An item of protective equipment designed to provide minimum protection to the head (certified as compliant with NFPA 1952).
(Replaces Item 01WA-04-HLMT).
The helmet is worn with an ensemble (dry suit, wet suit, or ice suit) that includes garment, footwear, gloves, helmet, and personal flotation device. The recommended helmet must be lightweight and tight-fitting with no rear brim, contain drainage holes to allow the passage of moving water, have no loose straps, and utilize high-visibility materials. Helmets are required to demonstrate resistance to impact and posses flotation characteristics. Some helmets are also constructed covering the ears to afford protection against ear trauma and injury.
Surface water operations are defined as "Technical rescue activities requiring water functional capabilities involving surface water, swift water, tidal water, surf, and ice that do not require underwater respiratory equipment."
The principal danger during swift water rescues is drowning. This means that all persons involved in swift water rescue operations should wear an approved personal floatation device, or a suit (such as an ice suit) designed to provide adequate flotation. Other protective clothing and equipment must mitigate drowning exposure hazards. For example, garments should not have loose straps or openings that can create entanglement hazards with floating debris. Regular helmets cannot be worn since they can fill with water and restrict movement. In addition, flood water temperatures can be quite low (near freezing). Exposure to cold water for extended periods of time results in reduced hand and foot function as the body's circulatory system limits blood flow to the extremities. Overexposure to these conditions can result in hypothermia. Lastly, flood water can carry chemical and sewage contamination capable of causing acute or chronic health effects.
Core Training: NFPA 1670 , NFPA 1006.
Initial Training: Extensive (> 2 days)
Sustainment Training: Extensive (> 2 days)
Law Enforcement: Dive Team