LUBBOCK, Texas — On Tuesday, Lieutenant Brady Robinette and his fellow firefighters pasted reflective strips to a shipment of helmets. This comes a year after Lt. Brady began conducting experiments on an assortment of helmets to see which would be best for them.
“Everybody wants be more protected, everybody wants to go home to their loved ones at the end of the shift,” Robinette said.
Following the January 11, 2020 crash that took the lives of Lt. Eric Hill and Lubbock Police Officer Nicholas Reyna, and leaving firefighter Matt Dawson severely injured, it didn’t take long before Lt. Robinette knew he had to do something about it.
“The helmets we currently have, they’re really good for fighting fire, but they’re not so good at providing protection for the drastically different forces we’d see at a wreck,” Robinette said.
Lubbock Fire Rescue built a machine to test various helmets, and how well they stayed on the head, including their own helmets, hard hats, and even off-roading helmets, with one helmet coming out on top. Lubbock Fire rescue ordered a shipment of the helmets so firemen can wear them when responding to vehicle crashes.
“This helmet right here is a helmet that’s used for another industry, it’s used for specialized search and rescue in the fire service,” Lt. Robinette said.
The helmet has a four point chin strap, and foam to protect the head.
“It provides impact absorption, same type of material that’s in bicycle helmets, motorcycle helmets,” Lt. Robinette said.
While Lt. Robinette admits his research isn’t totally scientific, his work has now been published in fire engineering magazine.
Each helmet takes about 10 minutes to prepare each of the helmets. The helmets will be sent to 19 different stations across Lubbock by the end of the week.
Lt. Robinette said the first shipments of helmets are only part of an even bigger goal.
“To get a helmet in the hands of anybody on the roadway that works on the roadway,” Robinette said.
Texas Tech is currently in the process of applying for grants to get funding for research. This is in an effort to design a helmet specifically for roadway workers.