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.

Ian G. Roanoke, VA

Ian G. Roanoke, VA Cave Spring Volunteer Fire Department

My father wore a leather (I beleve it is an N5A) in Chicago. And as soon as I come into some money I will be buying either an N5A or a N6A.



Jeffery R. Kannapolis, NC

As a kid growing up there was nothing in this world I wanted more then to be a firefighter. From the start there was no hope for me being anything other then a firefighter because I was raised in it. While other 5,6,and 7 year old kids were climbing out of bed to watch their favoite saturday morning cartoons, yeah but not me I was up and ready to go to the fire department with my dad.I would help do truck checks, sweep the bays,wash the trucks, roll hose, anything that had to do with being a firefighter.The first fire helmet I ever put on my head was a Cairns 660,my dad still has the picture somewhere as he often reminds me of those day but that little boy grew up and became of age to join the fire service as Jr firefighter at the age of 16. I still remember that night like it was last night as the officer over PPE started chunking bunker gear boots gloves hoods saying try this on and then he tossed out a box with a helmet in it. It was a brand new still in the plastic 1010 the guys said it looked as if I had unwapped a gold nugget so now it off to classes getting certified before reaching the age of 18 so by this time I have graduated high school in 2003 and recived my state FF certs for all my hard work for christmas my dad rewarded me with a brand new N6A Sam Houston that I still wear today at my career department this fine hand crafted helmet has saved my head more then once and is now about to be a shelf piece but all my years in an around the fire service Cairns by far makes the best fire helmets and thank you for what yall do.

Kris C. Krakow, WI

Kris C. Krakow, WI Green Bay, WI Fire Department

This is the next generation of firefighters! My 4 year old son and his fathers helmet. Kris Cairns



William R. ORLEANS, MA

William R. ORLEANS, MA Brewster Fire and Rescue Department

My father just recently retired from the fire service after 36 years full-time, 41 years total. For the last 34 years the two helmets that he used were both Cairns New Yorkers that protected his head and kept him safe in the line of duty. Other then a little smoke and heat damage from many years of fire, structurally they are in great shape and have held up well to many years. When he retired the only thing that he wanted was to keep his helmets as they are his prized possessions. When I graduated college with my degree is Fire Science he asked what I wanted for a graduation gift and I of course asked for my own Cairns N5a.

Jeremy W. Dallas, NC

Jeremy W. Dallas, NC Spencer Mountain Road VFD

Hello everybody my name is Jeremy i have grown up in the fire service. my father is a veteran of 25 years in it. And throughout his and my career in it we have always relied Cairns helmets. As of now he has a 1010 and I have a 1044 my first helmet that he gave to me is a 1010 that i have hanging up on my wall. One day i hope to be able to have the honor of wearing a new yorker.

James M. Exmore, VA

James M. Exmore, VA Northampton Fire / Rescue, Inc.

In 1988 I bought my Dad a Cairns 660, in honor of his election as Chief of the East Milton VFD in Milton, Fla. He wore it thru several years, until he retired in 1995 due to health reasons. He passed away last July,at the age of 85. Before he died he passed the helmet back to me, to wear at my volunteer fire company, after 23 years of service, I would like to retire my dads helmet to a place of honor, and to preserve it to pass on to my grandchildren.

Jason K. Whiteland, IN

Jason K. Whiteland, IN Whiteland Volunteer Fire Department

Me letting my son hold the fire hose with me during a station visit. Moments like this is what I live for and why I need the best protection in the market!

Jozef T. Elizabeth, PA

One of my fellow firefighters has a n5a and it's seen fire and is still good. I am turning 18 In October and I really want a Cairns n5a black but I can't afford it and after seeing him have ceiling fall on him and debris everywhere and going into a fire alot, honestly I want a helmet that will be safe then a composite plastic one. I have always loved the leather helmet due to that it's safe light and made from leather and looks " ole school " and I just think i should try and see if I can win a leather. Everyone at my station is like get a leather it won't let you down ever but I just can't afford it due to the price over 500 dollars. So i hope this story is good enough to get picked and I would be super happy if I won a Black N5A and my goal would be success if I owned and used a leather. And Also I bought 3 other cairns 1000 and 2 1010s but I just wish I bought a leather. So please pick this story I would be grateful if I was awarded a leather helmet Thanks you Jozef

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!

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.

Stephen F. Crestwood, KY

Stephen F. Crestwood, KY Ballardsville Fire Department

We are proud to say that we have and will continue to use Cairns helmets. I took this picture of my son when he was 3 years old. He has and will continue to love the fire service as I do and have since I was a kid myself. I always get comments on the pic and thought I might share it with you guys. Thanks for helping protect and keep all within our family safe.

