|How Truly Certified Is Your Rescue Helmet?
Do you really know what your personnel are wearing?
Certification and testing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has often
been described as a ‘dark art’ and full of grey areas.
Acceptance of this view, and in numerous cases - perpetuation by
manufacturers has for many years meant that vague, inaccurate and often
spurious claims by PPE suppliers have been missed, or sometimes even
tolerated by Fire & Rescue Services and other professional users.
Thankfully, due to the increasingly high stakes nature of massive
procurement exercises, such as the current Scottish PPE Tender and the SE
Collaborative PPE Procurement; those responsible for verifying
manufacturers’ claims are becoming more probing and expert in their
questioning and insistence of evidence of independent verification of
certification. However stringent the procurement process is, buyers and
specifiers cannot be expected to be expert in every aspect of PPE
certification; they remain reliant on manufacturers’ accuracy and
Outside of the formal tender process, inaccurate claims to conformity can
more easily be missed since such procurements are open to less scrutiny and
rigour. Buyers with responsibility for procurement of PPE should therefore
be absolutely sure they know what they are buying and be certain that
products chosen as safety wear are fully compliant with the appropriate
norms and standards.
PPE Products that are particularly vulnerable to misleading certification
claims are those that have a multitude of applications or uses. PPE, by its
nature is bound to be the ‘last line of defence’ in many
different environments. A good example of this is a non-structural rescue
helmet; a product described in its EN Norm – EN 16473 – as
‘Firefighters Helmets – Helmets for Technical Rescue’.
This type of helmet is being increasingly used for almost every
non-structural fire activity. There is an inevitable desire for fire and
rescue services to consolidate equipment by specifying a single helmet for
all non-structural fire activities.
A Helmet for all Applications
The Holy Grail for users and helmet manufacturers alike is a product
suitable for all rescue operations from water rescue, through to USAR and
vehicle extrication, safety at height and for use during specialist
operations such and climbing and abseil work.
Up to now, this has not been possible. Designers have struggled to develop
one helmet which not only seeks to protect the user in a multitude of
environments but can also be independently verified and certified to a
number of EN Norms.
The Pacific R6DX from Vimpex solves this problem. Approved for Technical
Rescue, At Height Work, and Water Rescue (pending), the R6DX is a true
all-round helmet suitable for every non-structural fire application.
Independently tested and certified to all of the following standards, the
R6DX has already been procured by Greater Manchester FRS and is currently
on trial by several other UK FRSs:
· EN 16473 – Technical Rescue – Vehicle Extrication,
Animal Rescue, Confined Space Work
· EN 12492 – Working at Height – Safety at Height, Aerial
· PAS 028 (Pending) – Water and Flood Rescue
The R6DX is therefore the ideal helmet for all non-fire operations.
Lightweight, Comfortable, Compact and Cost-Saving
The R6DX is manufactured using Kevlar reinforced composite. Such materials
have a very high strength to weight ratio. The centre of balance of the
R6DX is superior to all other rescue helmets meaning the wearer can
concentrate on the job in hand rather than neck ache.
The R6DX is resistant to all chemicals and UV light. This makes them
longer-lasting and suitable for the most aggressive environments including
Hazardous Areas. The compact design of the R6DX means that it fits well
under gas tight hazmat suits. The helmet is also supplied with fittings to
allow for options such as certified full face visor, eye guards and helmet
Now that a truly fully certified all-round rescue helmet is available, FRSs
and other professional rescue organisations should reconsider their PPE
provision to include rescue helmets for all non-structural fire use.
There’s a strong argument to reduce the number of structural fire
helmets in use to vehicle-only issue and to provide all personnel with high
quality rescue helmets. Such helmets can be around half the cost of
structural fire helmets. Since the majority of a firefighters work is
non-structural fire activity, why not make your personnel more comfortable
whilst making a significant saving on firefighter PPE?
If the use of technical rescue helmets is going to increase, then it is all
the more vital that the correct due diligence is done on the claims of the
helmet supplier to be sure that you really know what you are buying. If you
want to discuss your requirements or would like to trial a new R6DX, please
contact Vimpex at firstname.lastname@example.org or call and
speak with one of our PPE specialists on 01702 216999.