As I see it there are a few obvious features a fireman’s hat needs to have. It needs a brim to keep falling water and embers from hitting their faces. It needs to be quite rigid to help protect against injury from falling debris. It needs to be somewhat aerodynamic so not to be blown off the heads of firemen, speeding to a fire while riding on the back of their truck. Taking all this into consideration the shape of the common firemen’s hat seems oddly designed to perform these important duties. It looks like a matter of form over function.
Anyone aware of why they’re shaped as awkwardly as they are?
But it probably also needs to be recognizable easily. You wouldn’t want just any punk rescuing your cat, breaking down your door, spraying your valuables with high pressure water or ordering you out of a dangerous area.
Are there any Firemen Dopers out there that can clear things up?
Are they light weight and comfortable? Are they adequately aerodynamic?
They sure don’t look it but, I don’t even know if they are required to be so!
After all a pink hard hat with a brim and reflective stickers could do the same job without
all the extra height and contours currently being used.
Sorta… Firefighters spend alot of time crawling around in smoky houses. Facing forward while on your stomach it does indeed cover your neck nicely.
The long tail also helps keep water (which often gets hot during FF ops) from running down the back of your jacket which a smaller brimmed helmet would not.
A larger front brim would be disadvanageous due to often having to look at things above and just in front of you, like climbing ladders and such.
Of course in my experience from fire academy…firefighters mainly wear helmets to protect them from each other :eek:
They are not very heavy 4-5 lbs. My helmet is surprisingly comfortable and I have worn mine for 4-5 hours at a stretch without major distress. Aerodynamics are not an issue, you generally don’t run on a fire scene.
There is alot of heavy duty webbing in there to help absorb shock from something falling on you. Sadly…if something really heavy falls on you you helmet will survive hits that will turn joe firefighter into a puddle of goo. [morbid joke] Ya just rinse it out and give it to the new guy[/morbid joke]
Just to add to drachillix’s already stellar comments on the intracacies of helmet design, the modern “metro” style helmets don’t have the ridges that helmets had for 200+ years. They look like a turtle shell on your head. The “traditional” style helmets do still have the ridges.
Composite (fiberglass, kevlar, etc) helmets are rather light, 4 to 5 pounds like was said above. You can wear it for a quite a while before your neck gets tired. Leather helmets, on the other hand, weigh in in the 8 to 12 pound range. Sure, they look nicer than the plastic helmets, but you feel your head leaning to one side about 15 minutes into your call cuz the damn thing weighs too much.
Only killed one helmet in 9 years…gotta love being a truckie!
Composite (fiberglass, kevlar, etc) helmets are rather light, 4 to 5 pounds like was said above. You can wear it for a quite a while before your neck gets tired. Leather helmets, on the other hand, weigh in in the 8 to 12 pound range. Sure, they look nicer than the plastic helmets, but you feel your head leaning to one side about 15 minutes into your call cuz the damn thing weighs too much. (QUOTE KCB615)
I am sure the readers are familiar with the FDNY helmets. The style is called the New York. It’s been traditional for a hundred years. The manufacturers have accomodated the tradition by offering it with the new space age composites ie. Kevlar. I went from the leather when I first started out and it was common to have neck pain for a few days after wearing it for a period at a job. I remember being fitted for it with a mechinism of springs that was placed over your head and brought down to just above your ears. It transfered that measurement to paper, the helmet was made, and that helmet fit YOU and no one else. I still have it, beat to death to say the least. When the Kevlar helmets came along, they fit anyone who put it on with a ratchet devise in the rear that tightened or loosened it to the wearers head…and the weight difference was a blessing.