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Is the weight of your helmet hurting your performance?

70 percent of firefighters experience pain during their work. Your helmet might be the culprit.


Sponsored by Bullard

By Cole Zercoe for FireRescue1 BrandFocus

In a profession as challenging and high stakes as the fire industry, being able to maintain peak physical and mental strength is paramount. Preventing degradation of performance starts with gear. Many firefighters experience persistent pain during their work – according to one study, 70% of firefighters suffer from some form of discomfort in their neck, back, or limbs, with years on the job increasing the likelihood of such ailments. This type of musculoskeletal pain can be caused by equipment, and it doesn’t only present a threat while carrying out the dangerous work of firefighting, but it can also force firefighters to exit the profession entirely or retire sooner than they had planned to.

Bullard's new UST-LW helmet provides all the safety features while being extremely lightweight and comfortable.
Bullard's new UST-LW helmet provides all the safety features while being extremely lightweight and comfortable. (Bullard)

The weight of a helmet has a strong correlation with neck pain. Even if your helmet isn’t causing pain, it can still hinder your mental and physical performance through fatigue. It goes without saying that a career in public safety means carrying a ton of equipment, and the lighter that equipment is, the less of a burden it becomes during the long hours spent working a scene. By utilizing the latest material technologies, Bullard’s new UST-LW helmet maintains the style and comfort of their traditional fire helmets while being so lightweight they may forget they’re wearing it.

LIGHTWEIGHT AND COMFORTABLE, BUT BUILT TOUGH

Not all lightweight helmets are created equal. Some sacrifice important safety features like internal thermal barriers or comfort in order to shed weight. With the new UST-LW, which weighs ​​49.3 ounces to 54.4 ounces depending on the configuration, Bullard has crafted one of the lightest helmets on the market in a design that doesn’t make trade-offs with protection. Meeting and exceeding NFPA 1971 safety standards, its molded nylon inner liner with polyurethane foam acts as a shield to intense heat, maintaining the same strong fire protection and structural integrity found in its other helmets while its new fiberglass composite shell materials eliminate the heaviness that can create pressure on the neck.

In addition to protection from heat, the UST-LW also incorporates safety features for decontamination. It’s important to fully disassemble and clean all components of a fire helmet after responding to an incident. Bullard’s helmets are designed to make that process quicker and simpler by making the soft goods – including the cotton ratchet cover, brow pad, and ear/neck protector – easily removable for cleanability and decontamination.

"I only put my crew in Bullard because I know Bullard will keep them safe and get them home to their families," said Chief Jay Sanders of the Cynthiana Fire Department in Kentucky.

In addition to combating neck strain, the UST-LW also maintains all the other comfort features Bullard is known for. It’s customizable to give each individual wearer the perfect fit. With an industry-leading 36 different adjustment settings, its proprietary U-Fit adjustable headband system ensures the helmet will fit all head sizes. Its optional ReTrak integrated visor is designed based on firefighter feedback, with a simple one-handed operation that increases the area of protection for the wearer and adapts to various eyewear and facial features without adding extra pressure to the head.

TRADITIONAL LOOK, ACCESSORIES AND INTEGRATED CUSTOMIZATION

In the fire industry, tradition matters – including aesthetics. But tradition can’t come at the cost of safety. The UST-LW’s design keeps the look of traditional fire helmets while making them lighter to wear. The helmet features a super-matte finish that comes with multiple color options including black, red, white, and yellow. The UST-LW also keeps all of the other traditional features that make Bullard such a popular choice among firefighters, including their integrated eight front-facing LED lighting system Traklite, leather front adornments like a brass eagle or Canadian maple leaf, and handcrafted custom leather fronts.

YOUR HELMET SHOULDN’T WEIGH YOU DOWN

To do your job effectively, you need to minimize fatigue and pain. Ensuring your gear isn’t weighing you down is one of the first steps to doing that and reaching optimal performance in the field. But you don’t need to sacrifice protection and tradition in order to achieve light weight in your equipment. Bullard’s UST-LW helmet maintains a high level of protection while adding comfort and reducing strain, helping you stay safe during the task at hand and perform your best for the long haul.

Visit Bullard for more information or visit their Facebook page.

Read next: Spotlight: Bullard providing the highest quality products to keep firefighters safe in the most hazardous environment

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