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.

Charles S. souix falls, SD

Charles S. souix falls, SD WVFD

Cairns Helmets from 1970's and 1940 aluminum, My story Cairns 1010 black fire helmet saved my skull from burns and falling debris, numerous times to many to reacll all of them. Thanks MSA

Kyle B. paxton, MA

Kyle B. paxton, MA Town of Vernon Fire Dept

As a member of the fire service community for almost 10 years, I have realized how imperative it is for every firefighter to feel completely confident with the PPE they are wearing. Every firefighter is faced with a new type of fire now including new forms of building construction and insulation, making for hotter fires with a greater chance of collapse increasing risk of injury tenfold. What I have learned is that through the years Cairns has been a leading name in firefighter safety. The photo I submitted was a photo of me while I was a firefighter intern for a small town in New Hampshire. Just as the photo was taken fire rolled over the ceiling from fire room of origin. I found this picture to relate because it proves that you can never predict what a firefighter will be faced with. Cairns has protected me on numerous occasions. The one that strikes me the most was while working at a residential house fire. I was on the first fire attack crew to enter the building. After being in the building for no more than five minutes a large bookshelf/cabinet type of furniture fell directly on the heads on me and my crew. Causing the nozzle man to loose control of the hose. I am positive that without Cairns, that situation would have caused me to lose consciousness. This fall only bent the bronze eagle on my helmet and some scrapes. My crew eventually regained control of the hose and knocked the fire down without injury.

Brian B. Defiance, OH

My Cairns helmet protected me in a very hot fire. After the fire and upon gear inspection, I noticed that my flashlight and camera mounts were melted, but there was no visible damage to my Cairns helmet. Thanks Cairns!

Will D. Selma, AL

I have been wearing a cairns helmet my whole career and it has always done a great job. It even held up to the heat while the other bullard helmets that were worn by other firefighters melted.

Gabriel D. Georgetown, TX

Back in 2008 I was in the Fire Academy. We were in live burn weeks and doing nothing but live burn car fire dumpster fire house fire and a hotel fire. When we were in one of the house fire skills a piece of the roof feel off and hit me in the head at the time i didnt know that it cracked my helmet I had a Cairns 1010 that I had got from my father for my birthday. when we got out of the fire I looked at my helmet and could not see or feel the crack. The next thing we did was the Flash over chamber. I went in with the helmet. I could feel the heat on my head. It wasnt alot. when we got out I saw that the top of my helmet was melted and the inside was burned. It never burned thro I was really lucky ever since then I have had cairns helmets untill now my department has morning pride and I just dont have the money to buy a cairns yet

Nathan J. north saanich, BC

Our department had a practice house burn. the house was probably late 60's and so were the light fixtures. pitch black, no visibility, we entered, extinguished the fire and ventilated. once outside my fellow firefighter pointed at something on my gear and lid. i removed my Cairns Helmet and noticed strings of a thick black melted substance on the brim and top. The substance came off some large dangling light fixtures that had melted and dripped all over us during our fire attack.The Cairns helmet prevented burns and pain that would have gone down my neck and elsewhere. Thanks!

Jason D. Kent City, MI

My Cairns 1010 has kept me safe in every situation I have ever been in. I have had drywall and hot ember fall on my helmet with no injury to myself. Thankfully, I have never had to put my helmet to any extreme tests. I have endured countless extrication and extrication practices with injury to myself or my colleges - as we all wear the Cairns 1010. Thank you for making such a great product while still making it affordable for departments to purchase for their members.

James B. Delphi, IN

Several years ago I was involved in a structure fire of a large, old style school house that had been converted into residential occupancy. During the suppression of the fire, members of the crew were impacted by a major heat causing the top of the helmet to boil up into the size of a nickle on the top of the ridge of the helmet. However, the heat did not penetrate through the helmet.

Frank J. Seal Beach, CA

Cairns is a well known helmet in the fire service. I cannot tell how many brothers that have been saved by your products, but I'm sure it's countless. Helmets that I have had melted give me something to talk about. I cannot tell of the burns or trauma I have been spared as I just don't know.

Erick F. Jonesboro, AR

We were paged out to a car fire. I arrived on scene to a fully involved pickup truck on fire. I got packed up and started my attack from the driver's side. As I was shutting off the nozzle, the fire flashed in my face. I assumed it was a result of a chemical reaction from the cold water hitting the hot magnesium inside the truck. My Cairns 1044 helmet did its job in protecting me from the instantly high heat I was exposed to for a few seconds. My helmet was covered in gray dust; I'm guessing magnesium. Thank you Cairns for taking pride in making your helmets and making sure they are able to keep us firefighters safe in the line of battle.

James M. Roselle Park, NJ

About 10 years ago, my fire department responded to a reported fire in a 2 story occupied garden apartment complex. Upon arrival, smoke was visible from several windows on division 2. My engine crew of 4 secured a water supply and stretched a 1/34" preconnect to the apartment door and forced entry and did a primary search of the fire apartment which was negative. The crew then began to knock down the fire which was discovered in the kitchen. I was the lead fireman on the nozzle. As I was applying water on the fire, I heard what I thought sounded like rocks hitting my helmet and face shield. About 10 minutes into the job, the fire was knocked down and my crew retreated to the exterior where I discovered my entire helmet and face shield was covered in molten jelly/jam. The jelly/jam jar apparently exploded when the cold water from the nozzle hit it. The jar pieces were later found on the kitchen counter in the area of fire origin. I escaped with nothing more than some redness just below the helmet brim. There is no question in my mind that if I had not been wearing my Cairns 1010 helmet I would have suffered severe burns injuries to my head and face. Also, this same helmet has served me faithfully for many years after this event. Thank you for permitting me to tell my story. Your superior firemen products are outstanding! Sincerely, James D. McCrady.

