Share your Cairns Helmet Stories and Photos!

See the most recent stories and photos your firefighting brothers and sisters have submitted… Send in your own stories and pictures by clicking here.

floryan z. Dearborn, MI

floryan z. Dearborn, MI Detroit Fire Department

Just wanted to say a big thank you for keeping the company alive. Theres alot of tradition in your helmets. I take great pride in wearing my 880 on the job. I would love to see a remake of the 350 senator using composite materials. These would look great if that could be done. Well to everyone reading be safe and God bless.

Adam "Bo" Y. Carbon, IN


I am a second generation fireman. My dad is a career captain. I started when I was 16 and wore a 1010, shortly after I got my 880 for a Christmas gift. Two years and another department later, I'm still wearing my 880 and will never wear a different kind of helmet.

danie v. port elizabeth, IN


i started of as an volunteer fire fighter during the summer of 2002.I am from South Africa) - couldnt add my country so I add Canda and I think Illionos) That stage I used the pacific kevlar helmets which our department issued to us - I was never happy with that helmet untill 2005 when i became a fulltime firefighter - I did my research on fire helmets and find the best ever - the CAIRNS 880 traditional ....there is just this something about a fireman and his helmet,about this helmet - I want to say thank you to CAIRNS for making the best structural fire helmets ever - I still use a yellow CAIRNS 880 traditional( although it is burnt on the one side) I will change that one for nothing else.... she can so many untold stories.....each one in the brotherhood of fireman will know - a fireman wear his CAIRNS with pride on his head - SO MOTE IT BE.

Robert R. Trenton, MO

Robert R. Trenton, MO Trenton Fire Department

When i took over as the Buyer for the Departments PPE i was faced with a staff of just over 20 and some how only 6 Cairns 1044 Helmets and 2 Cairns 880 Helmets. The others were donning the "Modern Brain Buckets" as we knew them as they were Simply Modern Style (Competitors) helmets. A couple of Firefighters had private owned Traditional helmets made by another competitor but they were way too heavy to be comfortable. When it came time for me to liquidate the old PPE and order the new standard of PPE i was proud to make Cairns 1044 Deluxe with Defender Visor my prime choice of my orders. As some time has gone by i have already had to replace and repair other articles of PPE but the Helmets have held strong and show little wear even on my roughest of Firefighters. Because of my time and experience with Cairns Helmets i am proud to say this January i will be outfitting five new probies with the Cairns Helmets and placing a True Leather Helmet with Goggles & Bourkes on my wishlist!

Teddy W. Bridgeville, PA

I love cairns Helmets. They have always stood up to everything i put them through from my 880, 1010 and my New Yorker leather. Excellent products and great company. I love the history and like collecting helmets from cairns.

Erik K. Modesto, CA

Erik K. Modesto, CA Keyes Fire Protection District

The Cairns 880 in this picture has since been taken out of service after 3 years in service. Thankfully it never had anything too serious to protect me from,other than my clumsiness, but from the color of it, I'm glad I had it on my head. Now using the department's "stock" helmet while wishing for a N5A New Yorker.

Jacob E. Jasper, GA

Jacob E. Jasper, GA Hinton Volunteer Fire Department

Wearing my Carins 880 at a training fire

Mark B. Milwaukee, WI

I have been a pround owner of carins products since I got into the fire service 6 years ago. I started with a 1010 then went to a 880 when wy department swithced to a different manufacturers helmet. I then moved up to a '91 new yorker that I refinished myself. I love this helmet but fear I will have to retire it due to it not meeting requirements. In my eyes carins products are the gold stadard when it comes to technology, comfort, and customer service.

Charlie W. Norwalk, OH

Charlie W. Norwalk, OH Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department

As a member of the FVFD I choose to buy with my own money a Cairns 880 because it is the lightest, lowest fitting, most comfortable, and safest helmet on the market. The 880 is and will be the only helmet I wear during training or fire calls as my career in the fire service continues.

Scott S. DeSoto, MO

I have worn Cairns helmets for 15 yrs. A year ago, I inherited a Cairns leather helmet with a date of 1893 on the center medallion. This helmet was my great, great uncles when he was on the job in Secaucus, NJ. It is an awesome feeling to look at the history from that helmet to the current Cairns 880 that I wear on the job today. Thank you for being an American tradition!

