Tag Archive | fire helmet

Weekend Update 3/31/12

The weekend update was a posting format I tried when the ELAFF blog started. It was a weekly post recapping the links posted on the ELAFF FB page, along with other content. In order to boost the posting rate on the blog, and to keep the “Leather-freaks” engaged in the discussion, I’ve decided to give a hearty attempt at reviving the Weekend Update.

*If anyone has an idea for a better name for these posts (preferably more fire-related) leave a comment.*

Gore FD is in need of a tanker

Rhett Fleitz posted on FireCritic.com about the Gore (VA) VFD, which is in need of a tanker. The tanker they relied on for rural water supply was totaled in a wreck, in which one of their firefighters was tragically killed in the line of duty.

“If your department is selling or willing to donate your tanker truck to the Gore community, please contact Assistant Chief Kevin Yost at Fire Station 14.  The phone number to contact is (540) 858-2811. If you prefer email, contact the editor of VAFireNews.com at editor@vafirenews.com and I will forward the message. “

Urban Firefighter Magazine released Issue 7

Urban Firefighter Magazine released the long-awaited 7th Issue of their online publication. It is filled with great articles, written and presented in a more modern fashion than other trade publications, and it’s only available online (but that means that it’s FREE).

Urban Firefighter on Facebook

Video Demonstrates the Dangers of “Home Response”

This video (from Long Island, NY) surfaced, showing the dangers associated with “home response”. For those unfamiliar with the term, that’s when volunteer/paid-on call/reserve/etc. firefighters respond from home/work to the station before responding apparatus.

French Company Makes Fire Safety “Fashionable”

I stumbled upon a French company that is making fire safety “fashionable”, and perhaps more common. Fire Design sells fire extinguishers in various designer colors and designs. They also sell smoke detectors, kits with detectors AND an extinguisher in a gift box, and belts, bags, and phone cases made from recycled fire hose. The site says they have distributors in NYC and Hollywood, but you will have to email them in French to locate the exact stores. A neat idea to get life-saving products in more homes.

We’re Closer to Giving Away a Phenix Leather Helmet

In December, I announced that ELAFF had started a Bucket Brigade to raise money for the National Firefighters Endowment. Part of leading a Bucket Brigade is the opportunity to receive a Phenix leather helmet upon raising $1000. I didn’t feel right collecting a helmet that the ELAFF leather-freaks “paid for” (plus I own a leather), so I decided to give it away. Every $1 donated is an entry into the drawing. $100 = 100 entries. Here’s a direct link to the donation page. The fund drive recently received a big boost when 4Factor donated $1 from every product they’ve recently sold. They also have each customer’s information to be entered in the drawing for the helmet. Who is 4Factor?


4Factor is an up-start business project involving Captain Chaos (Matt Ritter) and Steven Sweatt of The Daily Hydrant (also an ELAFF local). They started with Lemon Wedge-inspired “Thin Red Line” wedges and are slowly adding new products. They are very customer oriented and dedicated to helping the fire service. They are committed to donating a portion of ALL sales to different fire service charities.

4Factor website

4Factor Facebook

Check them out and tell them that Lt. Lemon sent you!

ELAFF Contest Prizes Arrive

The ELAFF contest prizes have shipped and have started to be delivered. Check out the “Da’ Travels of Da’ Lemon Wedge” photo album on the ELAFF FB page for photos as prizes arrive…two are up, so far.

The Hose Jockey and the Abilene Paradox

The Hose Jockey posted about the Abilene Paradox:

“It is where everyone agrees to do something out of fear of being different even though no one in the group agrees with it.  To put it in firefighter terms, its where you assume everyone wants to do something, but in reality no one wants any part of it, but for whatever reason everyone agrees to do it.”

Great post, check it out.

Close Call Video in Michigan

Statter911.com had a  news post on a close call in Dearborn, Michigan. The video below shows as a roof crew operating at a structure fire nearly goes through the roof. Many things to learn from this one. Be sure to watch and discuss this with your crew. Internet critiquing/quarterbacking is what it is, but the folks on your shift are the one’s who you could potentially be with in this situation. Share it with THEM.

ELAFF Facebook Page and Blog Integration

I’ve integrated the ELAFFHQ.com blog into the ELAFF Facebook page. You now have the option of reading posts, sharing posts, and subscribing to the blog…ALL on Facebook. Click the link here, or the “Networked Blogs” tab on the ELAFF Facebook page.