Nathan J. North Saanich, BC

Our department had a practice house burn. The house was probably late 60s and so were the light fixtures. Pitch black, no visibility, we entered, extinguished the fire and ventilated. Once outside, my fellow firefighter pointed at something on my gear and lid. I removed my Cairns Helmet and noticed strings of a thick black melted substance on the brim and top. The substance came off some large dangling light fixtures that had melted and dripped all over us during our fire attack.The Cairns helmet prevented burns and pain that would have gone down my neck and elsewhere. Thanks!

John R. Oxford, MS

A fellow officer and I arrived on scene of an approx. 1200 sq. ft. house with moderate smoke showing. We were dressed as soon as the engine pulled in the driveway. We both packed out and began to make entry. My fellow officer made entry through the front door while I pulled some hose up the front steps. When I felt I had enough on the porch, I entered the structure behind him. As he walked into the room adjacent to the fire room, he began his fire attack. When he began to hit the fire, the fire rolled over the room he was in and hit him head on. He was wearing a fairly new red Cairns N6A Houston. The flames were so intense, even for just a brief moment, that his leather shield almost seemed to melt. The helmet itself sustained no damage other than some melted Bourke Eye Shields and some cool sooting of course. Had he been wearing a plastic helmet, I feel he would have been hanging that helmet on the wall afterwards. There is no way a plastic helmet could have withstood that intense fire that seemed to engulf his entire head.

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.

Matt W. McEwen, TN

Matt W. McEwen, TN McEwen Fire Department

I bought my Cairns 1010 in 2001 when I joined the Castile Fire Department in Western N.Y. for three years. Then, I moved to Tennessee in 2004 where I joined the McEwen Fire Department. Over the past ten years my helmet has seen multiple incidents. One of the most memorable incidents happened in the winter of 2009 - 2010 where we were paged out for a working structure fire. I was in our first engine out. On arrival, we had heavy smoke and flames showing from a two story house. Myself and another firefighter made entry and an initial attack in the basement where the majority of the fire was located. During the initial attack, my helmet received heavy heat and smoke damage. The basement and first story of the house had heavy damage. The second story was a save from fire extension. The house had little content, because it was in the finishing steps of construction. Being a rural fire department, we had two mutual aided tankers to the scene. We operated on-scene for approximately two hours. This is mainly where my helmet received its appearance. This helmet is still in-service today.

Michael D. Willimantic, CT

Michael D. Willimantic, CT Wales fire dept

I went to a propane drill in Holland, MA. This was not my first time doing one of these drills. We were asked to use the Holland Fire Department nozzles which didn't flow enough water. There was 3 Cairns 660C Metro helmets along with three sets of Cairns bunker gear that got burnt so bad the paint flaked off. The coats and pants were no good either. After that, we used Wales Fire Department (our station) nozzles and we didn't ruin any more gear. The picture of the helmet is the best of all three. It belonged to my dad, the chief of the Wales Fire Department at the time. The helmet may have been cooked and so was his gear, but he's still here and able to tell the story all thanks in part to your great products.

Rodger B. Butler, PA

Rodger B. Butler, PA Lyndora

I bought my self a brand new N5A New Yorker and I wore it one time and this is what happened, but it did its job!!

Keith S. Indianapolis, IN

Keith S. Indianapolis, IN Indianapolis Airport Fire

We responded to a reported fire located in an aircraft hangar. Making entry we immediately had fire above us. Once we knocked the fire down we proceeded into the hangar where debris and tar was coming down with heavy heat. We made good stop on the fire then dealt with the extension into the roof. My helmet did exactly what is was designed to do. Thank you for making a trusted product!

Logan J. Carlisle, PA

During a mobile house fire in January our Captain and Asst. Chief made entry into the house and as they did the fire started to roll over top of them and then as they were trying to get out it flashed and caught both of them. My Captain's 1044 was smoking and his shield on the helmet was on fire.

Sean F. Watsontown, PA

Sean F. Watsontown, PA Warrior Run Area Fire Department

I acquired this N6A Houston helmet from one of the Captains in my department and I quickly fell in love with it. Unfortunately, it met its end one day during a structural burn class, but I refuse to get rid of it. It will always be a showpiece in my house and has even traveled to college with me as it was my first "real" helmet. I wont wear anything but 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!

Jason M. Broken Arrow, OK

Jason M. Broken Arrow, OK Broken Arrow Fire Dept.

My N6A Houston helmet has protected me in many fires and various incidents throughout its life, but on 7/24/11 it saved my life. While on the second story of the 6700 sq ft house me and my other two crew members were preparing to go back out due to our low air alarms activating. I was just inside the doorway of the attic space and was giving it one more shot of water when our area of the house shook and collapsed sending me headfirst into the garage and leaving the rest of the crew on the edge of what was left of the second story. Shortly after hitting the garage floor I heard the roof tumbling down collapsing on top of me, trapping me underneath the burning rubble. While readjusting my mask I heard my guys send out a mayday over the radio and started to free myself. I was able to push some of the debris off me and crawled out from under the rest of it, low on air and with some minor burns and severe pain in the left side of my chest I looked for a way out. After exhausting a couple of different means of egress and having no tools that made the journey down with me to breach an outside wall, I went back to the previously blocked off front of the garage where this time I was able to faintly see the front of the driveway/yard. I dove, rolled,and crawled through the debris and fire to the front of the garage and into a stream of water that was from the RIT team making entry to come find me. They pulled me out the rest of the way, started treatment and put into a ambulance enroute to the hospital. After a few nights in the hospital due to minor burns, cuts and bruises, fractured ribs and a collapsed lung on the left side,they sent me home to recover. A week or two later I went to go look at my gear and realized that my helmet not only protected me from the fall but from the the looks of my bent over bill that it kept some of the heavy roof timber from crushing my neck and or back of my head. Sorry about the length, just wanted to let you know that your products can and do make a difference everyday in the lives and families of fireman. THANK YOU for the craftsmanship, quality, and pride that you guys/gals put into each of these helmets.

