View Full Version : >>Your input needed: New Search and Rescue Helmet Concept
02-08-2011, 02:01 PM
My name is Tyrone Carr, I am currently a student at the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. I am involved in the Livewell Collaboration project with the College of Nursing this quarter for the design of head protection for utility occupations. I have chosen to design a new search and rescue concept and would really appreciate the input from real search and rescue and firefighter personnel.
Attached is several of the design concepts I have come up with. Feel free to give me any input (positive or negative) as it will help me with developing further.
All the helmets incorporate the "ColorShift Beacon Light," Which is a light built in to the helmet on the top/back that is a visual signal to other rescue personnel as to where you are as well as the type of environment you are in. Ex; the helmet user can change the voice-activated color of the light based on level of danger in an area (Red, dangerous, full gear required, Yellow, use caution, gear may be necessary or Green, area safe). This will be a quick communication tool for all those during an operation to understand what is the best way to approach a situation.
Also, the helmets include a high intensity LED light with 15 individual light bulbs and two mode. Ultra-Bright for nighttime or dark-area use, as well as Fog for adverse weather conditions and low visibility.
The ventilation system has been improved as well. Several of the concepts have open/close-able vents. With a simple swipe of the wrist, the vents can be opened or closed as user prefers or in the event of weather concerns.
5 Pad & suspension system protects the major parts of the head from impact and fall.
Communication devices can be built in and/or removable.
Thank you for your time and input
02-08-2011, 02:26 PM
Problem Statement Board Attached.
Even if you are not specifically a member of SAR or any type of Rescue organization, your input is still definitely welcomed.
Hi. Welcome to the forum. Good subject to study.
It's been decades since I did this sort of thing, but...
Needs to accommodate eye protection in a convenient fashion.
Small comm devices on ears aren't great - need something that covers the entire ear and won't fall off or slip when sweaty. Also has to be able to take a beating when it gets knocked against things.
Amazon.com: Chainsaw Safety Helmet and Face Guard W/ Muffs: Home Improvement
As a general rule, anything that can be broken off will be broken off. Even when not in use the helmet will end up tossed around and/or be stowed in baggage which will be tossed around. Whatever starts off clunky will end up high speed, low drag after the users get done "fixing" it.
Batteries can and will die. Also, they add weight, which is fine IF you need lights, but if you don't then you don't wanna sling around the extra weight on the end of your neck all day.
You should visit SAR personnel, take a look at what they have now and find out what THEY think needs fixing.
EDIT: Second impression - what protects the nose from falling debris?
02-08-2011, 02:54 PM
Thanks for your input.
The helmet is essentially a base for use with all other search and rescue equipment, the lip on the front of the concepts 2,3,4 is incorporated to accommodate several current face guards as well as the custom ones that will be included with the helmet. As far as eye protection, I left this open ended because in interviewing firefighters and other rescue personal they did not like the idea of having eye protection built in to the helmet because it sometimes doesn't fit everyone well. So I decided to leave enough room for users to use their own eye protection devices. Again, because one size doesn't fit all. I definitely agree that things that can be broken off will, which is why I decided on making everythine flush with the helmet so nothing is "sticking out." The materials that would be use would all be high impact plastics and resin so even the movable parts will be extremely durable. As far as the batteries, I chose the battery type because of its longevity and quick recharge time in comparison to how long it would actually be used in the field. The helmet would tho come with 2 -3 batteries so they can be quickly swapped out when one dies. I'll definitely that your comment about the communication device into consideration and mock-up another concept with that.
Thanks again, all your input was very helpful
02-08-2011, 02:59 PM
Protecting the nose:
Protecting the nose is a tough one, I was thinking the face shield or a visor would be sufficient but that would most likely have to be left up to the user. I could also incorporate a larger brim or folding visor to the front of the helmet but visibility from above is also a concern. These are just concepts of course, something to build on.
02-08-2011, 03:42 PM
I like your ventilation system, I think something covering the nose would be nice too!
02-08-2011, 03:49 PM
Thank you, I think I will sketch out some ideas and post them soon.
As far as eye protection, I left this open ended because in interviewing firefighters and other rescue personal they did not like the idea of having eye protection built in to the helmet because it sometimes doesn't fit everyone well.
Right. I wasn't referring to building in the eye protection. "Easily accommodate" - i.e., not get in the way of whichever eye protection the user prefers. Personally, I like goggles - big beefy goggles that can take a hard hit from a heavy tree branch and not get knocked asunder or broken or rammed down onto the bridge of my nose.
Mixing goggles and helmets can end up being a pain in the butt if they aren't designed to work together.
As far as the batteries, I chose the battery type because of its longevity and quick recharge time in comparison to how long it would actually be used in the field. The helmet would tho come with 2 -3 batteries so they can be quickly swapped out when one dies.
I wasn't so much referring to better batteries, but rather to forget the battery in the helmet. I'd rather have a clip-on light that I can attach IF needed and the rest of the time leave the weight of the lighting system in the truck.
