A lot of people will disagree with this, but I cannot stand traditional style helmets. They are heavy, cumbersome, and in my opinion just lead to fatigue. I personally like the new bullards, and the phenix models.
My viewpoint as a hazmat guy is that leather helmets can absorb toxins. plastic helmets cannot, or at least the liner and other soft components of the helmet can be washed / decontaminated without an issue. However, I have to admit that the leather helmets sure look cool. They belong on a shelf as a reminder of how we used to do it. We know better now and should not champion wearing this style of helmet anymore just because of tradition... We know better...
I personally have to agree with the ones choosing the Traditional Style helmets. When I started I had a blue dome and thought it was okay (we used blue for exterior, and red for interior personal). When we ordered new turn-out gear we went with the black Cairns 1010 with either the standard face shield or the Bourkes (my choice), and would never think of going back to the domes again.
You can keep your Soup bowls, I wear a N5A because it looks good and I'm a traditionalist They seem more robust in day to day jobbing. Plus I've seen brand new plastic fantastics get ruined after 1 good drop to the cement. My leather just keeps on chugging along. A little paint touch up once in a while.... good to go!
I know hazmat blah blah blah, I'll put a hardhat on and save my leather for another day if I'm playing with bad crap for that 1 out of 15000 calls.
even though I wrote the hazmat comments, and we both know they are true, I kind of wish I could wear one of those cool cairns helmets with the dual sun visor looking clear shields that pop down. you just don't see the leather here in California like you do back east. once again, rfdjumper, your reply is dead on about how many calls you go on where there is actually something really bad in the air... but then again, it just takes one to make your day go south... it's all about where your first in is I suppose.
like brian, my probie helmet was a bullard dome and i absolutely hated it..my biggest argument with it was that it allows water down your coat. On my paid department (City of Lenoir, NC) we wear cairns 880's and i wouldnt trade them for anything. My volunteer dept. (Sawmills) wears the 1010 which are much like tha 880s just bigger and heavier...either helmet, in my opinion, is a good choice.