Firefighting, Legal

St. Petersburg Considers Replacing Firefighter Helmets

Before becoming mayor, attorney Rick Kriseman represented a firefighter who claimed his city-issued helmet was defective and caused serious neck injuries, reports tampabay.com.

Now, two years later, Kriseman is considering replacing the headgear for all St. Petersburg firefighters.

As he mulls next year’s $221 million budget, Kriseman is thinking about ditching the 1044 Cairns model helmets that are at the center of five pending lawsuits filed by a group of active and retired firefighters. Kriseman’s former boss, Jim Magazine, happens to be the attorney for the firefighters.

If all 313 helmets are replaced, it would cost the city $60,000.

City officials say there could be an opportunity for a better price if new ones are bought in bulk.

But Kriseman also is considering new helmets out of an “abundance of caution,” said his chief of staff, Kevin King.

“The mayor wants to ensure our men and women have the best equipment,” King told the Tampa Bay Times.

Questions about the helmets surfaced this year when a group of firefighters filed product liability lawsuits in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court, claiming their city-issued helmets had design flaws that led to injury.

The firefighters say the helmets are unbalanced and caused neck and back injuries.

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