Erik H. Norwalk, OH

I can't wait until I can lose this blue smurf colored cadet helmet! When my training is complete and I become a full time member of our department, I will be sure to get a Cairns Chicago 880 just like my grandpa and my older brother wear. It is like a family tradition!

Charlie W. NORWALK, OH

Charlie W. NORWALK, OH Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department

As a member of the FVFD, I choose to buy with my own money a Cairns 880 because it is the lightest, lowest fitting, most comfortable and safest helmet on the market. The 880 is and will be the only helmet I wear during training or fire calls as my career in the fire service continues.

Sharon D. Cahokia, IL

Sharon D. Cahokia, IL Camp Jackson Fire Department

I am the Assistant Chief of a volunteer fire department in Illinois. I am responsible for purchasing PPE for the firefighters, and I only buy Cairns Helmets. I have worn helmets from other manufacturers in the past, but nothing wears like a Cairns Helmet! I personally wear the Cairns 880 and I recently bought a special one; one for my daughter who is 15 years old and an explorer with the department. I trust Cairns to take care of her.

Mike M. Little Falls, NJ

I'm a huge fan of Cairns Fire Helmets. They continue to keep us all safe in the firefighting community. My department not only just wears them for the looks, but we wear them with confidence that we know we can be safe by wearing them. Thinking back to about a year ago when myself and my captain went into a structure fire, while in the building the ceiling above us collapsed (luckily just a small portion) falling on us both, because of the Cairns 880 Traditional we walked out without a scratch, happy that we were both wearing Cairns!! THANK YOU!!!

Robert S. Lake Station, IN

On 12-10-2011, I was able to pull 2 small children out of a structure fire. After pulling the first child out, the room flashed over. On mke I was able to jump from the room out the window. I then went to the front of the home where the fire was being knocked down and entered and retrieved the second child with help of a Hobart firefighter. My red hat was black and burned, but my head was fine and 2 small children are alive today with the help of my Cairns 880 fire helmet.

Gary B. Lebanon, PA

Well, when I first tried on a Cairns helmet I was amazed, and I went on to buy 2 Cairns 880s which have protected me so much. I enjoy wearing them. Once I showed off my 880s to the fire company they went on to buy about 60 of them and everyone loves them.

Brendan W. Hastings On Hudson, NY

I have been wearing a Cairns 880 for the past 3 years as an interior Firefighter. I don't have a dramatic story about how my helmet has protected me, but I must say that I do hit my head on a lot of odd shaped objects during normal operations and thanks to the great helmets that Cairns makes I never feel a thing. I can promise you that the only helmets I'll be wearing for the rest of my firefighting career is going to be Cairns.

James M. San Diego, CA

A good friend of mine was in a training burn down of a structure wearing a Cairns 880 helmet. A member of a neighboring department not wearing a Cairns helmet stood up and in the extreme heat his helmet melted. My friend stood up to pull him down to safety. Once outside the two sets of PPE were fully inspected; the Cairns equipment was fully functional with only superficial smoke and heat damage, where as the other was destroyed!

Ryan C. Winthrop, MA

Ryan C. Winthrop, MA Cambridge Auxiliary Fire Department

Me with my Cairns 880 helmet which has served me well for the past 7 years. Its an honor to wear a helmet that has such a deep root in the fire service. Regardless of the outcome, thank you for keeping the tradition alive.

Gerald M. Fitzgerald, GA

Gerald M. Fitzgerald, GA Fitzgerald Fire Dept / Ben Hill County

Even in the heat the helmets are comfy and glove give us the ability to do our jobs!

Mark B. Milwaukee, WI

I've had Cairns helmets for my whole career. My father wore them for his 29 years in the fire service. I currently have a 880 Chicago. I have always wanted a N5A New Yorker. Just the tradition and stories that go along with such beautiful helmets that are handmade with care and pride. Your company is the highest quality maker of fire service equipment and I would be proud to wear one of your helmets.

Rich F. Shawnigan Lake, BC

The traditional helmet is the best their is - it looks good! Its safe and sets the standard.

Phil M. Newton, MA

They say you'll never forget your first love...I say you'll never forget your first fire helmet. I have been a firefighter for 7 years. I started my fire career at a small college fire department, Franklin Piece Fire. It is the only fully student run Fire Department in the country. They didn't have the best equipment, our first due truck was a 1969 Chevy Pumper...but what they did have that was great was the Cairns Helmets. They had a Cairns 660C Metro, which was my first helmet. I loved my Cairns, and all it stood for. I had it for 4 long years, and when it came time to graduate, and thus pass it down to the next student, I couldn't leave it behind. I bought it from my Student Fire Department with a donation to buy two Cairns helmets, and now proudly let it hang by my door. For me, that was a great deal, this helmet was a part of my history and I couldn't leave it behind. I am now a career firefighter with a Cairns 880 Chicago, because I love the product and the company. And I know I'll be a Cairns customer for life.

