Updated: Aug 3, 2022
This blog has sat as a draft idea in the archive for long enough! What has spurred me to write this blog you ask? Our email account received a message asking for guidance due to having members on their rescue team that don't believe it's necessary to wear a helmet, not even when driving a power boat on a river.
I was surprised, yet not surprised. My initial take was wow, most first responders a) have seen enough trauma to last them a lifetime and b) recognize that if they become a victim they wont be helping anyone. The very next thought was, of course there are those who suffer from having a God complex and we all know what I'm talking about. That is another blog for another day.
The rest of my response went something like this:
Aside from any regulation I would also seek to provide them with information on traumatic brain injuries, especially water based ones.
My personal standards for helmet use are quite high. Team Wendy helmets are probably the best head protection that money can buy.
A company called Hard Headed Veterans also make a similar nice looking helmet for water rescue applications. There are less expensive options of course, but you get what you pay for.
A third option from Ops-Core
I'm going to look into NFPA standards for you, I suspect I will find a concrete answer in their literature. I would consider a helmet basic PPE that we should all have. See exact standard below.
Since NFPA standards are not the law or enforced like OSHA is I took my response a bit further.
If you don't mind my asking does your team carry insurance in the event a member gets injured? I suspect the team has some type of workman's comp insurance? If the fear of sustaining a traumatic brain injury isn't enough perhaps the risk of financial ruin to the team will get their attention. Everyone has a family, if someone suffers a catastrophic injury due to failure to wear their own or be provided basic PPE, what are the chances their family would sue? What are the chances the financial liability of such an accident that could have been prevented will bankrupt your team? Would your team's insurance company deny a claim for failure to take basic common sense precautions? Would your insurance drop your team all together? If you are an officer on your team you might have the ability to make it a written policy that a helmet is a MUST for the reasons I just listed. Even if you aren't an officer I would push a policy making helmets mandatory not just for the protection of the individuals but for the overall protection of the team.
Was I persuasive? Hopefully.