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The Emergency Responder Safety Institute Debuts Helmets and Head Protection Conversations Led By Chief Marc Bashoor

For over a decade, the Emergency Responder Safety Institute (ERSI), a committee of the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association (CVVFA), has advocated for the development of a purpose-designed helmet for roadway incident response. ERSI is pleased that the work of Lt. Brady Robinette of Lubbock (TX) Fire Rescue in response to a struck-by double LODD in that community has spurred renewed interest on this important topic.

As part of its commitment to drive the helmets and head protection conversation forward, ERSI invited Chief Marc Bashoor, Executive Editor of and, to host a series of conversations on critical issues in responder safety at roadway incidents. We are pleased to share the conversations Chief Bashoor had on helmets and head protection with Lt. Robinette and with Nicholas Calvano, a retired engineer with the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST). In the 1970s, Mr. Calvano conducted the research on structural firefighting helmets that became the basis for NFPA 1971: Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Firefighting and Proximity Firefighting.

These conversations explore Lt. Robinette's original research, the importance of head protection, how emergency response agencies can choose a helmet from options that exist today, and how we can apply the model of research informing standards to the development of a standard for roadway incident response helmets. They also explore how emergency response agencies, researchers, government, and manufacturers can work together to develop a standard for roadway helmets and design helmets that meet that standard so emergency responders will finally have head protection choices that mitigate the struck by hazards particular to working on the roadway.

These conversations are available on the Helmets and Head Protection page. This page also provides additional resources on this topic, including the eye-opening results of an ERSI survey on helmet usage at roadway incident scenes, a link to Lt. Robinette's article in Fire Engineering, and a link to a feature story on the new helmet's Lubbock Fire Rescue purchased for its personnel to wear at roadway incident responses.

In addition, a new Responder Safety Learning Network module, "Helmets and Head Protection at Roadway Incident Responses" is now available. You'll learn about Lt. Robinette's research in helmet performance in the roadway context and what it will take to develop a standard, why you should consider wearing a different helmet for roadway responses than for structure fires, the factors to weigh when selecting a helmet for roadway incident responses, and how to be and advocate for developing a standard for helmets to be worn at roadway incidents and encouraging manufacturers to create a purpose-built helmet for the roadway.

Funding for this study was made possible by the United States Fire Administration and the US Department of Justice.

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