Every day, police officers, firefighters, and other first responders face the difficult job of protecting our well-being. They are often placed in harm’s way with nothing to protect them other than their government provided safety equipment. Providing the latest, most effective equipment is the least taxpayers can do to help protect these brave men and women. A group of retired and active firefighters, however, has filed a new lawsuit, claiming that their equipment does more harm than good.
According to a report from the Tampa Bay Times, five St. Petersburg city firefighters have filed suit in Pinellas-Pasco (FL) Circuit Court against Mine Safety Appliance Co. and Ten-8 Fire Equipment Inc., claiming that the helmets they were issued in 2010 were designed poorly and caused head and neck injuries. Specifically, the firefighters allege that the 1044 Cairns model helmet, manufactured by Mine Safety and distributed by Ten-8, is uneven and causes musculoskeletal injuries. Translation: These helmets allegedly turn the firefighters into life size bobble heads.
While the report is silent as to the nature of the injuries, we here at Abnormal Use can reasonably conceive how a weighty helmet could cause neck injuries. After all, we are all prisoners of gravity and the hazards of top heaviness. Nonetheless, we question what alleged design defect in the 1044 Cairns model distinguishes it from any other helmet. It seems as if any over-sized helmet would have the propensity to promote bobble head-like movement. As such, even though the firefighters allege that this helmet is uneven, they might face some difficulty demonstrating that the injuries are the result of the 1044 Cairns and not repetitive trauma from prior models. Further, it will also be interesting to see if this alleged problem is limited to the St. Petersburg department or whether it is more widespread.