Vincent C. Mirabel, QC

Vincent C. Mirabel, QC Mille-Isles

This is one picture about my Cairns Invader 664 after one night on a house fire. Next morning I see how is my helmet with my flashlight in my streamlight rubber strap. Thanks for your help.

William H. Baltimore, MD

Recently, my company has done a series of training in our flash over simulator at the academy. First time I used another brand helmet, and it didn't last at all. Second time I used my black N6A Sam Houston, and the only damage to it was my shield and Bourkes getting melted.

Sid N. Wichita, KS

Sid N. Wichita, KS Wichita Fire Department

We encountered an extremely hot basement fire one night. The other members of our fire attack team were wearing another brand of helmet without an impact cap. They all stated that their heads got extremely hot during the firefight. I wore my cairns with the impact cap and noticed no extreme heat to my head. Thank you for all you do. - Sid Newby, Battalion Chief

Chase W. Lebanon, MO

Chase W. Lebanon, MO Eldridge Volunteer Fire Department

Two firefighters, Deputy Chief Chase D. Waggoner and Firefighter Justin King, making entry to a heavily involved residential structure near the village of Eldridge, Missouri on Dec. 31, 2010. Deputy Chief Waggoner was wearing a brand-new, white Cairns 1044 helmet on its first call. The helmet, along with his MSA SCBA, protected Waggoner despite the fact that signs of an impending flashover forced the crew to exit the structure within two minutes of entry.

Paul W. Fitzgerald, GA

I was in a training class where we were burning a vehicle and the fire got real intense and the stickers melted on my helmet. I didn't know it till we got back to the station. The helmet wasn't hurt.

Brian T. Hillsborough, NC

I've had my N6A Sam Houston for over a year and it is the best made piece of my PPE. It has kept me safe from falling debris and melting building products during numerous fires. I will keep this helmet forever. Thank you for your quality work. Keep up the good job.

Bill C. Freeville, NY

Back on January 31, 2010 my house burned, my department along with four mutual aid departments responded. During salvage operations, one of the members asked if there was anything I needed out of the house? I said all our medications out of the bathroom, So with nothing to carry the medications out with, they used the three cairns helmets I had hanging on the wall to carry the medications out, one leather N5A New Yorker (red), one 660C Metro (white), and one 660C Metro (black). They were smoked damaged, but I still have them and will proudly display them again as soon as I get a chance to do so.

Ronni B. Wetumpka, AL

Ronni B. Wetumpka, AL Wetumpka Fire Department

On September 12, 2007, I respond to a structure fire as a Lieutenant (Orange 1010 Helmet) with the Wetumpka Fire Department. On arrival we found heavy fire in the back of the structure. Me and and a probationary firefighter (with a brand spanking new yellow Cairns 1444 helmet) entered the structure and began to work or way to the seat of the fire. As we were going down the hallway towards the bedrooms, the hallway flashed. All we could do was flow as much water as possible and try to get to the seat of the fire. When we exited the structure upon knocking the fire down, we had a chance to look at our helmets. It was then that we noticed ALL the reflectors had been burned off along with some of the paint on mine and some major discoloration to his. Fortunately neither one of us suffered any burns and all credit is due to Cairns for making such a great helmet.

Adam H. Wexford, PA

Adam H. Wexford, PA Marshall Township VFD

My name is Adam Hartwig, I have been a Firefighter for 5 years now. I go to school at Penn State Erie, and while I am at school I volunteer as a FF/EMT as well. This past year I responded to the Union City Fire where a structural collapse sent debris flying onto the top of our engine and onto me and my partner. My Cairns 1010 saved me from becoming seriously injured (The picture shown is myself on the Left and my partner on the Right just after the collapse of the Bravo side of the structure when debris rained down on us). In a second incident last winter, I was returning to the Fire House in the ambulance from picking up hose from a structure fire we were on. I came across a vehicle into a guard rail on a dark windy road. I put the emergency lights and stopped to provide aid. While providing aid, I was attempting to walk to the back of the vehicle to get road flares when I slipped on ice. My feet went up in the air, and my head hit off the ambulance, and then I hit the ground. My Cairns 1010 took most of the blow, cracking it. However, my partner said that I was out for 30s to a minute. This incident resulted in 4 months of time off, being drove around my family and friends, and still today headaches and problems.

Patrick K. Amherst, NY

We recently had a live fire training exercise and in the process of a fire attack I was unable to catch my breath. When I slumped over to try to get my breathing under control my head actually hit the floor right where there was a few burning embers. Without my helmet (a Cairns 1000) I would likely have sustained serious burns to my head. Everything luckily turned out just fine and I returned to duty the next day. I am thankful I had my helmet on and that it had a brim that kept my head off the floor and embers. Thanks for making a superb product that keeps all of us firefighters safe.

Kyle R. Shamokin, PA

Kyle R. Shamokin, PA Independence fire company

I have a leather N5a New Yorker that I have had for 12 years and my helmet was bought new and has seen many fires and has saved me many times from stuff falling on my head (walls, ceilings, glass and even. Tools that were dropped from about 8 feet) to keeping hot embers off me and water. I will never buy another helmet. Other then having stress cracks and a new front holder and some paint missing, she is tough and there is no better. I've melted face shields and plastic helmets but never my leather. Leather for ever.

Tom F. Raywick, KY

During an acquired structure burn October 24, 2010 we had an incident causing the ceiling to collapse. Five firefighters were approximately fifteen feet into the structure at the time of the collapse. A firefighter and myself were manning a backup line at this time. As the ceiling fell it hit the rear brim of the firefighter backing up the nozzleman on the attack line. The firefighter that was struck by the debris was able to remove his self from the structure with only some shoulder bruising. As we examined his Cairns 1010, it was quickly observed that the liner/shell had performed as designed. The shell rotated back, leaving the liner intact on the firefighters head saving him from incurring a certain neck injury.



