NextGen Firefighter Helmet: Technology Scouting Research Summary   [open pdf - 591KB]

From the Problem Description: "Firefighters are increasingly called upon to respond to potentially violent situations (PVS), including active shooters, armed crowd and terrorist incidents, hazardous materials mitigation, and disaster response. Currently, firefighters must carry one helmet for fire protection and one helmet for ballistic protection, which creates a logistical burden when firefighters must switch gear on the scene. The need for two helmets also necessitates additional costs for fire departments that must procure and maintain the additional equipment. In some cases, ballistic protection has been considered only necessary for law enforcement, so firefighters lack any ballistic protection. Often, situations change rapidly and there is not enough time for firefighters to retrieve ballistic protection. Thus, firefighters are either put at great risk or are unable to enter PVS incident scenes to attend to victims, which adds vital time between injuries and medical treatment. Over the past several years instances of shooting injuries and deaths of firefighters responding to emergency calls has increased, consequently increasing the need for firefighter ballistic head-protection. This report will examine solutions that provide a combination of fire and ballistic head-protection for firefighters. Ideally, fire departments would be able to issue one helmet per firefighter that complies with both [fire protection and ballistic protection standards], so that the helmet could be worn in a range of emergency situations and fast-changing environments. This solution would be government-off-the-shelf (GOTS) or commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) and available for purchase in the next 8-12 months."

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