Daniel M. Detroit, MI

Daniel M. Detroit, MI Wayne County Fire Academy

My Cairns 880 Tradition has my life in its hands. And it hasn't failed yet.

Gordon W. Indianapolis, IN

Gordon W. Indianapolis, IN Wayne Township Fire Department

The Helmet that started it all. When I was born into this world in 1975 my father was already a firefighter. He volunteered as a firefighter here on the West side of Indianapolis with the Wayne Township Fire Department. He kept his first helmet and gave it to me at the age of 3 when he replaced it with a Leather Cairns. I wore and carried that helmet every where I went as a child, hell, I grew up with my father's helmet. I know that over the years staring at that helmet and growing up around the fire service greatly influenced my choice to become a Firefighter. I joined the US Army to become a Firefighter and have served our beloved country as one for 15 years now as one. I also was lucky enough after going through a rigorous hiring process and recruitment school, to get hired onto the now, Full time Career Department of Wayne Township. The very same Department in which my father volunteered over 18 years of his life for free I became a part of as Professional Firefighter. Upon completion of the Fire Academy here at Wayne, I was issued my own Cairns 880. I have used the same helmet for over 5 years now. It has been pieced and glued back together over its years of service to our community because of a loyalty to a brand, a tradition, and a helmet I grew up with. That helmet will be my son's helmet when I can someday have my own Leather just as my Father did. My Hero and his Helmet started a Second Generation of Firefighters and what is soon to be a third with my son as he too has already made up his mind. I have kept my Fathers helmet my entire life over 35 years now and restored it to OEM to the best of my capabilities. It now hangs proudly on my wall of Firefighting Achievements where it will be passed down. A Cairns MSA Helmet, an original skull cap and protector of firefighting knowledge. Ours will never to leave our family, so as to stand for a purpose, a reason and a man and his helmet who started it all for us, the Walker Firefighting Clan.

Jeff W. Plainfield, IL

One of my friends on the Chicago fire dept. that is on a truck company had a axe fall two stories and hit him in the head, and if he wasn't wearing his Chicago 880 helmet he would have been a goner. He suffered a minor concussion. But that awesome helmet did save his life.

Rob C. Guerneville, CA

Rob C. Guerneville, CA Russian River Fire Protection District

I have been using Cairns helmets since my fire service career began in 1991. I currently have the newer style 880. Prior to that I was using a Cairns 1010. When the Cairns 880 came back, I didn't hesitate. I really like the traditional look. It is a well balanced comfortable wearing helmet.

Tyler H. Latrobe, PA

Tyler H. Latrobe, PA Lloydsville Volunteer Fire Department

Well, I love taking pics, and this is of my blue Cairns 880.

Duane R. Onancock, VA

My father and I are volunteer fire fighters. We got a call one night that a single story residence was on fire. Upon arrival we got reports that there was still someone trapped in the house. I watched as my dad entered the house to do a primary search, he was in a bedroom on the C-side of the house when he found a victim. He dragged the victim around to the B-side of the structure. All the sudden the room caved in on my dad and the victim. If it wasn't for my dads PPE and his Cairns 880 helmet, he and the victim would probably have died. I want to thank you so much for the protection and quality of your helmets.

Matt B. Toledo, OH

Matt B. Toledo, OH Toledo Fire and Rescure Deaprtment, Toledo, OH

The Crew I was assigned to for the day responded to a structure fire in a 2 story multi-family dwelling. Upon our arrival we had light smoke conditions with no visible fire from side Alpha. Myself and another member entered the structure with an 1 3/4 hose line and proceeded to Division 2 to attack the fire. When we reached division 2 we encountered high heat and began to attack the fire. Somehow we lost water pressure and the flames now were over taking us. My partner retreated to the stairwell and I had the nozzle and moved back as well. Come to find out his helmet, made by another manufacturer, melted and compressed his hood onto his ears causing extensive second degree burns. My 1010 held up and I made it out unhurt! It was a lesson to us both in water supply and having water before an attack is started. It also forced him to get a new helmet! I still wear Cairns 880 and love them! I have gone through 3 different Cairns helmets during my 11 years here and plan on using many more. Thanks for protecting my melon from damage! Lt Matt Brixey