Jamie T. Amherstburg, ON

We were called to a fire in a small apartment building. When we got there we could see the flames inside the building through the windows of the main floor. Upon entering the building, it was found that renovations were in progress on many of the units in the building, including the one that the fire was seen in. In the attempted entry into the involved apartment unit, a stove was partially blocking the swing of the front door. My partner and I found this out when we tried to enter and were thwarted abruptly! Coincidentally, the door opened enough to allow heat and flame out of the unit giving us each a blast of heat and fire at the ceiling level and banking down to us with extreme impact! We regained our perspective, with a hoseline in hand, gained entry and dowsed the fire getting the situation under control. Thanks to my partner's direction, my training and my gear (mainly my Cairns helmet) all participants were well and safe!

Adam S. St. Louis, MO

Adam S. St. Louis, MO St. Louis City Fire Department

Responded to a call for wiring (2 company response) in a one story brick shotgun style home, upon arrival we found heavy smoke pushing from the front of the house and were being told that there was a person possibly inside, we called for a first alarm assignment. Riding lead off, I stretched an 1 3/4" line to the front door and made entry. As soon as we made entry we realized we were going into the home of a hoarder and there was a lot of debris to crawl across. I was about 25 feet into the house and found heavy heat and fire coming from a basement stair case. I started attacking the flames and advancing the line down the stairs when the line went limp on me and my company. Flames re-emerged and overtook my company as we retreated to the front door. The temperature at the time of the fire was about 10F and had caused our initial hydrant to be frozen. The 4th responding company assisted to make the plug and we were able to attack the flames again. There ended up not being any trapped occupants and the fire was brought under control in about 25 minutes with a lot of overhaul from the materials in the home. My Cairns 1010 helmet saved my scalp unfortunately my hood didn't provide as much protection and I sustained some burns around my mask seal. The Post Dispatch had this article about the fire,

Pat L. Middletown, DE

Pat L. Middletown, DE Volunteer Hose Company Of Middletown

I joined the fire house at the age of 15. When I turned 16 I got a brand new Cairns 1010. I was involved in a basement fire when I was 17 and burnt my helmet up, but I was protect from being burnt. Here is the picture of the helmet.

Steve G. Richland, PA

Steve G. Richland, PA City of Lebanon

Arriving on scene of a single story detached house with smoke showing seemed like your run of the mill fire. Upon entering the house as part of the truck crew, I began my search for victims. While my search was proving negative, I came upon the fire room and just as I found it, the room flashed. I encountered a high amount of heat and narrowly escaped. Completing my search I then attempted to extinguish the fire with my can as the line arrived. It was only once I left the building I realized what had happened. I removed my helmet (a Cairns Leather N5A New Yorker) and it was burnt, worse than any helmet I had worn before. The helmet remained intact and kept me safe. After the fire I sent the helmet back to Cairns and it was refinished and the helmet still serves me today. The helmet has taken a large amount of abuse, but it keeps ticking. Cairns provides a great quality helmet at an affordable price. Thank you for your time.

Daniel S. DoverPlains, NY

Daniel S. DoverPlains, NY Dover FD, DoverPlains, NY 36 Truck!

I have worn my helmet for nearly 17 of the 20 years I have been a fireman. Old school N5A New Yorker, impact cap, no ratchet...Black, Bourkes, with a Boston Style device. This is a working man's helmet..seen a lot of fires in those 17 years, even here in suburbia. It's cracked, bent, stained, and smokey, but never once has it failed to protect me. I will never give up my lid, I will never sell my lid, I will never repaint my lid. It earned every mark, burn, and bend, the sacrifices of keeping the fireman who wears it safe. It is an American Classic, replaced by too many safety rules, regulations, and ideals put forth by people who have most likely never worn any type of fire helmet. For those who have, and those who do, there is a special place for an old school New Yorker...certainly in our hearts, but more so first due!

Nathan B. Milledgeville, GA

While working a 3 alarm structure just last month, my Cairns 1010 saved my rear yet again. While pulling ceiling to knock the fire out running the rafters, I saw out of the corner of my eye the seams all the way across the room start to split. I quickly told my nozzleman to cover up, and as I did, the whole kit and caboodle came down on top of our heads. After the initial shock wore off, and we finished the job, I looked at me helmet, and all that happened was a few burnt tets and some scuffed paint. Every helmet I own is Cairns, and an N6A is next on the list. I won't ever buy a different brand.

Travis M. Charlton, MA

Travis M. Charlton, MA Southbridge Fire Dept.

At 0230 hours on October 17th, 2010 Southbridge fire alarm began to receive calls for a building fire on Pearl St. We rolled with a single engine company because the crew for our ladder company were on an ambulance call bringing a patient of a motorcycle wreck to a Worcester hospital. En route, we received a report of people trapped in the building. At this point the acting officer ordered a third alarm which recalled all off duty members. Upon arrival we had heavy fire showing from the rear second and third floors of an occupied three Decker. We effected a rescue from a third floor window over a ground ladder and myself and the acting officer stretched a line into the second floor stairwell. We were going to attempt to hold the fire until more help arrived and do a quick search. We popped a door into a second floor apartment where I crawled in and began a search. I made it about 5 feet into the room when it rolled over and I was chased out by heavy fire. We hit it with the line and at that point a large piece of plaster and lath struck me on the head. After going back outside to change my bottle I was made aware of the condition of my equipment, my Cairns Leather N5A New Yorker had most of the paint burnt off in some spots down to the leather. My coat which had been black was now orange in most spots from the high heat and I had 2nd degree burns to both arms and legs. Through all of this, my Cairns leather helmet protected me. The damage was all cosmetic and the helmet is still in service. I've never owned anything but Cairns leather helmets, and this incident reinforced my belief that Cairns is the best and the only helmet I will ever buy. Leather forever!

