The firefighting helmet we've been dreaming about

The helmet profiled in this story demonstrates what contemporary technology can offer the fire and emergency services


Editor’s Note:

Editor's note: A Swedish designer — with the backing of a local fire brigade — has unveiled an ambitious prototype called the C-Thru Smoke Diving Helmet. Here's Chief Adam K. Thiel's thoughts. 

Wow! Here it is, the firefighting helmet many (but probably not all) of us have been dreaming about for a long time!

I don't know about you, but as someone who's been playing Xbox/Halo for years, I've always wondered when we were going to be able to experience some of the same gear (exoskeleton anyone)?

While it certainly appears to be a long way from commercialization and a firehouse near you, the helmet profiled in this story demonstrates what contemporary technology can offer the fire and emergency services.

Our military has been experimenting for a long time with similar items, and you'll see a lot of situational awareness aids incorporated in the basic kit of today's soldiers, sailors, air force personnel and Marines.

The big questions are:
1) Will we be able to afford it
2) will we accept it?

These questions are different, but inextricably linked. To some extent, the degree to which we adopt a product will drive the cost; it's basic supply and demand, although the direction isn't always what you might expect given the level of competition in the marketplace for certain technologies.

Acceptance is really the bigger issue; and I get it. Yes, the "Pac-Man" helmets provide great impact protection and a lower profile than traditional helmets; what do I wear? (Guilty — traditional.)

But maybe "3-D wireframe" modeling and integrated thermal imaging is cool enough (and effective enough) to get us all onboard? Imagine the difference this helmet could make while searching for a fire victim; or a fallen brother/sister?

Now if they can just add a charred and flexible leather neckpiece...

Stay safe!

About the author

With more than two decades in the field, Chief Adam K. Thiel — FireRescue1's editorial advisor — is an active fire chief in the National Capital Region and a former state fire director for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Chief Thiel's operational experience includes serving with distinction in four states as a chief officer, incident commander, company officer, hazardous materials team leader, paramedic, technical rescuer, structural/wildland firefighter and rescue diver. He also directly participated in response and recovery efforts for several major disasters including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tropical Storm Gaston and Hurricane Isabel.

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