David S. Valatie, NY

David S. Valatie, NY Niverville Fire Department

I am a 15 year member of the Fire Service. My career so far has been filled with Cairns. From the first time that I put on my fathers helmet which is when I became hooked on Cairns. I will never choose anything else. I own six of my own helmets. I also have a Cairns charm that I wear on my necklace with my St. Flourian for good luck. My love for Cairns has been picked up by my Fire Department. My Chief just purchased new Cairns 1010s for every Firefighter. We all are proud of the Cairns name. Thank you for keeping me safe in the past and in the future.

Frank F. Cape Coral, FL

Frank F. Cape Coral, FL FMFD

I started the fire service with an N5A New Yorker and its the best a fire fighter can get, its rugged durability and safety are proven every time the alarm goes off. I just wouldn't feel safe with out it. Cairns has been a part of my family and continues from my uncle fighting fires in the Bronx and Spanish Harlem to me and soon my younger brother. It would be great if my younger brother can join the Cairns family with his very own Cairns N5A New Yorker.

Greg S. Bothwell, ON

I have a Cairns 1010 that I wear on every call I go on. My dad who was the past Chief at our hall told me I had to have to wear it to be safe so that he knows I'm safe. He wore Cairns helmets for 25 years before he retired and now the tradition carries on with me wearing one hopefully for another 25 years. No other helmet goes on my head, keep up the great work! Be safe and god bless :)

Jacob A. Valley, AL

I wore a Cairns 660C Metro throughout my internship as an explorer. I wore my helmet proudly on wrecks on Interstate 85, brush fires and a good handful of exterior attacks. Well when the time came for me to move up I was bypassed in the gear receiving area seeing as I already had personal gear that was to date, and the there were certified guys coming in and getting the Dept. issued gear. Well my great Cairns story takes place on two scenes. The first was right across from Chiefs house, we had been scheduled to do mock wreck at the school that day but the tone dropped and we rolled an eighty eight E-One pumper along side one of our 3500 gallon tankers. I was left at the station. When the engine officer topped the hill about a three-quarters of a mile from the scene and had flames visible at a distance he asked for more personnel to respond, so I and a senior firefighter got in the the service truck and headed that way. When we got on scene it was a pre-fab home with flames through the roof, he and I took an attack line to the rear of the house and made egress to the kitchen. Our Battalion Chief that day was also a Captain for the City of Opelika and he recalls it as possibly the hottest single family dwelling fire he had ever seen. As we made our way into the structure deeper and deeper my helmets became heavier and heavier and took some good hits from rafters and all, the weight was coming from the water lines ran in the ceiling that were melting down on us. But after it was all said and done my lid saved me from what my officer was saying. Two days after that we went to a neighboring Dept. for Mutual Aide, I ended up going in with a member from their Dept. Needless to say my lid was there again taking good lick but this time not only from rafters but the entire half of the mobile home. I was in a collapse that day. The cause was by him not leaving when I thought it was time to go, ended up I was right. I was pretty sore the next day but my lid kept my head safe, and that is the reason I would be honored to win a Cairns Helmets. - Jacob Arthur 675 B.F.D.

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.

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.

Andrew K. Palm Coast, FL

I have used Cairns Fire helmets over the last 20 years in the fire service as well as the past 5 generations of my family. Thanks for protecting the Keppler family heads for over 150 years.

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.

Ralston S. Lenoir, NC

Ralston S. Lenoir, NC NCFR (North Catawba Fire-Rescue)

Hi My name is Ralston. Today I'm going to tell you a story about my Twin Brother and His Cairns 1010. Myself and my twin brother Mason are premature. We were born 27 weeks early. I weighed 2lbs, 3oz and Mason weighed 2lbs, 2oz. We were so small my Dad could hold us in his hand and take his wedding ring and put it all the way up are arms. We were in the Hospital for 3 months. I came home first, but my brother came home a couple of week's after I did. My brother got the bad end of things when he was being born. He had to have open heart surgery when he was 3 days old and had surgery on his intestine. The doctors told my mother my twin brother would never be able to sit up or walk, he would be blind and would never be able to be on his own when he got older. But, God proved the doctors wrong! Today on February 15, 2011 my Brother is a Junior Firefighter with me and will be one for a year on February 23, 2011. He is not blind. He can walk on his own. He can run (not as fast as the normal person but it's running for him). My twin brother is the most caring and loving person you will ever meet. He will do anything for you!! If he can't, he will do his best. I love my Brother with all my heart. I don't know what i would do without him, but God has Blessed me with him for 15 Years now. My Father has been in the Fire Service for 23 Years now. We grew up in it, and we love every bit of it. My Brother has a Yellow Cairns 1010. One of the Captions at my Department gave it to him and said he could use it for anything he wanted to. My brother has been on fires and wrecks and woods fires. I know he will be safe wearing his Cairns Helmet, and I'm glad there are people in God's world that would put people on this earth to make Cairns helmets and etc. To protect myself and my brother. I'm happy to say that my brother is alive today and is with me everyday!. i just wanted to say thank you for reading my story and thank you for all you guys and girls do. God bless all of my brothers and sisters in the Fire and Medical service. Your brother, Ralston.