Michael P. Westerville, OH

I was working for a small vol. fire department we had a training fire I went in to do the last round through the house, we had most of the fire in the back rooms, I went into the front door got about 20 feet in the front door when the floor gave way and I went into the basement the basement was fully involved when I stood up and looked around. I got to looking around and found the basement steps and made my way out of the house when I got out my helmet was scorched and smoking I was fine but my gear and helmet was condemned due to the heat and the intense fire, I still have that helmet it is hanging on my wall it is a Cairns 660C Metro if i remember right.

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

Patrick R. millersport, OH

Patrick R. millersport, OH Millersport Fire Department

I am a 22 year old firefighter from ohio. I am the youngest in a family of firefighters. Myself, my twin brother, my older brother and my father are all firefighters. I am a full time part timer, i work for 5 departments all paid and volunteer for my home department at which i am very active. My very first fire I made entry through heavy smoke filled conditions to the back room with another member of the department. Once we started extinguishment, I could see that the fire had made it through the ceiling and into the attic. Conditions began to worsen. The heat began to melt my shield on my 1010, and breathing became difficult because my face piece began to cloud up from the heat. I knew it was time to get out of the house. We turned around and took off out of the room. Part of the ceiling let go and came down on top of us. We were not hurt, once we were able to get our bearings back from being smacked in the head we were able to make it out of the structure with ease. To this day I have worn a few different makes, models and types of helmets. The 1010 is still my favorite helmet. For its height, look, weight, and protection. I personally believe the cairns 1010 is the best helmet on the market and I will continue to wear it with pride. Thanks for this opportunity. FF/Emt Patrick Redd

Brandon D. Jane Lew, WV

Brandon D. Jane Lew, WV Jane Lew Volunteer Fire Department

I have been using my N5A Cairns New Yorker for 5 years and I love it. How ever over the past few years it has taken some damage, From 900 Degree Structure fires, Car Wrecks with entrapment, Standing on the interstate in the snow and rain. I am currently still wearing it although I'm pretty sure it wouldn't pass OSHA standards as you will see in the picture. Id love to buy a new one but right now I don't have the money to put into it.

Justin C. Kennebunk, ME

Justin C. Kennebunk, ME Kennebunk Fire Rescue and Biddeford Fire Department

My Cairns leather helmets have kept me safe in more than one close call situation. Earlier this year we responded out to the turnpike for a tractor trailer fire. Upon arrival we encountered a fully involved tractor with extension into the refrigerated box. After making an aggressive knockdown of the cab we opened the trailer box. The box was full of pallets of french fries. We used a folding ladder to access the back of the trailer so we could direct a hosestream above the pallets toward the back of the box where there was still active fire. While operating the hoseline conditions suddenly worsened as the curtain that circulates the refrigerated air the length of the box flashed over and a smoke explosion occurred. I was thrown out of the trailer from approximately 8 feet off the ground. The helmet protected my head from the obvious thermal insult that is evident by the blackening of the entire helmet as well as from the impact when I struck the ground with my back and head. I was uninjured, picked myself back up and extinguished the now well involved trailer box. The second incident was while operating a 2 1/2 between tenements at a large incendiary fire at a wood frame multiple occupancy tenement. One of the elevated master streams caused a large area of roof and shingles to come down striking me directly in the head. My head and the helmet suffered no significant damage. I trust the quality and workmanship of the Cairns/MSA leather helmet to keep me safe at my Career and my volunteer job. Obviously I am in need of a new one.

Joey R. Honey Grove, TX

Joey R. Honey Grove, TX Honey Grove Fire Dept

This helmet is the result of a flash over in an adjoining room to the entry room of an abandoned nursing home fire. All firefighters escaped with minor burns but the gear was severely damaged. The Cairns 1010 helmet did its job.

Gary B. Balch Springs, TX

Gary B. Balch Springs, TX Balch Springs Fire Department

I received my Sam Houston as a graduation gift from the academy in 1992. It has served me without fail through out my career. It has protected me in several hostile fire environments and ceiling collapses. To me, there is no substitute. She is a little worn now, but still on the job!

William B. Prairieburg, IA

William B. Prairieburg, IA Coggon Fire and Rescue

I recently took an advanced firefighting class at the annual CITA fire school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And the instructors we had in the burn building well put way to much fuel (meaning pellets and couch cushions). For that burn building their was only to be 3 to 4 pellets at the most and not 5-7 plus two couch cushions. So the instructors that day had us set in there and watch the fire growth until rollover occurred and it was hotter then any other fire I have been in. Well long story short, my helmet took a lot of heat that day and has some battle scars from it. Thankfully it was built to protect us the and the ear and neck flap on the back really did save me from being burned even with heavy duty hoodie on. Its truly a weird feeling when your sitting there watching your bourke shield melt while its on your helmet which is on your head. Then you realize how hot it has to be in order for that to happen. It kinda freaks you out at first, but then your thinking crap how am I going to tell chief about this?!

Matt E. Richfield, WI

What can you say about a Cairns helmet that's faithful served you for nearly 25 year? It's protected me against numerous ceiling collapses, and survived it's own drops and falls without ever failing. Car wrecks and shootings -- it's seen it all. Repainted nearly four times, its leather is every bit as tough as its first day on the job. A leather New Yorker isn't something you wear -- it's some you live.

Matthew P. Winchester, VA

Back when i was in fire academy i had a Cairns helmet on and it went through several fires and bad ones at that and nothing melted off of it and it also held together through all the fires. also when i was in May Day training we had to bring our instructor through a roof hatch and when they got him up i was down in the building and when they pulled me up they bounced my helmet off the roof of the room and it didn't crack just scratched it a little but this helmet is still being used to this day and it is also 5 years old.

