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So I originally came from a FD that was very traditional and took a lot of pride in everything we did. One of the things that came along with this was the unspoken rule that you DON'T under any circumstance wash or clean someones helmet.

I agreed with it for the sheer fact that it was kind of a badge of honor of sorts for us. But I am wondering if there is more to this tradition than I know?

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Well brother that’s a good question. I have never really heard of it being anymore than a mark of pride in the service. It has always been something to be admired when someone new joins and looks around at all the senior guys helmets and sees all the stories that are held in the ash and dirt. One thing that we must remember is that as much of a badge of honor this can be it also is a tool that must be taken care of. If you take care of it, it will take care of you. So if you get in there and wrinkle a reflector or two then by all means wear it with pride. But if it’s covered in ash and is a carbon nightmare then do yourself a favor and dust it off a little. Just a thought, the guys won’t rag on you to long if you clean it from time to time.


Lovin the job
Dan Rice
Brothers, while I'll be the first one to say as a young firefighter, I never wanted my lid clean, the dirtier the better. Melted reflectors, or face shield all the better, but, that was then. In todays world with all the nasty crap we get on our PPE including our helmets, we owe it to ourselves and our famililies, both of them, to clean and inspect our gear regularly. None of us need to be taken away from our loved ones early, because of the carcinogens we pick up on this job we all love so. We all get older and wiser, but, that's not a bad thing at all. It gives us the chance to pass our traditions along.

Stay Safe Brothers and Sisters!
-Jeff I agree with your points. I think not cleaning one's helmet is nothing more than a foolish schoolyard way of bragging, "look ma... I'm a real fireman". This is the stuff rookies are made of. Is insecurity that high that firefighters must wear a scorecard on their head?
-Cleaning of one's gear shows professionalism, pride and responsibility. Besides that, think of all of the nasty crap you needlessly expose yourself to by not cleaning your gear.
-Lastly, for those of us that wear leather, remember, if you want your helmet to last a career, it requires a little more love and attention than a plastic helmet.
-Seriously, clean your gear, eliminate the unnecessary health risk and stop worrying if everyone has seen how dirty you stuff is. If you want your peers to notice how good a fireman you are.... how about trying harder to do a good, conscientious and professional job. They'll notice.

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