Patrick H. Buffalo, NY

I am a second generation fire fighter following my father's footsteps. Hired in 2010 I am two weeks from the end of my probation and was in the Market for a Cairns helmet when I came across this giveaway. My father's career and time on this world was cut short after a structural fire in Buffalo eastside went horribly wrong. A roof collapsed on his leaving him without oxygen for several minutes causing irreversible damage to his brain. " It's a story that made headlines around the world when on April 30, 2005, Donny Herbert, a 43-year old Buffalo firefighter, stunned his doctors, family and friends when he suddenly emerged from a vegetative stupor after nearly 10 years. Over the next 16 hours, Donny, who had been deprived of oxygen for six minutes when the roof of a burning building caved in on him in December 1995, began talking and became his old lovable self again, catching up with family and friends on the decade he'd lost. Donny gradually slipped back into a vegetative state and died in December 2006" - http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Books/story?id=3916331&page=1 - 60 minute clip which aired november 2007 http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4402014n&tag=related;photovideo - He always wore the city issued non traditional helmet, because he could not afford nothing else, But i remember one day as a little child how happy he was when our family bought him his first traditional helmet a Cairns 1010 which one day became the cover picture on the book about my dad. Today it sits on my mom's mantle silt covered with the front holder bend from the roof collapse (no other damage). Your helmet with the actions taken by the Buffalo Firefighters gave my family another 11 years which I will always cherish. Thanks You Patrick Herbert

William B. Trenton, FL

My story is simple. My great-grand father was a firefighter my grand father was also a fire fighter (FDNY) my father on the other hand broke out of the family business and became a cop (NYPD). I don't really know what went wrong, he might have feel and hit his head as a child. As for me, well, I'm in the family business and I'm a firefighter in Florida. As far as I know, both grandfathers had a Cairns, and to my Dismay, I cannot use them on duty. So, I would just like my own to pass down to my son who hopefully will keep it in the family business

John H. Sheridan, CA

My Father is a retired Captain he wore a Cairns classic 1000 for 25 years. Every time he came home after a shift, we used to fight over who got to wear his helmet so we could play firefighter. Now that I am firefighter myself and have my own helmet, I like to think its like we are passing on a torch from one generation to another.

Joshua E. Hope, RI

Hi name is Joshua Etchells. I joined the fire dept 7 years ago. I joined the fire dept so that I could follow in my great grandfathers foot steps. He was a providence firefighter for the state of RI. He passed away before I could ever talk to him about the fire dept. I'm on two volunteer fire stations and I've always wanted my own gear like my great grandfather had.

Kurt W. Dover, NJ

Kurt W. Dover, NJ Town of Dover Fire Department

Me at training.



Jeff M. Florida, NY

Jeff M. Florida, NY Highland E&H No 3

Future firefighter



Alex N. Shelton, CT

Alex N. Shelton, CT Storm Engine Co. 2

In the photo i added there are 3 generations of cairns N5A New Yorker helmets still being used to this day by these members of my company. i will never buy any other helmet except for cairns. this picture was taken in mid july of 2010.

Erik J. Fairhaven, MA

Erik J. Fairhaven, MA Fairhaven Fire Dept.

I Have always used Cairns since 2003-present and love It. I bought cairns 1010 when i got on my dept as a volunteer fire fighter. Its a great helmet sits on my head well and has protected my head dozens of times from pulling ceiling hitting my head on beams fighting a fire in a crawl space. My dept gave me a morning pride had it fell a part in my first fire with it the eagle fell off and the rubber trim came off So I went back to my Cairns1010. I became a professional fire fighter where i work as a volunteer fire fighter. I bought a Leather cairns N5A New Yorker and love it. Have only seen one fire with it but is great. I come from a long line of fire fighters and they all had leather cairns N5A new yorker. Cairns is the only helmets I will use.

Brandon G. Bluff City, TN

Brandon G. Bluff City, TN Avoca Fire Rescue

That's my dad and me. My dad is in a Cairns 1010.



Dan N. St Paul Park, MN

Dan N. St Paul Park, MN St Paul Park Fire Rescue

Born to be Firefighters