One of the coolest things I have ever received in the mail, ever... arrived at my house a couple of days ago. It was from one of the friends I made here on the FFN, and he is from France, where he works as a professional firefighter. Like many firefighters, we both like fire service related things and are involved with trading things back and forth. What amazed me however, was the functional design that I saw first hand.
Up to this point, I have only seen photographs of french firefighters wearing a very unfamiliar fire helmet style. To be honest, I blew off the design because they just did not look like fire helmets. After having the chance to actually wear one, I offer the following insight for those, like myself, who never have had the chance to see what our brothers and sisters across the Atlantic wear for head and face protection.
The world just keeps getting smaller... I invite everyone to take the time to get to know others around the world with the spirit of sharing and providing the most up to date training and response information available. We are not alone, we have each other.
Prenez garde à rester en sécurité, (TCSS)
The Casque Pompier (Fire Helmet):
Built in Safety Goggles:
Fire Helmet Protective Visor / Heat Shield:
View Through Fire Helmet Protective Visor / Heat Shield:
Fire Helmet Heat Shield:
05-25-2010 Update: I made direct contact today with MSA and spoke with one of two sales reps that have knowledge of the French Gallet F1-SF Firefighter Helmet. Here's what I learned:
• These "French" fire helmets are manufactured by MSA, which is 100% USA owned and is based internationally out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
• MSA bought out the french company Gallet 7-8 years ago, which included this helmet design and manufacturing rights.
• Existing USA style fire helmets are rated to no more than 1500˚F, while this particular style is rated to 1800˚F. Why more? The same technology used by NASA for astronaut helmets visors are incorporated into this design. Both the helmet and face shield reflect the heat, keeping the interior of the helmet cool, with maximum interior helmet temperatures reaching around 95˚F.
• The existing F1-SF helmet does not meet NA standards as mentioned in one of the posts. However, there is such a demand now for this style that MSA is working on providing a NA approved helmet that has the same features but also possesses the necessary impact standards.
• What we are looking at is a glimpse of what the 21st century firefighters are going to be wearing, internationally...
we use those here at Dyess AFB, having experience on them, I don't really like them, they don't really fit all that well when they're down.
Curious if there is any life left to this discussion. We have been looking at the Euro-style helmets since summer 2012, and we continue to do so. Have not made a purchase yet but we are getting close. Firefighters in my organization will wear what is issued only. A strict requirement is they have to be NFPA approved and that limits the field in the realm of Euro-style helmets.
I find them intrigueing and have had extensive discussions with FDs in Minnesota and Wisconsin that have made the change to the Euro-style helmets. They have all spoke highly of them, BTW, and I wasn't just talking to the buyers. I talked w/ firefighters. I have used both the traditional and salad bowl style helmets. They are plenty "used"(!), have lots of "character", and I have liked them all very much, however every one of them reached the point where they needed to be retired and hung up on my "wall of pride".
I am not a "fashionable" firefighter. Never have been. I want to use what is effective, safe, AND comfortable over the long haul. Truth be told, if our military forces were this deep into "tradition" regarding their helmets, they would still be wearing the Doughboy Helmets from WW-I! How funny would that be? Anyway, I am interested in objective feedback. Can you / do you wear a Nomex hood under the helmet? Any problems noted now that they have been in use for a couple of years or so? Too hot underneath? Good stuff? Bad stuff? Help me out here.
In closing, we don't wear hip boots, canvas coats, garden gloves, or "eat smoke" anymore. Weren't these changes all for good reason?
I have used both the traditional and salad bowl style helmets. They are plenty "used"(!), have lots of "character", and I have liked them all very much, however every one of them reached the point where they needed to be retired and hung up on my "wall of pride".
NFPA states the helmet should be retired after 10 years of the manufacture date.
Truth be told, if our military forces were this deep into "tradition" regarding their helmets, they would still be wearing the Doughboy Helmets from WW-I! How funny would that be?
There is a difference between innovation and technology as opposed to having outdated equipment. Since the NFPA standards is established for any manufacturer and any style and if those helmets must conform to those standards, then the point becomes moot regarding "tradition". Since current, and I would bet the updated standards next year, will maintain the 10 year service life for any style, then it shouldn't really matter what style a dept chooses to go with
John - Thanks for being on line!
Absolutely right in both areas - age and technology. The 10 year rule is actually pretty darn close to what I have found to be the effective life of any helmet; however, it seems to get blurred regarding helmets. I just retired another one (traditional) that is quite worn, and it was manuf. in 2001. NFPA is not law of the land, but I find it to be a very good reference tool. I am looking at the 10 year rule across several areas of PPE, fire hose, etc.
Question: So what's stopping someone from having an innovative and techy WW-I helmet? Rhetorical perhaps, however reason I am asking is the resurgence I am seeing in tradional helmet shells getting paired w/ modern "guts" to the helmet. Looks the same, perhaps, but Not the same thing!
Any comments on the Euro-style helmets? That is, beyond the fashionable?
First, you are correct about NFPA not being law of the land, it would have to be adopted by the AHJ when it comes to meeting the standards for service life. However, manufacturers must conform to the specs when they manufacture the equipment. Since you mention that the helmets must meet NFPA and choices limited with the Euro style, I'm guessing that the dept cares about NFPA, or at least at initial purchase.
My point here is that it comes down to a personal preference on what style a dept/membership etc decides to go with. Since all styles must conform to the same standards, then IMO the rest of the arguments are personal opinion in regards to "safer" etc.
If you wish to go with the Euro style for whatever reasons, then go with it. I would say this thread shows plenty of opinions both for and against. If you believe the Euro style offers more safeguards or has features you prefer over other styles, then it comes down to the decision of the dept/membership. I understand you are soliciting opinions, or at least insight from those who DO use these helmets and that is fine.
IMO, I do not care for this style and really don't foresee my dept going to this anytime soon, especially when the style switched from a Metro style to Traditional. I have not used the Euro style to give you an actual informed assessment, but in regards to "safer" etc, I fid that a moot point since all manufacturers and styles must conform to the same standards. So it wouldn't matter what style a dept decided to purchase, metro, traditional, leather, Euro, etc, they all will conform to the same standards. The differences will be the features and personal opinions.
A good friend of mine went to the Euro style at his volly dept years ago and his current dept uses traditional. I can't speak for him, but he liked some things on the Euro and likes things on the Traditional. There are pros and cons to anything or any product. When he expressed his opinion to me, he said he prefers the traditional to the Euro. I know there will be others to opine differently, but I just find that the argument of one being considered "safer" over abother is moot since the standards are across the board.