherwise you will have 25 leather helmets with 25 different designs for a shield
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  10. #10
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    Default Traditional Helmet upkeep SOPS

    I refurb and sell Cairns Leather Helmets. I deal with both municipal fire departments and guys that own their own leathers. A lot of my customers pay out of pocket and then submit their reciept to their admin office for rebursement. Recently, a local department contributed the cost of a composite helmet towards their members purchase of a leather helmet. Which was pretty cool. The only stipulation was that the helmets be NFPA compliant (Cairns N6As). Purchasing a leather helmet is a great investment it will most likely last your career in the fire service with general upkeep and common sense care.
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    I bought my first leather from Cairns in Clifton, NJ in 1976. Went right to the factory where they measured me and made it all within about two weeks.

    Paid $68.00 for it. Best damn helmet I ever wore.

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    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    I bought my first leather from Cairns in Clifton, NJ in 1976. Went right to the factory where they measured me and made it all within about two weeks.

    Paid $68.00 for it. Best damn helmet I ever wore.
    $68 was probably expensive then, too!

    I have N5A and N6A cow lids.

    Why? because, in the immortal words of a fellow forum member Engine 3 Jake...

    You can't be too rich, too thin or have too many leathet helmets. Numbers 1 and 2 are totally out of the question, so...
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 12-30-2007 at 05:56 PM.
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    Honestly don't know if the department would allow someone to purchase their own helmet, never had someone want to.

    I'd have to assume it would have to meet all standards and all maint/repair costs would be borne by the owner.
    "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 can purchase our own........ Must meet NFPA standards. We are responsible for our own maintenance/upkeep. If it breaks/gets ruined, we will get what the FD issues. Nothing else. Color scheme must be the same and I believe the style must be the same (traditional). Also, it must be able to accept the FD's shield.......
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    My dept. supplies us with the cheapest and cheesiest traditional helmets known to man, the Bullard. Although the last couple of guys have gotten Ben II's. I have a New Yorker with no skull cap, everyone looks the other way. About 30 guys have these. The dept. sees it as they don't have to give it to you so they don't really care.
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    My dept issues leather boots and helmets. Not to new members but to those who have put in some time and proved there worth and dedication. The helmets are a tradition thing but the boots are just down right better then any other boot out there, more comfortable then my sneakers.

  17. #17
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    George...same here except I bought mine from Glen D Culbert in Maryland in 1971 and with the leather front and the great elastic chin strap I paid $71.00.

    We wear traditionals here...A few of the older guys (besides me) have leather and the rest either the Cairns 1010 or the BULLARD UST. I think the Bullard is the better helmet, but being a leather head from way back I talked the Chief into letting me by my own compliant Cairns. It is my responsibility to make sure it is servicable and if lost damaged or stolen it is all on me.
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    I AM ON A SMALL CAREER DEPT. THAT ONCE YOU ARE HIRED THEY WILL PURCHASE YOU A CONTEMP. AFTER BEING ON FOR A YEAR AND GRADUATING FROM ROOKIE STATUS YOU CAN PURCHASE YOUR OWN TRADITIONAL. IF SOME THING HAPPENS TO IT IN A FIRE THE DEPT WILL REPLACE IT. OR IF YOU GET PROMOTED AND NEED A NEW HELMET THE DEPT WILL GIVE YOU THE AMOUNT FOR A CONTEMP. AND LET YOU PICK UP THE REST FOR THE TRAD. THEY ARE TO BE NFPA COMPLIANT. I OWN A 1010 AND A BEN II FOR TWO DIFFERENT DEPTS. I PURCHASED BOTH AND TAKE CARE OF THE UP KEEP ON BOTH.

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    Does any department have an policy spelled out in writing for their members to see and follow regarding the purchase and wear of leather helmets or boots? I would be interested in getting a copy if possible.

  20. #20
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    Thumbs up Well............

    You buy it, it's yours. You are responsible for all repairs, etc. Department Safety Officer inspects all gear, and can order it out of service for just cause. The department maintains a list of "Approved" gear that a member may use, other than that Issued by the department.
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    at my department, we are issued everything, and if something happnes to it, the dept will pay to fix or replace it. but as far as helmets, you are free to buy which ever you want, but if something happens to it, you pay for it, so you have to take that risk

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