Shawn Z. Steamboat Springs, CO

Shawn Z. Steamboat Springs, CO Yampa Valley Regional Airport/ARFF

Every time I put this helmet on, I know it will protect me. Training or tragedy, my helmet has protected me from flames or falling debris. Thank you

Josh W. Bonner Springs , KS

Josh  W. Bonner Springs , KS KCKFD

I have owned several Cairns helmets in the past and have been very pleased with the results. I have been exposed to extremely high heat and several ceiling collapses. All of my helmets have maintained the upmost stability and have saved my head a number of times. I would definitely recommend a Cairns helmet to anyone in the fire service. I stand by Cairns and all of the products they manufacture. Thank you for making such a high quality product to help protect use in the most extreme conditions.




Michael C. Pensacola, FL

Michael C. Pensacola, FL Myrtle Grove Vol. Fire Department

I was on the initial interior attack team on a 2 story house. In the process of the attack, due to fire damage in the attic, and water from our hoses, the ceiling gave way, with it came insulation and drywall that were still on fire. Thankfully my Cairns 1010 helmet saved me from burns and head injuries that could have resulted.

John S. Glade Hill, VA

My unit was the first arriving company on a small, single story, wood-frame, residential structure in a rural part of our county. It was approximately 0400 in the morning and there were vehicles in the driveway. We had strong suspicions that someone may be home inside the residence. Upon arrival smoke and fire was showing from the Alpha/Delta corner of the structure. Myself and another firefighter forced entry through the front door and proceeded into the house. We made our way through the living room and then down the hall towards the fire. We started pushing the fire back and were making good progress on knocking it down. We entered the first bedroom we came to which contained the majority of the fire. We were in the room for several minutes when the floor gave way suddenly. I fell through the floor. Fortunately the residence was built on a crawl space, so the drop was not very far. I was disoriented for a few seconds, but quickly regained my bearings. During this time more debris, including structural members and furniture fell down on top of me. My Cairns 1044 helmet helped deflect the falling debris and prevented any head injuries. The long brim on the rear of the helmet helped to prevent any burning material from getting down into my coat. My partner was quickly able to give me a hand to self-extricate from the hole and we made our way out of the house. I did suffer some second degree burns to my wrist as I pulled myself up out of the hole. The homeowners were not at home at the time of the fire and no other firefighters were injured. The fire was quickly contained by another crew. Had my Cairns 1044 helmet not performed superbly that morning, I may have been more seriously injured or killed that day. I am very pleased with the helmet and will not wear any other brand.

James M. Canton, GA

I've always known I didn't want to wear the standard (non-Cairns) issued tupperware most departments offer their firefighters. Be it a call to uphold the tradition of wearing a leather helmet or the dedication to a handcrafted work of art or the added safety and durability over cheap plastic- I knew from the start of my career I would always wear leather. I have worked for a very busy department that experienced a high volume of fire calls. Where other guys would often requisition a new helmet due to intense fire damage sustained, my leather took the beating and always remained structurally sound. When some guys had to bail out early during extinguishment operations, my leather has always protected me from high temperatures and allowed me to stay in the fight and complete my assigned tasks. Even in cold temperatures when some guys complained of freezing ears, my Cairns earflaps on my N6A Houston provided adequate warmth so I could continue rolling hose or working during adversely cold conditions. I have witnessed many entrapped firefighters- too many to be honest. In every circumstance the guys wearing a Cairns N6A Houston seemed to come out of the situation a little better than those without. Look, our career is inherently dangerous by nature, so if the added protection of a hand made leather helmet could make the difference in your life or death- why wouldn't you choose that option? I know I do and so do most of the guys I work with. Make the decision that could save your life if needed- buy a Cairns leather helmet and wear it for your entire career. You will retire before this helmet does!

Eric D. Weston, WV

On a recent fire scene myself and my partner entered a burning single wide trailer fire, and made our way down the hallway towards the bedroom where the occupants were supposed to be located. The single wide was fully engulfed on this end of the residence but with confirmed entrapment we tried to make a rescue attempt. As we made our way down the hallway the fire was really getting hotter and the debris kept falling down on our helmets. Both of us were wearing Cairns N5A New Yorker helmets. Another firefighter from a mutual aid department came to back us up and he was wearing a Ben 2 plus helmet. After the search came up with no occupants at the residence we made our way back outside. Upon inspection of our helmets outside the Ben 2 plus helmet was melted in a few places and the Cairns N5A New Yorkers held up very well with just minor blistering on our stickers. Both of our helmets have the PBI earflaps and they really hold the heat off your ears and facial areas. Thanks for designing such a great and comfortable fitting helmet. Its worth the extra buck for a GREAT Helmet. - Eric Dever

Dave O. Mckeesport, PA

While fighting a fire at another Fire dept. station hot tar from the roof came through the ceiling and was hitting the top of my helmet and I had no idea this was going on. It wasn't until we were outside that we discovered what had happened and the fact that I never felt the heat from the tar on my head.

Scot M. Union Grove, WI

During training they give us the Cairns 660C Metro helmet an during our last fire drill we had to sit in the fire an watch it an explain what was going on during that period of time it got upwards of 700 degrees and we backed out to cool down an while taking out gear off i noticed my shield on my cairns actually started to melt but it held up pretty good an still very useable only around the edges did it melt so all in all good helmet cant wait till we get our traditionals this week again its the Cairns 1010 i believe, thanks guys

Paul C. Washington, PA

I have been a Firefighter for 14 years. My helmets have all been Cairns. I feel Cairns helmets offer the most comfort and up to date safety requirements to keep us safe. My Cairns helmet has protected me over and over again. When I was an Instructor we taught a structural burn class. My entire gear was destroyed except my Cairns helmet. My gear was destroyed by the fire and the only piece of ppe that protected me was my Cairns helmet. I will never put any other helmet on my head unless it is a Cairns helmet. Thank you for offering such a tremendous fire helmet for those of us who depend on the utmost protection while performing such a dangerous job.

