American Survival Guide - - GEAR GUIDE -

Hel­mets only work if they are prop­erly worn and main­tained. As with shoes and work boots, it is dif­fi­cult, if not im­pos­si­ble, to squeeze into a hel­met that is too small. But one that is way too big will have its own prob­lems. A hel­met not only needs to fit prop­erly, it also needs to be prop­erly se­cured.

Whether wear­ing a work safety hel­met or a com­bat hel­met, it should be snug, with the chin­strap hold­ing it in place. Hel­mets shouldn't be cocked to the side (style comes a dis­tant sec­ond after pro­tec­tion when hel­mets are in­volved). For­tu­nately, many mod­ern hel­mets have re­mov­able pads that help en­sure the per­fect fit. These can also im­prove com­fort when wear­ing the hel­met for ex­tended pe­ri­ods.

When hel­mets aren't be­ing used, they should be prop­erly stored with other vi­tal equip­ment and in­spected reg­u­larly. In ad­di­tion to dings and scratches, hel­mets should be checked for in­sects and cleaned so they don’t col­lect mold or dirt. Re­mov­able pads should be re­placed be­fore they in­ter­fere with a proper fit or com­pletely wear out.

To­day's mod­ern com­bat and safety hel­mets are made from Kevlar, Twaron or sim­i­lar syn­thetic fibers. They don't nor­mally break down quickly. How­ever, as with so many other ma­te­ri­als, ex­po­sure to UV ra­di­a­tion from sun­light for ex­tended pe­ri­ods can be an is­sue. For these rea­sons, a cover is rec­om­mended (this is the rea­son the mil­i­tary gen­er­ally uses hel­met cov­ers).

Spe­cialty safety hel­mets should also be in­spected. In ad­di­tion, a backup hel­met or two is rec­om­mended, be­cause once a hel­met is da­m­aged, it should be re­moved from reg­u­lar use.

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