Staff from the Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) Equipment Team have been working closely with a product design student from a local university in recent months – resulting in the design of a brand new fire helmet.
Alex Bordino, who is currently in his final year at Nottingham Trent University, approached the Service's Equipment Manager, Kev Shuttlewood, and Equipment Support Officer, Philip Law, in June last year for support with one of his degree projects.
This particular project required Alex to look at solving a real-world problem through product design. The one he chose to solve being related to heat stress – the leading cause of firefighter deaths worldwide.
Alex, who is studying BSc (Hons) Product Design, undertook in-depth research into the issue and was motivated to design a commercially feasible fire helmet that would provide firefighters with sufficient personal protection, whilst also monitoring things such as their blood temperature and room conditions. These readings giving incident commanders an early warning should their firefighting crews be about to undergo heat stress.
The design of the helmet has now been finalised and Alex, who will soon be moving onto the prototype stage, has since offered thanks to the Service for its support.
"After identifying the problem I wanted to look at solving, I needed a client and user who I could work closely with during the course of the project to ensure that the end product met the needs of firefighters," he added.
"Kev and Phillip were happy to help and were invaluable throughout every stage of the project. They provided expert advice and kindly allowed me to interview themselves and firefighters at Stockhill Fire Station – as well as giving me a complete product breakdown of all firefighting PPE across the Service.
"Without the input and co-operation of Kev and Philip, and all the firefighters, the project would not have been possible, and I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with them."
Alex's helmet is called The VULCAN Smart Fire Protection System and has been designed to meet all fire and rescue safety standards – as well as offering the extra real-time data provision.
"As a Service we do an immense amount of work not just responding to fires and other incidents, but also supporting those in our communities – with the ultimate aim being to make them safer," added Kev, who has managed the Service's Equipment Team for five years since he retired as a fire officer
"This individual project was not something that we have really done before, but as a fire and rescue service we are always keen to help wherever we can.
"Alex has been excellent in his approach – and his final design shows excellent attention to detail and concept. We're really pleased to have been able to assist him with his work, which has also allowed the team to develop further interests in this field."