Aaron W. Camden, OH

Cairns Helmets saved me on My Very first structure fire. I went in with a fellow fireman we were fighting the fire from the kitchen when the other fireman got a hot amber down his back by the time i realized he was gone the drywall and some wood from the ceiling fell right on my helmet which saved me from the wood impelling me or some serious burns to my head and neck region. So Thank you Cairns for saving my Life.....

Bryan M. Webster, NY

i currently have a department issued Cairns 1010 model helmet, and one cold night in january sitting around the fire house with a couple other guys we got an ems call, we quickly jumped in the rescue and took off, while returning from the ems call we were called to the possible house fire on east main street, we pulled into the fire house and jumped onto the engine company. we pulled up to a 2 1/2 story older wood frame home smoke from the front door and heavy fire from the rear of the structure, we stretched an 1 3/4 hand line through the front door and were met with intense heat and fire beginning to lick up the stairs, we enter the back room and began to attack the seat of the fire in the rear, the next engine grabbed the back up line and proceeded straight up the stairs where the fire was beginning to advance, as the crew went up the stairs and was met with a great deal of heat, they didn't know that the 2nd floor had flashed just before they arrived, and the ceiling was begin to break apart, i remember as we handed the hand line off to another back up crew, we all met outside to rehab and change bottles, my fellow company member whom was on the back up line came up to talk to us his brand new N5A New Yorker in hand but it didn't look as it did a month before when he received it for christmas, the brass eagle was bent and disfigured the helmet cracked and charred, he explained to us that pieces of the ceiling began to fall on him and his crew, while we all got a bit of smoke on our helmets we were astonished that his helmet looked the way it did and that he was completely unscathed. to this day that company member still wears that same N5A, proudly and is very open to telling his story.

Austin C. Somerset, PA

Recently we were dispatched to a residential basement fire in our first due district. Since we are a volunteer organization and the call was in the daytime (approx. 2:15 pm) our staffing was very short, also our district is mainly rural and the house was a few miles from our station or any of our mutual aid companies. All of these factors caused response times to be long and upon arrival the fire had worked it way up to the roof on one side of the house. We tried to make an aggressive interior attack but were pushed back by heavy fire. When we first tried to enter the structure a firefighter from one of our mutual aid companies was the first person to try to enter the door was caught in a flash of fire when the door was opened. Luckily he was wearing a Cairns leather helmet then ended up bubbling during the extreme heat of this incident.

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 .

Donald L. Catawissa, PA

I was exiting a second floor fire via an interior stairway. I exited the building and was struck across the top of my N5A New Yorker with a three foot piece of burning wooden soffit. My partner had removed his scba facepiece and had a piece of burning lath stuck in his nomex hood. I was able to grab it and save him from further burns. Had I not been wearing a quality helmet I would have been injured to the point I would not have been able to aid him resulting in more serious burns. We both recovered from our burns and continue to protect our town today.

Adam J. Havelock, NC

Adam J. Havelock, NC Dalton F.D. 2000-2007/ USMC - 2007-present

In January of 2007, a few months before I left Dalton F.D. for Marine Corps boot camp, we had a fire at Columbia Recycling. One of my assignments was for me and my partner to go into a part of the building that had not suffered as much damage from the fire and try to hit hotspots with a 2 1/2" handline. While in there we were bombarded by burning debris and large pieces of wood that could have caused serious gashes or even a fracture. Fortunately we had our Cairns 1010s and they protected our heads without so much as one bad scratch.

mike b. des plaines, IL

My leather helmet not only saved my head from falling ceiling, but also allowed me to smash out the interior windows so we could get relief from the smoke & heat.

Douglas H. Cumberland, RI

At a training exercise 2 and a half years ago, my cairns helmet save my head from popping like a pimple in the heat. We were training in a burn trailer to simulate flashover and it got so hot inside of the trailer that my Bourke Eye Shields melted and the ear flaps discolored to red. Without my helmet my head would have been severely burned and i would most likely not be able to do the job i love any longer. Although this story is not an award winning story or a good story at that, it is a tribute to how important the use of a helmet is and there is no better helmet than a Cairns.

John M. Uniontown, OH

When I first got a fire job it was with Uniontown Fire Dept. And all probies got tactical tupperware from Bullard. Even in probie school I wore one. You could feel the heat right through it even in in the burn building. But after we were on the dept for a year we finaly earned our Cairns 1010. I was like a kid at Christmas. Then we had a structure fire one night. I threw on my pac and lid and went in with my partner. This fire was a hot one. And we were going up stairs. When we got to the top of the stairs, my head was cool and I couldn't feel the heat. I had to stand up at the top of the steps to pull some hose around the corner. I reached up and could feel the brass eagle but no leather shield. When i went to rehab i found my leather shield had melted and my reflector had as well but the whole time I was fine my head was nice and cool and comfortable. When I went back in I just went back up and fixed my shield and stayed low. Cairns will forever be my helmet company of choice. We even use them at my new dept in Hartville. But I have always wanted to be a leather head.

Preston R. Sale Creek, TN

I am currently the owner of two Cairns helmets, one 1010 and one 1044. I have always wore Ben 2's until a close friend of mine was involved in a line of duty death. He is one of the chiefs of a neighboring department and made an attempt to save the firefighter that was killed in the line of duty when the floor he was on collapsed into the burning basement. My friend, the chief, risked his own life to attempt to pull the firefighter to safety but was unsuccessful. He suffered severe burns to his ears but the rest of his head was saved thanks to a Cairns. This event lead me to buy my 1010 and I was so impressed with it I bought the 1044. I stand behind Cairns 100% and recommend them to everyone.

