What do you wear? What to do you like? The reason I ask is my department ,which is a 24 member volunteer department, issues metro style helmets, but you have the option of gettting your own traditional as long as it meets nfpa and is inspected by the chief. Right now we are all traditional except for 2 firemen one probationary fireman, and two cadets. In our area it's about fifty, fifty traditional metro. Also we have wild land helmets to go with our wild land gear, but thats neither here nor there.
We wear metro because that's what we're issued due to cost and nobody wants to buy their own. The Metro style works pretty good for us though because they are what we wear for everything. I know some of the guys on the departments around here that have traditional style helmets complain about the weight and size of them when we're on grass fires or any type of rescue situation with them.
My department wears traditional style (cairns 1010 w/defender shield) I boought a leather (cairns N5A New Yorker) it only weighs 1lb more than the 1010. We also have rescue helmets for MVA's, Rescue...high angle,trench,structural collapse...etc. The chief bought them after training one night we had like 8 helmets on this car that were taken off whenever anyone got into the car.
we are issued a low profile metro style. we like the weight and smooth edges that dont hang up on stuff.
Honestly, I couldn't care less. I have worn a traditional at my first POC FD for about 30 years. a mix of Cairns leather N5A and N6A, and now a Chieftan traditional look plastic helmet. The FD issues Cairns 660's. My other POC FD issues Cairns 1010's. My career FD up until last year issued Cairns 660's and now issues Cairns 1044's. We also had the choice of buying our own traditional if we wanted too. I never did, I figured I had better uses for the money than to replace the helmet that I was issued. My former career FD issued Cairns 660's, and another POC FD I used to be a member of issued Cairns 660's.
When I got my N5A 30 some years ago I got it because I thought it was cool. let's face it the traditional looking helmet is what everyone thinks about when they think of a firefighter. Kids always draw pictures with a traditional helmet even if the FD has salad bowl helmets.
The truth is both helmets do the job of protecting firefighters effectively. The only real reason for choosing one over the other is looks.
Both fire companies in our department wear traditional helmets. We used to have a junior firefighter (Explorer) program, and the juniors were issued the metro style helmets. Personally, I will wear whatever is issued to me and approved by the fire chief. We are an all-volunteer department, and some members have bought themselves new helmets, rather than take a hand-me-down. I don't feel the need to spend my own money to get a helmet I "like". As long as it protects my head sufficiently, then it works for me.
I have to admit that traditional helmets look cool as @#!$. The paid guys in the next town over have them and i will admit to a little jealously. Chief wants us all to match so no traditional for me.