Product Review: FoxFire illuminating firefighting helmet & SCBA


CarolinaFireJournal - By David Hesselmeyer
By David Hesselmeyer
07/05/2011 -
Recently I was contacted by a representative from MN8 Products. She asked if I would be willing to review their illuminating helmet band and their Self Contained Breathing Apparatus band. I was intrigued to find out more so I agreed. image

Research

First, I had to find out about the name of the company. So I figured MN8 was a play on words for emanate. So off to the dictionary I went. I found that emanate is a verb and is defined as “to emit or send out.” So needless to say I was even more intrigued at this point.

Next, I had to look at their Web site, www.mn8products.com., to learn more. I found that they make various products that use a photoluminescence to provide long lasting illumination. They claimed that their products charge from any light source and can stay charged up to 17 hours. They also claim that their products can recharge indefinitely.

The Package

I received the package and found the helmet band and the SCBA band as promised. The bands felt stretchy such as rubber bands would feel. However, the greenish color was very bright just by looking at it straight from the box. Both bands were plain except for the FoxFire name and emblem. Also it was explained in their paperwork that the SCBA band could be used on other equipment such as fire extinguishers.

General Impressions

The first thing I decided to do with both bands was to expose them to about one hour worth of light from inside a building. After that I cut them off from any lights. After approximately 10 hours without charging from any light source I returned to find that both bands were still illuminated well.

Helmet Band

At that point I installed the helmet band onto my Cairns 1044. I replaced my rubber helmet band with this FoxFire helmet band. I experienced no trouble in using this band on this helmet. I also tried it onto a Cairns 1010 and did not have any problems. The helmet band did allow for me to put my helmet light and a couple plastic wedges without major stretching or damage.

I took the helmet to several locations in the light and in the dark and noticed that the band did illuminate the area well. This included when the helmet was still somewhat exposed to outside light. The helmet already had an illuminating shine. In the dark it was very bright and illuminated the area very well.

SCBA Band

I also placed the SCBA band on a newer Scott 2216 bottle in a pack on Engine 1 at my firehouse. Unfortunately for this review we did not have any structure-related fires during this period. However, during this period I did do standard tests such as taking the SCBA into dark rooms and found that it was just as illuminating as the helmet band.

The Scott air bottles have a reflective stripe on them already. With a couple fires under their belt the reflective area was somewhat darkened. The FoxFire SCBA band was brighter than the factory reflective band on the bottle. Additional review would have to be done to determine how the band on the SCBA would react after being exposed to several fires as the bottle had been.

Overall

I have come to like the helmet and SCBA bands from FoxFire (MN8 Products). The helmet band seemed to be easily inputted without any hassle. The SCBA band worked well but would like to see additional time pass with exposure to several fires and see the difference between the bottle reflection and the FoxFire band.

If you are interested in these products I encourage you or your department to go to their Web site and contact MN8 Products to find out more and see if these products are right for you and your fire department.

David Hesselmeyer has over 11 years experience in fire and EMS. Hesselmeyer works for the Public Health Regional Surveillance (PHRST) Team 3 out of Cumberland County as a Regional Emergency Management Planner. He can be reached at
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