(Editor's Note: Protection Update welcomes contributions from readers for our regular “Safety Equipment Works for You” feature. Email examples of where PPE has saved workers' lives or prevented injuries to Editor Joe Walker, [email protected], or mail them to the Editor, Protection Update, International Safety Equipment Association, 1901 N. Moore Street, Suite 808, Arlington, VA 22209. Photos are welcome.)

Father, Son Saved by Fire Helmets

With heavy fire coming through the roof of a structural fire in Greenock, Pa., a father-and-son volunteer fire chief and assistant chief assessed the scene and began removing propane tanks and a gas grill from a porch to prevent further fire risk.

Suddenly and without warning, the porch roof collapsed on Bob Greenwald and his son, Jason, pinning them underneath the debris. The elder Greenwald could free himself, but Jason was trapped by the weight of the porch until several firefighters pushed off the rubble.

“My leather helmet kept the pressure off my head,” said the younger Greenwald, who suffered no head injuries. “It did what it's supposed to do.”

His father's helmet cracked on the brim from the force of the collapse, but he too sustained no head injuries, helmet maker Mine Safety Appliances Co. reported. Both men believe that wearing their helmets with chinstraps on saved them from serious injury. While it is common practice for firefighters not to wear their chinstraps, these men say their helmets stayed in place and did not dislodge during the incident, thanks to their chinstraps - a good tip to pass on.

Cairns® New Yorker N5A® and 1010 fire helmets by ISEA member Mine Safety Appliances Co. (

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