ERSI Supports Texas Tech and Lubbock Fire Rescue Partnership to Design New Helmet

As part of its leadership position in advancing research and best practice in helmets and head protection for roadway incident responders, The Emergency Responder Safety Institute (ERSI) continues to reach out to organizations with experience and resources that would benefit the effort. For example, discussions with NASCAR about their helmet research and designs are ongoing. Most recently, ERSI provided a grant to support a partnership between Texas Tech and Lubbock Fire Rescue to develop new technologies in head protection that will better protect first responders on the roadway. This research to create a "NextGenHelmet" has now been awarded a grant from the United States Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Suman Chowdhury and a team of Texas Tech researchers will work with fire departments, including Lubbock Fire Rescue, to ensure the new helmet design meets firefighter needs and the demands of today's firefighting operations.

The firefighting helmet was designed in 1836. It has changed very little in the 150 years since. Texas Tech and Lubbock Fire Rescue's research and development will modernize the fire helmet for the challenges firefighters face today. In 1836, there were no cars and few paved roadways. Today firefighters respond to more incidents on the roadway than structure fires. In 1836, high-powered, semi-automatic, and automatic firearms did not exist. Today firefighters face active shooters. A modern firefighting helmet can integrate technologies like radio communications and lighting devices that were impossible in the mid-19th century. And in terms of structure fires, UL's research has shown that today's synthetic modern furnishings burn faster and hotter than the natural materials of decades past, making higher heat resistance a necessary helmet innovation.

Today's firefighting helmet must be multi-purpose and the Texas Tech / Lubbock Fire Rescue team is taking on that challenge.

The cooperation between researchers and firefighters on this project began during Crash Responder Safety Week in November 2021 when Lubbock Fire Rescue hosted "Fire Ops 101" for members of the Texas Tech Engineering Department to provide hands-on firefighting experience so researchers could better understand what firefighters do.

Please read the press releases on this project from the participating institutions to understand the full scope and approach of this effort to design a NextGenHelmet. ERSI and look forward to following and supporting this research as it develops.

Press Releases:

Lubbock Firefighters Partner with Texas Tech Engineering Department to Develop Roadway Safety PPE for First Responders

The Firefighting Helmet is Getting a Next Gen Upgrade

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