Tradition is Strong: The Development of the Firefighter Helmet
A firefighter’s job is to protect the community. If a fire occurs, firefighters will be the first on the seen to put it out. They cannot do it alone. Firefighters need protection from the flames as well. Since the early 1900s, the firefighter helmet has protected the firefighters from falling debris, water, and burning embers. The very first helmet was made of leather and metal with a wide brim.
Technology advancements changed the helmet in mid 1900s. Aluminum, fiberglass, and plastics were used to improve the durability. The new designs were not popular and the traditional helmets remained the number one choice. Manufacturers decided to keep the same style, while incorporating the new materials in the interior. The leather coverings were still included. The helmets had different colors to acknowledge rank. There were white for the chief, black for engine companies, ladder companies wore red, and rescue companies wore blue.
Today, the helmets still have the same design as when they were first introduced. A few changes have been made to increase safety. Eye Shields and earflaps have been added and yellow is now a common color helmet to help with visibility.
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