The subject of protective headgear is increasingly on the agenda amongst rescue workers, given the statistics around accidents in which the lack of appropriate protective headgear has compromised a person’s health or even life, and here we’re not talking about sports, but more generally in any situation that exposes the most delicate part of our body – the head – to the risk of violent impact.
American research carried out by NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, concluded that Emergency Medical Service workers, who are often involved in accidents during the transportation of patients, are exposed to a high level of danger. So, with this in mind, the internal safety of the vehicle is designed down to the last detail in order to reduce to a minimum damage to anybody inside it, be they patient or worker.
Seeing as injuries, including fatal injuries, to the head are very common, the institute is evaluating the idea of promoting amongst rescue workers and paramedics inside ambulances the use of a protective, non-encumbering and light helmet that leaves the ears free to allow the use of a stethoscope. A model with these characteristics has been produced by the American company Arasan. It is the EMT-1 Paramedic Helmet, B2, FMVSS218 certified according to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
Working with a helmet inside an emergency vehicle will require a change of attitude, which might not be automatic, but if you think that in many categories, especially in sports, the concept has gradually caught on, from climbing to biking and horse-riding, and it may be that in the future, not only in the States, but also in Europe, the issue may become more prevalent.
In the meantime there are already many organisations which require the use of a helmet during rescue operations, from the Red Cross to Civil Protection units and, obviously, the Fire Service.
Manta helmets, for example, offer a high level of protection and can be used in a variety of emergency situations. By equipping them to several standards they can be used for the requirements of water and rope rescues, technical rescues and search operations in urban areas, natural environments and ambulances.
Here is a picture gallery of the most common models.