Like most firefighters do, at least occasionally, I recently started to get the itch to get an addition to my turnout gear. I was not sure what I wanted but I just had the itch. Ever happen to you?
I am sure this pleased the wife as I started looking at random things from a leather helmet to a new flashlight. But luckily I have a very supportive wife who suggested an idea of finding something personalized. So it was then that I decided that I wanted to get a personalized shield for my helmet.
Now the hard part was over, or so I thought.
So I did as most people in this world do these days. I went to Google and searched for businesses that made custom shields. I was promptly overwhelmed by the massive amount of results that I got from this search. Needless to say I had my work cut out for me.
I perused the results. I talked to comrades in the fire service. Nothing seemed to stick out to me. That was when I stumbled upon Sellers Sign and Design on Facebook. I looked at the many examples of their work of custom shields but was also intrigued by their detail of work on lettering fire trucks and other similar work. Of course, being that it is a North Carolina business also influenced me — I love supporting local businesses.
The Design and Ordering Process
I contacted Ryan Sellers, owner of Sellers Sign and Design and through short email discussions I sent him two hand drawn ideas that I had considered. Luckily he was able to make them out even with my poor drawing skills. He took the first design, which is what I preferred, and got to work on it immediately.
Within a short period of time I received the first draft of the design. It looked amazing; even more than I could have expected. After a little more discussion via email we made a few final changes that he did in a matter of minutes. He even paid a lot of attention to details that I did not even consider.
Approximately a week later I received the shield in the mail well packaged. When I opened the box I was even more astounded by the shield in person (See Photos). The shield is a powder-coated steel shield with high performance graphics with a high heat clear coat. When dealing with the shield and other custom shields I appreciated the clear coat so as to protect the shield as long as possible and not make it where the design would come off easily. I have seen others that simply apply the design and it will peel off. The orange on the shield was reflective which added some pop to it.
Now it was time to install the shield on my Cairns 1044 Defender. Two great friends of mine, Robert Henderson and Chris Duncan, from my firehouse happened to be working the day I arrived to install my shield and aided me in the installation.
First, we removed the current shield and spent some time comparing the current to the new shield. We also inserted the screws and placed the shield on the helmet to get a feel for the location to drill the holes. Following the easy instructions from Ryan, we marked the location of where we would drill the holes. Starting with a smaller drill bit than the screw diameter we drilled the holes increasing sizes slowly until we were able to put the screws in through the holes. This took just a few minutes. I did like that the design and the metal did not tear away with the drilling. Once this was done we placed the shield onto the helmet and put the screws into the shield and into the helmet shield bracket. Total time to install the shield including the time to ensure we measured multiple times and drilled once, was about 15 minutes.
To be brutally honest I love my new shield. Ryan was able to take a simple sketch and create an amazing design for my shield. The shield is very strong and I feel will last a long time. The reflection of the shield is also amazing! The installation was very easy even for someone like myself. I do recommend having one person available to help you just for verification of placement and ease of installation. It is not required and can be done with one but I always like a second set of eyes when I am doing something like this. The shield retails for $75 plus tax and shipping. I feel that this shield was well worth what I paid for it. In summation I would buy another shield from Ryan any day. You can contact him at [email protected] or on Facebook at Sellers Sign and Design. It is totally worth the look.
Thanks to Ryan for a wonderful shield and to Robert and Chris for helping me with the installation and pictures.
Until next time, be safe!
David Hesselmeyer, M.P.A., has been in emergency services for 16 years. Currently he is a firefighter, rescue technician, paramedic, and North Carolina Executive Emergency Manager. Hesselmeyer is the owner and primary consultant with On Target Preparedness (OTP) which contracts with emergency services agencies and non profits to assist in risk assessments, plan writing, plan revision, exercise development, etc. He currently volunteers with Buies Creek Fire Rescue and works part time with Harnett County EMS. He can be contacted at [email protected]
or visit his website at www.ontargetprep.com
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