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Eye protection - what do you wear?

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  • Eye protection - what do you wear?


    When I joined my volly dept about 10 years ago, we had some helmets with full-face shields, some with the flip-down style eye shields, and still others had just goggles. For a brief moment, some of our helmets also had eye-shields that slid up into the helmet behind the suspension system. I personally hated these as they always pinched my nose. Today we pretty much use just the full-face shields - I believe we do this to standardize our purchasing. Just curious what your dept uses and why.

    On a related note, a probie recently asked if he could replace his full-face shield with just a set of flip-downs. I thought that I recently read somewhere that, according to NFPA, you can wear flip downs BUT you also need to wear goggles, or something to this effect. Can anyone verify this or provide guidance? Thanks!!


  • #2
    We have a mix of face shields and "Defender" shields (we're pretty much all Cairns). I like the Defender - others prefer the full shield.

    I would imagine that the Defender would serve as acceptable eye protection. What does not make the grade is the "Bourke" eye shields, as I understand it. My white helmet has Bourkes, as well as a set of goggles. Both of my black helmets have Defenders. As much as I wanted the Bourkes (gotta be cool!), I'm not all that impressed with them.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Skojo View Post
      I thought that I recently read somewhere that, according to NFPA, you can wear flip downs BUT you also need to wear goggles, or something to this effect.
      That is correct but they do make NFPA approved flip downs that are exactly the same as Bourke eye shields. No idea why one is approved and the other isn't. I've had Bourke shields on all my helmets and think they work great, although we are are trained to wear safety glasses for extrications and such. It's pretty rare that my face shield actually gets used. Our dept normally issues a full face shield except our quartermaster recently switched to the new Honeywell helmets with the "in helmet" shield. No one likes them and usually tries to switch out their helmet for an older model.
      "In general terms, firefighting isn't always about putting the fire out; its about making sure anything else doesn't catch on fire. What's burned is burned. Once you understand this, your tunnel vision is replaced by effective strategy."


      • #4
        I think we had some Cairn helmets with the Defender "in-helmet" eye protection. If it wasn't a Cairn, it was some other helmet. They never did it for me though, as I felt my whole face was exposed - I kinda prefer to have my whole mug protected, not just my eyes.

        Good to know there are NFPA-approved flip-downs out there. I'll have to contact our PPE dealers and check with them. I had incorrectly assumed that all flip-down eye protection required the use of goggles.

        Now, all I've ever used is the full face shield. Love to hear comments from people that use both goggles and the flip-downs.


        • #5
          Only safety glasses or goggles are approved eye protection. Face shields of all types are simply auxiliary protection and not adequate alone to meet NFPA, or OSHA standards.

          Personally I hate the flip up full face shields, they are bulky and easily damaged. If given the choice I far prefer the goggle option, but in reality rely on safety glasses regardless of what gets attached to the helmet.


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