02-08-2011, 05:24 PM
Hmm, your idea is leading me towards something similar to the face guard you sent me, but less obtrusive. Something that could be adjusted to go over the goggles or eye-wear the person may choose to wear. Perhaps making a set of goggle options that work with the specific helmet.
I think I understand your point about the battery; the technology is so small now that it can be easily added to the helmet and last longer than a clip on light. Of course you don't always need to be using the light so its not really like the battery will constantly be draining. I think its a good idea to always have it readily available and having it seamlessly built into the helmet would reduce its risk of being knocked off or broken like a clip flashlight.
I think its a good idea to always have it readily available
On paper yes, but 9 times out of ten when you need to light something, you aren't going to be using your headlight. Get yourself one of the cheapo LED headlights and try it out for a while - they are very useful WHEN you can get your head positioned just right to light the work AND can hold your head still while you work...but that's an unusual situation.
Try using the headlight to light your hands while you tie a knot - lying on your side with both arms at full extension under your bed. Try reaching under the bed as far as you can with just one arm with a knife and then using the headlight to make sure you're cutting the seatbelt and not the baby.
Headlights are handy for area lighting, but most times when a work light is needed a handheld will do a better job and is something that is always carried - and doesn't add weight on the end of the neck. Most times, you'll end up having a buddy hold a light for you - and by using his handheld he can hold it still while you work, and still have his head free to move around keeping an eye out. He can also hold it on something that he can't even see, by taking directions like, "up a bit, a little to the right, hold it there".
If I'm going to have a light on my head, I want the ability to shove it this way and that in order to get it in a useful position for whatever needs lighting at the moment.
Also...now that I think about it...I probably wouldn't want my buddy's helmet flashing LEDs in my face while I'm trying to work. Turning the flashers on and off is just one more detail to have to think about and keep track of in an already stressful situation. Easier to just turn the thing off and forget about it. Though it may be a very good idea for personnel handling security and support.
02-09-2011, 10:46 PM
Idk if I mentioned it but the LED headlight IS pivot-able so its not just static and aiming where ever your head is. You can direct it to where you need it.
I interviewed some firefighters yesterday and came up with a better idea for the beacon light, similar to the pass system for firefighters, it would be much smaller and just always be on lightly strobing but in the event the person were to stop moving for say 30 seconds or longer, they would all come on flashing, similar to the lights on police cars.
The point of having a headlight built into a helmet is because in most situations, one will need their hands free. They could be carrying a stretcher, or other equipment into a dark area. Carrying a separate light would definitely put a person in more danger.
02-10-2011, 05:08 AM
Your ideas seem nice in theory but in the real world they are not practical. In SAR one needs simplicity,adaptability, and easy upgrades. Most of what you’re suggesting can be classified as gadgetry.
I don't like the idea of integrated light and batteries, or integrated anything for that matter.
Lights, radio mics, and other accessories are also advancing so quickly that by the time you have your range on the market there is already something new that has superseded it. The user needs to have the freedom to adapt.
I also don't like the idea of voice activated LED colour change.
In the real world it's just another gadget that is a distraction and that can become faulty, it would never actually be used. Also most of the time your SAR guy is not in plain view of his handlers.
Must simpler to communicate your situation via radio and have your name or call sign in reflective vinyl stuck on your helmet
The helmet should be as simple and basic as possible with the option to add and remove accessories as the operator sees fit. If you offer a range of accessories the helmet should still be designed in such a way that the user can choose to use your accessories or his own as they come on the market.
Plenty criticism but well done on giving it a go anyway :)
02-16-2011, 10:21 PM
Most of the time in the field i wear a ball cap or a boonie . I carry my petzel helmet on me. Water helmet in the blazer. Just dont see a need SAR helmet . You should hit the field with sar team.:victory:
08-09-2011, 07:53 PM
I use a Petzel helmet when on a mission. A few of thoughts:
-Need for headlamp loops. Headlamps built into the helmet cause the user to carry a second one for use when the helmet is off. Weight of extra equipment is always a concern.
-In high angle, alpine and many other situations there is a lot of looking up. Helmets need to clear the back of the head and neck.
-Need to be well ventilated. SAR work is hot work even in the winter.
-As mentioned with the light, weight is always a concern in all the gear I carry. Beyond the physical nature of the carry, each pound translates into 4 pounds on the knees.
-Helmet need to fit under shell hoods for winter.
My two cents. Nice work, keep it up.
03-31-2012, 04:30 AM
So, did anything ever come from this? I'd love to see the final designs.
04-05-2012, 05:09 PM
A year later, how is this design project going? What do you think the cost of such a helmet would be? Would it have a market broader than SAR? Cost is a big issue for individual volunteers and units trying to equip their teams.
Another option for face protection would be the mesh screen used on chain saw helmets. These slide up and out of the way, but can be dropped down as needed. Vision through them is fine.
Our rope rescue team uses their "climbing" helmet on regular searches. They hold headlamps well and meet many of your criteria.
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