Standards Not Adequate for Fire Fighter’s Helmet

Issue 6 and Volume 128.

Standards Not Adequate for Fire Fighter’s Helmet Almost all of a fire fighter’s equipment is better today than it was a decade ago, except what may be most important—his headgear. But we still charge into burning buildings, under flaking red-hot plaster and weakened ceiling joists wearing helmets designed for the 1950s. Only American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has done something about the problem, and their standard constitutes a good first step only, not a complete answer. In fact, Bernard M. Levin, chief of the program for fire services of the U.S. National Bureau of Standards, states categorically, “We do not feel that the ANSI Standard Z89.1 provides adequate guidance in selecting fire fighter helmets.” The experience of Chief Randall Staley, Washington Township Fire Department (Montgomery County, Ohio) illustrates one of the gaps in our current standards. Cleaning caused trouble Staley bought some 50 polycarbonate helmets from a nationally-known manufacturer. With…

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