Steve H. Conception Bay South, NL

Steve H. Conception Bay South, NL Conception Bay South Fire Dept

in early winter of 2009, while fighting a house fire, we were suddenly caught in a flash over while in a stair well, with the heat and flames coming down on top of us, my Structural 360S helmet kept me safe from head burns. After exiting the house I noticed that all of the reflective stickers and my visor had melted, With my Helmet discolored I knew that it had done its job. I have worn many types of Cairns Helmets and I own 5 all Structural 360S, two that have been retired, two that i have painted for Combat Challenge and one that I wear daily. Hear is a pick of me at the National Combat Challenge in Niagra Falls 2006 wearing one of my painted Structural 360S.

Shawn M. Pittsburgh, PA

Shawn M. Pittsburgh, PA Seneca Area Emergency Services/Mount Troy VFC

At the time of this incident I was a Firefighter/ Safety Officer with Etna VFD. We were on a daylight structure fire in Millvale Borough, after a great Blitz attack by the Millvale guys, Myself and another Etna Firefighter Darius Allman were in the building doing some overhaul and checking hot spots. We were in opposite corners of the room starting to pull some ceiling when the entire ceiling came down on top of us. Thanks to the Cairns 1010's that we were both wearing, instead of being rushed off to the hospital with serious injuries, we were both able to walk outside on our own and laugh about the incident. We Still laugh about it to this day.

David C. andersonville, TN

David C. andersonville, TN Paulette Vol. fire/rescue

The department I am in has used cairns helmets for years, And better then any other brand, They have held up great. A while back a fire fighter and a capt. where stuck in a flashover and made it out because these helmets. The gear was deystroyed, the scba was melted and put outa service, the ONLY piece of gear that was intact, and in almost perfect condition, was their helmets. These are some of the best if not the apsolute best helmets out there!

Brian J. Pea Ridge, AR

The shift started one fine day as a normal shift should, sitting around our departments "trash can" or some might call it a spitune swapping stories and doing some fine "slammery". The shift progressed just as usual when around 1530 the "good" tones started to come in, now I nor any firefighter I work with wishes the type of devistation a fire causes to anyone....but if its going to happen might as well be on my shift. We raced out of the station, dispatch reported mutiple callers reporting heavy smoke bellowing out of the listed address, no food on the stove this time. When we arrived on scene there was heavy black smoke pouring out of the front door of a single story residential duplex, type 5 construction. Me and a fellow firefighter stretched a line to the front "alpha" side of the structure. The captain was doing "captain stuff" sizing up the scene and completing his walk around. As he met up with our crew we entered through the front door where we were met with extreme heat, we had to drop down to our knees which were sticking to the carpet, as we advanced conditions got worse, it was starting to seem like a flash over might occur, fire was rolling out the hallway which led to 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. We gave a quick pop to the abis above trying to cool it off, when we got to the hallway visability was down to zero and my ears started to burn through my hood, with nothing to be seen we could feel intense heat to our right down the hallway, as we approached the back bedroom the heat became unbearable, we opened up with a straight stream into the bedroom, still zero visability when all of a sudden....Now before I continue to finish this story I would like to say for everyone who likes to bash the "truckies" let me just say this if it werent for them I may not be writting this story. Now that were back on track... when all of a sudden there was a rush of relief and visability improved, my good buddies the "truckies" had sucsessfully vented the structure giving us almost instant relief. We had several minutes to finish off the "kill" and when it was over we exited the stucture and thats when I noticed melted goggles, warped bourkes and burnt leather front. My good buddies on the truck made sure to give it a nice cleaning, bunch of lazy animals, it was like new again. The helmet held up under some tuff heat. I deffinetly recomend a cairns but I am just a "nozzlejockey".

Lauralee V. Richmond, TX

Lauralee V. Richmond, TX Community Volunteer FD

My husband's engine arrived first on the scene of a 3 story apartment fire in Sept. 2010. There was one confirmed trapped individual on the 3rd floor. A team of 3 firefighters rushed to the third floor to attempt a rescue. Upon reaching the third floor those fire fighters were met with a wall of fire fiercely destroying everything in it's path. For some unknown reason the victim went back into her apartment and away from site. The three firefighters retreated back down the stairs. Upon returning to the engine the second truck on the scene stared at them aghast. Smoke rolled off all three firefighters helmets. It wasn't until they took off their cairns helmets they noticed how charred and black they had become from just that 40 seconds on the third floor. Thank you Cairns for all your efforts to constantly improve your items to send my husband among others back home to their families!! Attached please find the photo of my husband's helmet after he returned home safe to me. It started out as a yellow helmet!

Brian S. Newport News, VA

I have been a Hampton firefighter for a little over 28 years and got my start as a volunteer firefighter in a small rural fire company in Lancaster County PA. In that time period I have been through a few Cairns Fire Helmets and I have been to quite a few fires. Some of the fires I have been to my Cairns helmet has protected me from a few close calls. One in particular. Back in 1992 or '93 I responded with my crew to a residential structure fire as 3rd due engine. I was the acting officer that day. When we arrived we were given an assignment of stretching the second line to the second floor of the residence. I got my orders from the BC and before I turned around the first crew was coming out stating that they had only gotten to the second floor landing and couldn't get any further due to the intense heat. I got my crew of two firefighters together and we entered the structure and followed the line upstairs. Visibility was near zero and the heat was almost unbearable. The three of us crawled down the hallway toward the room of origin, stopping every few feet cooling down the hallway hopefully preventing a flashover. Once we made the room that was on fire we started to hit the fire. I made it to one of the windows in the room and used the nozzle to break it out.One of the firefighters on the outside said that the window just shattered as it exploded outward. When I came out of the structure one of my fellow firefighters pointed to my helmet and asked if I had felt what the fire did. I said no I didn't notice anything unusual. My helmet which once was red was now blackened by the fire due to the heat . It became a little scorched but held up and protected me. Thanks to my Cairns Fire Helmet I got to fight fire another day.

Eric T. Heber, UT

Eric T. Heber, UT Orem City Dept of Public Safety-Fire Division

While performing live fire propane evolutions, our Helmits protected us from the superheated environment during this training