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  • lifespan of a helmet?

    quick question for anyone who may know? i know nfpa standard on lifespan of a leather is 5yrs, but is that just for leathers or for any helmet i have a cairns 1010 and a friend of mine has an 880 and he thinks there both out of date. so if anybody can set this straight for me it would be appreciated.

  • #2
    10 years for PPE, including all helmets.

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    • #3
      With some of the guys I have, you would think about a week.

      10 years and replace as long as it remains sound. In this sense, sound does not mean the same as functional or pretty. Inspect the helmet often or after every use, or sometimes during use. Things can happen even if you haven't used it.
      HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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      • #4
        Originally posted by lt29 View Post
        quick question for anyone who may know? i know nfpa standard on lifespan of a leather is 5yrs, but is that just for leathers or for any helmet i have a cairns 1010 and a friend of mine has an 880 and he thinks there both out of date. so if anybody can set this straight for me it would be appreciated.
        DESPITE what Nfpa tells you, a Leather in a moderate use dept can be good for LONGER than ten years IF you take care of it. Keep the paint up and check it inside and out every so often. Mine's over 10 yrs and is pretty near as good as the day it came out of the box. But I keep after it too. T.C.

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        • #5
          The 10 year rule is stupid. Gear should not expire, more so in a department that doesn't see much fire.
          Career Firefighter
          Volunteer Captain

          -Professional in Either Role-

          Originally posted by Rescue101
          I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by GTRider245 View Post
            The 10 year rule is stupid. Gear should not expire, more so in a department that doesn't see much fire.
            I have to agree with you GT. In NFPAs infinite wisdom they have this very wrong. They completely ignore what happens in the real world, but isn't that typical of those in charge of us little people. Safety policies do not always make sense and some defy logic.

            The reality in the real world is many departments are lucky if they see a single 'new to them' helmet when someone generously donated it after replacing some of their gear.

            Money is not the same as common sense. More issues are solved with common sense than with money.

            I think a little common sense is called for here.
            HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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            • #7
              I agree that the set "10 year limit" is stupid. But it really would not surprise me if that rule is the only reason that some cities EVER replace gear. "Is it tore up? Too bad, it's got 2 years of service life left, so quit your bitching!"

              If you take care of your gear, it will last a long time. Clean your helmet after fires, that gives you the best opportunity to look for cracks and other wear & tear after a call.

              The only real solid rule for replacing helmets should be the requirement to switch it out after it recieves a significant impact IMO.
              "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

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              • #8
                Originally posted by PaladinKnight View Post
                I have to agree with you GT. In NFPAs infinite wisdom they have this very wrong. They completely ignore what happens in the real world, but isn't that typical of those in charge of us little people. Safety policies do not always make sense and some defy logic.

                The reality in the real world is many departments are lucky if they see a single 'new to them' helmet when someone generously donated it after replacing some of their gear.

                Money is not the same as common sense. More issues are solved with common sense than with money.

                I think a little common sense is called for here.
                Our Department along with our gear people in 2005-7ish I believe started taking the helmets back that were 1st issued with the bunker gear in 1995 or slightly later when this 10 year rule was proposed.

                They took the helmets and began putting them through the NFPA test and checked them for meeting the standard.

                With few exceptions they passed inspection. Does it make sense for a city to replace a perfectly good piece of equipment? Nope; Does it make sense for a manufact. for you to replace a perfectly safe peice of equipment? Yes it most certainly does.

                We tried to get an exception in the standard that allowed if a department could prove that the helmets lasted longer than 10 years so they wouldn't have to issue them in a cumpulsorary manner. It got voted down...suprise!

