Fire Department in Massachusetts is Switching to European-Style Helmets

Amherst Fire Department is about to have a new look. The Massachusetts fire department has purchased brand new helmets for their firefighters, and in doing so have broken with tradition.

The European-style helmets will offer better heat protection and are easier to clean, say firefighters. Photo Courtesy of Western Mass News.

“You can see it’s a much more rounded style, compared to this with the big brim in the rear and a little in the front with a lot of protrusion. It has no pieces sticking out that can be stuck by falling debris, or wires as you’re climbing under them striking a door it just distributes weight more evenly,” said Amherst Assistant Fire Chief Lindsay Stromgren in an interview with Western Mass News.

The new helmets, which were just approved by the National Fire Protection Association in the fall of 2018, are called Carins XF-1. They’re common in Europe, which is where the Amherst Fire Department got the idea to upgrade their helmets.

Indicating a gold helmet given as a gift to the fire department by a fellow firefighter from Paris, Assistant Chief Stromgren notes that his department was inspired to swap their old helmets for the European-style protection.

“This is actually a genuine helmet from the Paris, France Fire Department, so if you watched any of the footage from the Notre Dame fire last month, you would’ve seen this is what they were wearing. It’s actually made by the same company,” Stromgren said.

The new helmets feature a rounder shape, which offers better heat protection. The inside fabric is also removable, making the helmets easier to clean. Most importantly the new helmets also include a speaker with a microphone attached to the firefighter’s radio. Stromgren said this could be a game changer for future fire departments looking to make the switch to the new helmets.

“Particularly for the firefighter, you can image them crawling around into buildings. Traditionally, what they have is speaker mic here, which where they may not hear the transmission or they have to grab it to be able to talk through their mask. With these here, the speakers are in their ears the entire time,” Stromgren said to Western Mass News.

Perhaps the new look will inspire other fire squads throughout the state and country to make the switch, too.