This helmet passed the test

CarolinaFireJournal - David Hesselmeyer
David Hesselmeyer
04/26/2010 -

This month I will be starting something new here in my tenure with the Carolina Fire Journal as I review different firefighting items. Hopefully, this will assist you in researching products to make your work in firefighting easier.


Product Review

Cairns 1044 Fire Helmet

Recently, I tested and got familiar with the Cairns 1044 fire helmet. Cairns has been making fire helmets for many years, and makes helmets that range from manufactured leather to standard 660 helmets — many call “salad bowls.” 




This helmet is the sister to the familiar Cairns 1010 helmet. Some differences include the paint finish on the 1044 is a matte finish rather than the glossy and shiny finish like that of the 1010. And, the 1044 now has the option of the pull down “goggles” — called Defender visor — which are convenient.

The 1044 comes with a five year shell replacement guarantee and is NFPA 1971-2007 compliant. There are many options for this helmet including the eagle being embossed versus engraved, and the aforementioned defender visor.

For more on this helmet visit 

 The 1044 helmet that I tested had the engraved eagle on top, was yellow, had the Bourke eye shields, and had the nomex flaps.  The helmet weighed in at 4 pounds and 1 ounces.  There were no apparent visual defects in it when it arrived.  I also added a leather shield to this helmet for added visual effect.

Test environment

I tested this helmet while wearing it at a local fire department in Wayne County. During that time we had a multitude of different type calls. I wore this helmet while assisting and extricating persons out of vehicles involved in motor vehicle crashes. We were also dispatched to a large pack house fire where I actively fought fire and performed other actions. This fire lasted for about five hours. We also had other calls such as wrecks where I wore this helmet while performing traffic control and other such actions.

Results, pro

The weight of this helmet is four pounds and one ounce. While I was operating at the fires and the extrications, I did not notice the weight as being overwhelming. While I was performing traffic control it did not bother me until we went into an extensive operation of traffic control. However, even though I noticed the weight, it did not impede my ability to perform my duties. 

This is just my opinion, but I like the appearance of this helmet. I like it better than the glossy finish that is on the 1010.  After using this helmet it stood up to the incidents and did not show anything but standard wear based on the incidents.

This helmet performed as it should in protection, as I did hit my head once while in a motor vehicle crash extrication situation. I did not get hurt nor did the helmet sustain any major damage. I also had some smaller items fall on the helmet while fighting the pack house fire. Again, neither major damage nor injury was noted.

Result, con

One problem I did find was that the shield and bracket did not line up well. After taking a little time to review the situation, I was able to slightly, and easily, bend the shield while putting it on. From that point on I did not have any issues with this problem.


Overall I was very happy with this helmet. It worked as it should, looked nice, and did not have any problems with any defects. 

Please note that this was an isolated showcase of this helmet and tested under the incidents as noted. If you are interested in buying a helmet like this we suggest that you do further research into the various helmets that are available and make your decision only after careful research and personal consideration.

Thanks and be safe!

David Hesselmeyer has over 11 years experience in fire and EMS. He holds many certifications in emergency services including Firefighter Level II, EMT-Intermediate, and NC Emergency Management Coordinator Type I. 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 [email protected].
Comments & Ratings

  6/15/2010 2:03:46 PM

New Comment 
David can you contact me about another product? [email protected]
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