                I continue to maintain the NFPA should be tried under RICO statues as they are nothing more than a front for the manufacures who should have no vote in what we do and dont buy. There are too many rubes on these pannels that let this stuff slide by. Advisory role, yes, final votes, no. It is a hopelessly corrupt organization that is only interested in their own self-preservation at this point.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by PNEFD23 View Post
                  10 years for PPE, including all helmets.
                  And is it not 10 years from the date of manufacture? Kind of makes you wonder if you can purchase gear pro rated.
                  ~Drew
                  Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
                  USAR TF Rescue Specialist

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by FiremanLyman View Post
                    And is it not 10 years from the date of manufacture? Kind of makes you wonder if you can purchase gear pro rated.
                    Everything now has a born on date. 15 years ago no one cared how old soda was in their machines, now people refuse to drink outdated Pepsi! As FFFRED has maintained, this is a rule forced upon us to sell more equipment. Those FD's that never replaced gear were ignoring the old NFPA PPE rules to start, this one didn't change that.

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                    • #11
                      I agree with the other posters, helmets should be replaced after a significant impact or when defects are found during inspection. I can wear the thing into a fire the day before it turns 10, but at 10 its not defective. Give me a break.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GTRider245 View Post
                        The 10 year rule is stupid. Gear should not expire, more so in a department that doesn't see much fire.
                        Fire or no fire, materials degrade and gear standards change.

                        A mint condition canvas raincoat may have been state of the art PPE in 1964 but it has no business on the fireground today.

                        NFPA doesn't (typically) pull numbers out of a hat when it writes a standard. Ten years is the agreed consensus on the maximum recommended service life for fire service PPE. Unless your jurisdiction has adopted the relevent NFPA standards as law, you're welcome to keep it in service as long as you like but god help you if you have a gear failure related injury.

                        Maintaining critical safety equipment to recognized standards is part of the cost of doing business -- no matter much much or little fire a department sees.
                        "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
                        sigpic
                        The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
                          A mint condition canvas raincoat may have been state of the art PPE in 1964 but it has no business on the fireground today.
                          But it's not the age of the canvas turnout - it's the technology. A brand new canvas turnout coat wouldn't be acceptable today, either.

                          Wear and degradation of the material is one thing. Regular inspection should take care of that issue. But if an item passes inspection (we'll assume by a competent inspector), it should be good.

                          Of course, NFPA has taken a page from the patent book, too, wherein a slight change to the formula/design/etc keeps an otherwise identical item "unique". By making a slight change to the standard (ie, DRD, integral class 2 harness), suddenly even your one-year-old gear no longer passes muster.
                          Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                          Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tree68 View Post
                            But it's not the age of the canvas turnout - it's the technology. A brand new canvas turnout coat wouldn't be acceptable today, either.
                            It's really a bit of both but, with regard to the technology, that's one of the reasons cited for the 10 year service life. PPE technology has consistently evolved. A 10 year old piece of PPE is typically 2 to 3 standards revisions and numerous TIAs behind the current technology.

                            Wear and degradation of the material is one thing. Regular inspection should take care of that issue. But if an item passes inspection (we'll assume by a competent inspector), it should be good.
                            I agree to a point with the exception that not all material failures are visible. Some can only be detected by destructive testing. Periodic inspections are crucial to detect those failures and impending failures but they aren't sufficient to justify keeping PPE in service indefinitely.


                            By making a slight change to the standard (ie, DRD, integral class 2 harness), suddenly even your one-year-old gear no longer passes muster.
                            Not true. PPE "passes muster" if it's compliant with the standards in force at its date of manufacture and if that date is less than 10 years in the past.
                            "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
                            sigpic
                            The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
                              It's really a bit of both but, with regard to the technology, that's one of the reasons cited for the 10 year service life. PPE technology has consistently evolved. A 10 year old piece of PPE is typically 2 to 3 standards revisions and numerous TIAs behind the current technology.
                              I'm a bit skeptical on this. Yes, PPE technology has advanced, but are the useful advances? DRD's they are good ideas and probably a useful advance (never used one in a fire and haven't heard enough of their use so I can't decide either way). But all the advances in TPP, heat protection, and bundling ourselves up I'm not sure are truly necessary. Fires do burn differently then yesteryear, but I think we take a lot of unnecessary heat through **** poor or non-existent truck work and not using the hose to its full effectiveness.

                              New techonology might be good, but I'm not sold we should force costs on depts. because of it. As for the material degradation based on age, I am behind that.

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