Just in case you thought fast changing technology only exists in cell phones and Mp3 players I bring you this Gear Diary entry.
This one hits especially close to home for me because, well you know, I’m a firefighter.
It was forty or so years ago that a very smart FDNY firefighter got the “bright” idea to strap a dime store, AA powered flashlight to his firefighting helmet using a strong rubber strap. He was struggling with having to carry a flashlight in order to see in the dark, smoked filled hallways of Harlem’s apartment structures. Having to carry a flashlight all the time meant he lost one hand which might be better used carrying a tool or searching for trapped victims.
The light strapped to the side of his helmet allowed him hands free vision into the dark.
Over the years the light got smaller.
And just last year Streamlight released what would be known as the smallest, lightest, helmet mounted LED flashlight ever to be worn by firefighters.
Well technology has come along way since the 50s and one of the premier firefighting helmet manufacturers, Bullard, has released something really cool!
The Bullard TrakLight Integrated Lighting System which features eight bright white LEDs protected behind a heat-resistant glass, is available on all Bullard structural fire helmet platforms and can be used with or without a leather front attached.
In addition to the eight forward-facing LEDs mounted to the front of the helmet, TrakLite offers a bright blue “buddy indicator” light on the rear of the helmet enabling a highly increased ability to track the wearer in low visibility situations.
Unlike other fire helmet lights which can be heavy for the wearer and awkward because of their side mount, the weight of TrakLite is distributed between the front and rear of the helmet to offer a more balanced lighting solution.
The lights are operable with a gloved hand via a single rotary switch which powers both the front LEDs and the rear buddy indicator light. The lights are run by four AAA batteries. TrakLite has a runtime of at least six continuous hours at a minimum brightness level of 50%. The lights use standard AAA alkaline batteries which allow the user to replace them in the field.
Now I wonder if I can somehow convince my chief it’s time for an upgrade.
You can learn more about the Bullard Tracklight sysyrm on the manufacturer’s website.