Tyler S. Lenoir, NC

Tyler S. Lenoir, NC Gamewell Fire Department

My fire department had just started doing overhaul of a structure fire. The crew was in the kitchen area and before they started overhaul we had soaked the attic of the home so that we could get the fire from up there out. I had stepped out onto the drive way to take a breather and the next thing i had heard was a loud crash. I ran to the doorway to find part the ceiling on the ground. The ceiling had fallen from where all of the water had weighed it down. Luckily all firefighters in side were either wearing there Cairns 1010 or there 880 when it fell on there heads. Everyone walked away with no injuries. The only helmets that my fire department uses is Cairns because we know we can trust them. Thank you for your great helmets.

Gary M. Blairsville, PA

I knew that Cairns would be the only helmet I would ever own after a vehicle accident late one night involving a vehicle into a tree resting at the top of an embankment. As I proceeded over to the vehicle I slipped and knocked my 880 off of my head as I hit the ground. My 880 fell to ground and as I reached to recover it I knocked it over the hillside on which the car was resting atop and it fell over the hill. I was unable to find it due to the hillside being well over 100 feet high and extremely steep. I chose to wait until morning figuring that I'd have to buy a new helmet anyhow as nothing could survive a fall like that. I returned to the accident scene the following morning to find that the hillside was almost 200 feet in height and that an access road resided at the bottom. Thinking that I would find my helmet in pieces after seeing the area in the daylight I chose to go to the access road and recover the pieces for insurance purposes. Upon arrival of the area in which I believed my helmet to be I began searching for parts of it to recover when I found that it was in fact not in pieces but fully intact with only minor scratches, even the brass eagle survived the fall without breaking. The only thing that was lost was my rubber band that had been holding my light on and it was found shortly after a few feet from the bottom of the hill. I immediately inspected the helmet and found no structural damage, no cracks, and only one screw missing from the eagle which had been loose for some time. I placed the helmet back in my car with my turnout gear and continue to use it to this day over two years after the incident. The helmet actually saved me in a structure fire in which a large chunk of plaster over 8 feet in diameter fell from a ceiling with my helmet and air pack, which incidentally was an MSA taking the brunt of the hit.

Kevin M. Negley, OH

Kevin  M. Negley, OH Negley Volunteer Fire Department

Since I've been in my fire department I have owned Cairns helmets. When I first joined I used the helmet the department gave me, until I bought a Cairns 880 Chicago. The Chicago was very comfortable and I loved the style. Everyone I've talked to in other departments said they would never own another brand. The performance of Cairns is unbeatable.

David S. Kinderhook, NY

David S. Kinderhook, NY Niverville

I have three Cairns Helmets they are the only helmet I trust in the heat of battle. In the fifteen years in the Fire Service Cairns is the only one for me! I recommend Cairns to all of my Firefighter friends and tell them that I owe a lot to the Cairns Helmet. Last Year I was involved in a collapse while doing a Fire Investigation I credit the Cairns 880 with the credit for keeping me from injury. I currently have two Cairns helmets in service I have a N5A New Yorker (that I recently painted) for use during FD operations, as well as an 880 that I use for my special team operations (Hazmat & Cause and Origin teams). Thank you to Cairns for 175 years of the BEST helmet on the market!

Web M. Milledgeville , GA

I have been wearing Cairns Helmets for my entire career. I have been on the job since 1970. Regardless of the situation whether it is in training, live fire, or on a call, my Cairns Helmets have sustained high heat, ceiling material and superheated water falling on top of me, and glass and metal rebounding during extrication situations. My Cairns helmets have saved me from head and facial injury on a regular basis . So whether I win a new Cairns helmet or not, is academic, because I am already a winner...every time I return from safely from a call . Thanks Cairns/MSA . P.S. I own and have worn the Topguard, Cairns 880, 881, Classic 1000, Sam Houston, and currently the Cairns 1010. Your helmets are like the Timex watch, they take a beating and keep on protecting .

Jimmy W. Franklin, GA

While conducting a training fire exercise, I was walking down the hall when a fluorescent light fixture fell and stuck me on the head. I was wearing a Cairns 880 and it was pushed down to my ears. The helmet protected me. Thanks