Impact of the Development of the Design of Firefighter Helmets on the Mechanical Shock Absorption Capacity
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Department of Fire Technology, Faculty of Safety Engineering and Civil Protection, The Main School of Fire Service, ul. Slowackiego 52/54, 01-629 Warsaw, Poland
The University College of Applied Sciences in Chelm, ul. Pocztowa 54, 22-100 Chełm, Poland
Military Institute of Automotive and Armor Technology, ul. Okuniewska 1, 05-070 Sulejówek, Poland
Department of Vehicle Operation and Fire-Rescue Equipment, Lviv State University of Life Safety, Kleparivska Street 35, Lviv, Ukraine
Corresponding author
Paweł Lonkwic   

The University College of Applied Sciences in Chelm, ul. Pocztowa 54, 22-100 Chełm, Poland
Adv. Sci. Technol. Res. J. 2023; 17(6):171–184
A firefighter's helmet is used as a basic personal protective equipment item. The purpose of the helmet is to absorb a part of mechanical impact acting towards the rescuer's cervical spine, which may lead to its injury. The aim of the study was to determine the effect of changes in the helmet design on the threshold passive forces transferred to the firefighter's cervical spine. The test subjects were firefighter’s helmets compliant with the European standard for helmets used by fire brigades. The study was carried out under model conditions, using special equipment with a head model and an additional force sensor placed under it, where the cervical spine is anatomically located. The central impact energy was assumed to be 60 J. A semi-spherically ended beater was used. The experimentally determined force-displacement characteristics revealed two phases of force increase. Using polyurethane foam as a cushioning insert instead of the expanded polyester used in older designs reduced values of forces in the first phase of the characteristic. There were many cases where the critical passive force value was exceeded, which would have resulted in the cervical spine injury. Modifications in material selection and component manufacturing technology affect the protective capabilities of firefighter’s helmets and result in their improvement. Nevertheless, helmets that are currently in use are still affected by forces whose values exceed the ones that are considered to be safe for a firefighter.