UK firefighters get 'futuristic' helmets

The MSA Gallet fire helmet features a torch that can be safely used even in situations where firefighters are surrounded by flammable vapor

Editor's note: What's your take on the helmet in terms of design and function compared to more traditional helmets? Should departments in the United States follow their European counterparts? Have your say in the member comments area.

The Lancashire Telegraph

LANCASHIRE, England — These futuristic helmets are the latest line of defence for firefighters in Lancashire.

The headgear, featuring integral goggles and a reflective face shield, is being piloted in Haslingden before being introduced across the fire service.

The helmets will provide the best protection yet against heat, and feature a torch that can be safely used even in situations where firefighters are surrounded by flammable vapour.

The MSA Gallet fire helmet is also more padded than traditional headgear, and will be a better fit thanks to adjustable straps.

Already members of the Haslingden team, who will be using them during active service over the next two months, have been trying them on for size.

Andy Coulton, Rossendale watch manager, said: "The purchase of the new helmets emphasises Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service's commitment to ensure protection of their employees, even in times of great economic difficulty for public services.

"The helmet fits the head snugly and will not tip, or shift sideways, essential in testing situations such as animal rescue and waterside incidents, as well as firefighting.

"Other features include integral goggles and a reflective face shield which provides additional thermal protection, and a helmet-mounted torch rated as ''intrinsically safe'' for those situations where flammable vapour could be ignited by incandescent bulb illumination."

The traditional-style firefighting helmet will be phased out over the next few months after serving officers for more than 10 years.

Fire experts said advances in materials and technology have superseded the current design.

Haslingden Fire Station was chosen to be one of three stations to roll out the helmet's evaluation following successful trials at Washington Hall near Chorley last year.

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