…and finally, a Local post

When the Excessive Leather Accessories for Firefighters Facebook Page first started, I used to post regular messages regarding ELAFF Locals (b-days, accomplishments, etc.). However, I stopped this practice when I realized that it could compromise my anonymity. Well, that doesn’t matter anymore…

Today, ELAFF Local Travis Flinchum is getting hitched, big ears and all. Congratulations, Brother! See you this evening…TIME to PARTY!

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading.

-Lt. Lemon (Pete)

Product Review: Westsider Front Holder

I know it’s been a while, and I hate to disappoint you, but this is not a revolutionary, inflammatory rant on the slackers of the fire service. This is a simple, benign, and unbiased product review. Before I delve into this new territory for ELAFF, I’d like to post a quick disclaimer on our reviews. The products we review are sent to us, free of charge, by the manufacturer. We may, or may not, be allowed to keep these products after the review is published. We will be as open as possible about the circumstances of each review, but rest assured that we will receive NO compensation for anything written about a product…other than possibly keeping the sample. We will be open and honest about our opinions of the product, be they positive or negative. That’s the short-hand version of it, so on with the review.

Westsider Front Holder

Retail Price – $29.99

Info from the owner – “Homemade Diamond plate shield\front holder. I made these holders to fit Cairns New Yorker, Sam Houston. 1000, 1010 and 1044. I have not drilled the holes in the side to attach to the helmet so they will fit all helmets listed. These holders have been Laser Cut and bent professionally . They are cut from .063 plate of aluminum diamond plate.”


The Westsider Front Holder is a replacement for the eagle/beaver/solid piece of easily bent metal which holds the leather front/shield on a traditional helmet. They are made by Jonathan Nixon, a firefighter with the Charlotte, NC Fire Department. As stated above, the front is made of aluminum diamond plate. There seems to be a huge number of “diamond plate fans” in the fire service, just as there are leather-freaks. I, for one, am not one of those fans. I simply don’t like flashy “bling” on my helmet, however this review isn’t about my cosmetic preferences, so I showed the front around ELAFF HQ. There were plenty of “oohs” and “ahhs”, and “how do I get one” was asked multiple times. I took this as a sign that firefighters would want one of these on their helmet and began the mounting process. The front comes without pre-drilled holes, so it can be easily mounted on most traditional helmets. It is DESIGNED to be mounted on a Cairns N5A, N6A, 1000, 1010, or 1044. I was planning on being rough with my sample, so I mounted it on an old Ben Franklin I (that’s the good model, not the new Ben II Plus thermo-plastic one). This helmet was a little shorter than the front holder was designed for, and the leather front was a bit tall, but I managed to get the Westsider secured.

I wore it through on all runs, including a few fires. It also had plenty of drill time, along with a few training fires. It held up just fine, as I would hope.

For the final test, I used the remains of a sprinkler demonstration rig. I decided to punch a few holes in some drywall and bang on the wall studs a few times. Honestly, I wouldn’t expect anyone to punch through a wall using their helmet unless they ABSOLUTELY had to…we carry tools for those tasks. However, I hadn’t yet inflicted any real damage to the Westsider, so I thought I’d give this a try.

The drywall didn’t faze it, but pounding on the studs caused the front flap to lift up. I attribute this to the aforementioned under-sized helmet/over-sized shield issue. If I had been using a smaller shield, or a Cairns helmet, I do NOT believe this would have happened. As for the rest of the Westsider, it didn’t have a dent on it. If you DO manage to dent or deform one of these, you’ll probably want to look at replacing the entire helmet…not just the Westsider. This definitely held up better than the stock front holder, which was bent beyond recognition when I removed it.

With the trial phase complete, I was left with one last idea. Getting rid of that shine. It was easily covered with a liberal coating of “NFPA compliant”, black “rattle-can” paint. You could just as easily use any other color.

There you have it. Whether you are a fan of shiny things, or not, the Westsider Front Holder is a viable option for replacing the worn-out, factory holder on your helmet. The diamond plate is strong and looks great, and can be customized easily to match your style. Maybe Jonathan will even start putting out his own colored versions.

You can find out more, and purchase the Westsider Helmet Front, on their Facebook page.

You may also email Jonathan directly at: jrn1cb5a@email.cpcc.edu

– Lt. Lemon

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