Helmets and firefighting go hand-in-hand. They have a long history together! The first firefighting helmets can be dated back to the 1730’s, when the all-leather helmets were used in New York City. It took about a hundred years for the helmet to develop into the one that we’re more familiar with today. Helmets have become an iconic part of the firefighter’s uniform and are recognized around the world as a symbol of bravery and heroism.
Wildland fire helmets are different than the ones you’ll see at your local city fire house. Wildland fire helmets look almost like construction hardhats, and that’s with good reason; they perform a lot of the same functions. Wildland helmets are available in either full brim or cap style. A fire helmet is made to:
- Protect the wearer’s head from impact. Wildland fires are hazardous places, where falling tree limbs and other debris create a huge risk to the men and women on the ground.
- Protect the wearer’s head from the heat. Wearing a helmet can help dissipate from the head more efficiently, helping the firefighter stay cooler as the temperature starts to climb.
- Provide them an attachment point for accessories. Even a wildland firefighters gear has gear. A helmet provide a point of attachment for goggles, masks, headlamps, and other accessories used to fight and control fires.
Finding the right helmet can offer protection in extremely dangerous situations. It should be comfortable to wear for long durations without restriction the wearers movement or visibility. Let’s take a look at some of the things you’ll want in a great helmet as well as our recommendation for a helmet that you might want to add to your kit: The Vallfirest VF3.
What You Want Out of a Great Wildland Fire Helmet
This is the first and most important job of a fire helmet. The helmet should provide a couple different types of protection, including heat resistance and impact from falling debris. Most fire helmets are made from fiberglass material, which is great for fire resistance as well as resistance to punctures and other damage. It’s also lightweight, which is important for comfort, but also because it’s likely going to be weighed down by needed accessories.
Fit is vital. Good fit means comfort, but it also means the wearer isn’t going to have to worry that their helmet is going to fly off whenever they move. You shouldn’t really have to think about your helmet at all once you’ve strapped it on. And speaking of straps: use your chin strap! It’s there for a reason. It will help your helmet stay in place even if you need to move quickly or through a tight spot. A chin strap that has been properly fitted won’t be uncomfortable, so take time to get the fit right before you head out.
A helmet does so much more than sit on your head. It’s really like having an extra pair of hands on your head. That’s because today’s helmets are designed with mounts to hold a variety of equipment, from lights to masks and more. This means the helmet can be customized to the job, giving you the gear you need for the tasks at hand. That makes the helmet useful on more than just a safety level and why departments want to make sure their teams have the best.
5 Things to Love About the VF3
There is a reason so many people are buying this helmet and why it’s one of our most recommended helmets for wildland firefighting. Check out just five of the best feature!
Has the mounts needed for every job.
Whether you need hearing protection, a face mask, a shroud, a light, or something else attached to your helmet, the VF3 has mounts for all of it. They are so versatile that both sawyer and crew can wear the same helmets, simply by changing out the accessories. That allows departments to order the helmets that they need in bulk and potentially offer up a cost savings.
Great protection for the back of the head.
The way that these helmets are made gives them additional protection at the back of the head. That provides more protection from sparks, falling rocks, and burning tree branches. It also looks good!
Fire-resistant chin strap for added protection.
Every piece of your helmet should be fire resistant, and now that includes the chin strap. The helmet is an essential piece of safety equipment and now you can be assured that every part of it is built for fire resistance.
Excellent fit and adjustment options.
Fit matters! The chin strap on the VF3 wildland fire helmet offers six different adjustment options so you can dial in a fit that’s absolutely perfect. The interior harness system also offers fit adjustment, so you’ll be able to customize the fit so the helmet feels great while providing the maximum amount of protection.
NFPA 1977 certified in eight colors.
This helmet is NFPA 1977 certified, so you can be confident that you are getting the protection that you need when out on site. It’s also available in eight different colors, including black, blue, green, orange, gray, white, yellow, and red. Choose the color that’s right for your unit!
We have the VF3 in stock right now, and you can order it in our online store or pop into our Fort Collins location and take a look at it in person.
Tips for Helmet Wear and Care
- Keep them clean. Helmets can withstand a lot of abuse, but make sure you show them some love once in awhile and clean them off. This will extend the life of the helmet and help minimize scratches and damage that impact the appearance of the helmet or impede the function of your mounts. Take the helmet apart and gentle scrub each piece with warm water and a mild soap. Let it totally dry before reassembling it.
- Inspect them often. Your helmet, just like the rest of your gear, should be inspected frequently and thoroughly. Look for cracks or dents that could compromise the safety of the helmet, and make sure that the internal harness and chin strap are in good working order.
- Pre-adjust your chin strap. It’s tough to buckle a chin strap when you have big gloves on. Try pre-adjusting the chin strap, then leaving it buckles but pulling one strap loose enough to get off of your head. Then when you put it back on, you simply need to tug at the one strap to readjust your fit.
Looking for a new helmet for yourself or your department? The Supply Cache has what you need. Visit our online store to check out our full selection of helmets or come into our store and see them for yourself. Our team can help match you to a helmet that meets your needs for safety and accessories and give you a fair price on quality equipment. Have questions about one of the helmets that you see in our online store? Give us a call or contact us through the form on our website. We’re always happy to work with you and your department to find the equipment that you need, whether it’s helmets, boots, or anything else!