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Thread: Best Lights For A Firefighter

  1. #1
    Flashaholic neal71's Avatar
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    Default Best Lights For A Firefighter

    My father is a firefighter and I would like to get him a light for his helmet, since the city he works for does not supply helmet lights he does not have a backup and wont get one for himself. I would also like suggestions as to what would be the best light to clip on to his jacket as well. There are a lot of "firefighter" lights out there, but since number one, it is my father I do not want him carrying something into a burning building that is not going to stay on, and number two, I am a college student and I do not have a disposable income, I would like to know what you all think would be the best lights that are "affordable". Really all suggestions are welcomed since I really enjoy looking at and researching flashlights.

    If anyone is wanting to sell any lights that would fit the applications mentioned above, please PM me and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
    Last edited by neal71; 11-20-2009 at 01:16 PM. Reason: mistyped

  2. #2

    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    I gues you need a real thrower headlight to pierce the smoke, a real floody one would not be suitable

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* TooManyGizmos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter



    You need to visit the headlamp section .(forum)

    I'm betting it will wind up to be expensive.

    It has to withstand a LOT of heat without deforming or melting.
    It also needs the right kind of beam to pierce thru smoke , steam and water mist .

    It also has to be Authorized and Safety Approved to use in potentially explosive environments .

    This "Surefire Firefighter" thread just came up in the dealers section , maybe it will get you started.

    Do much research ..... and spend wisely ..... don't be too hasty to buy.

    You might also talk to the Captain of the firehouse to get his experienced suggestions of what works.

    .................................................. .................................................. ...........................................

    neal , P.S.
    After you have researched and made an educated and wise decision on what to buy for your father ........
    You may P.M. me on this forum to receive a donation for your fathers helmet light , F.I.R.E. Fund .
    *** ( Fathers Illumination Rescue Equipment ) ***




    .TMG.
    Last edited by TooManyGizmos; 11-24-2009 at 05:23 PM. Reason: add
    ~ "She" says ...... I have ... TooManyGizmos ~

  4. #4
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    Default

    1.: the light - whatever it will be - has to be RUGGED
    2.: ask Your father what he uses now and why. Then decide, based on the batteries used

    ... because he most probably wont use anything with "fancy" power source
    (if he did, he already had such one)

    I dont think You will find something under 50,--
    but the last years this price class saw an evolution ... totally crazy and nice.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic neal71's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    I figured around $150 is what would be a reasonable amount, I have done a lot of google searches and the surefire keeps coming up, I have never owned an expensive light, so I do not know if the surefire is the best for light output and durability. The feelings on the forums seem to be a little mixed about surefire.

    As far as batteries go, I will make sure he has extras and as long as the light will take them I will get rechargeable batteries.
    Last edited by neal71; 11-20-2009 at 01:27 PM.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic guardpost3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    check out the thefirestore, they have helmet light packages with either a surefire or a streamlight along with a blackjack helmet mount. also if you want to spend a little more then look at the streamlight vantage helmet light. the vantage is specifically for going on your helmet. it it the lightest option out there (which is important if your like me and already have two door chocks and a brass window punch up there) and it also has a bright blue led on the back so the rest of your crew can spot you thru the smoke. as far as budget goes, i would go with the streamlight 4AA and a blackjack mount, cheaper to buy and cheaper batteries plus it has an awesome beam for firefighting. also look at the streamlight survivor as a light for his coat i have seen them on fire and half melted and still working. they are not that expensive if you get the 4AA version and not the rechargeable which costs almost double. I like surefire, but all my firefighting lights are streamlight, they have always performed the best for me on the fireground.
    Last edited by guardpost3; 11-20-2009 at 02:07 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    Whatever you get, replace the lens with Borofloat glass lens from flashlightlens dot com. Has about 95% light transference with "outstanding" thermal durability. Thats my 2 cents.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* TooManyGizmos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    neal71 ,

    Glad to see you are getting good replies on this.

    Real world applications from real firefighters is just what you need.

    I still think you should talk to the Captain at the firehouse too .

    I forget the term used to describe lights approved for explosive atmosphere areas , but they have been discussed on here too. Maybe someone will post what the term is , so you can do a search on it.

    It's an odd name ........ anyone ?
    .
    ~ "She" says ...... I have ... TooManyGizmos ~

  9. #9

    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    IIRC the term for flashlights approved for hazardous environments is "Permissable."
    "NASA Houston, We've got a problem, do you copy?"
    "Roger, Apollo 13, we copy. Shut down power and use your flashlights for light."

  10. #10
    Flashaholic guardpost3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    the term your looking for is "Intrinsically Safe"

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* MarNav1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    Take a look at Pelican lights.
    Reality is usually scoffed at and illusion is usually king. But in the battle for survival of western civilization it will be reality and not illusion or delusion that determines what the future will bring.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* TooManyGizmos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    Quote Originally Posted by guardpost3 View Post
    the term your looking for is "Intrinsically Safe"

    Yes .... thank you ... I can never remember that term.

    No further brain cell regeneration ... I guess.
    .
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    I'll also give a thumbs up to Streamlight products. For my money it's hard to beat a Streamlight ProPolymer 4AA Luxon as a helmet light. You can pick one up for about $60 USD in a package deal that includes a Blackjack mounting bracket for attaching to a fire helmet. This bracket is by far the best I've ever used for attaching a light to your helmet.

    As far a light for hanging on a fire coat, the Streamlight Survivor comes in several versions. The old standard is a rechargable incandescant version, the newer versions are LED's with a choice between rechargable and 4 AA alkaline battery models. These will start you at about $50 USD for the alkaline model.

    I don't go in a fire without these lights, and usually a Lightbox too!!

  14. #14
    Flashaholic neal71's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    I really like the streamlight products does anyone know how durable and reliable they are?

  15. #15
    Flashaholic It01Firefox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    I'm a volunteer firefighter and my whole city uses Underwater Kinetics UK 4AAs. Pretty much all of us are still using the Xenon lamps only one guy has the LED version. I haven't seen this light compared to the Xenons so I can't comment on it.

    The Xenons have a tight beam that's pretty good at cutting through smoke, but it's not useful for general lighting purposes as it has practically no usable spill. The beam is also not very smooth, but works well for use in smoke.

    There' a version that switch on by twisting the bezel and also one that has a clickie switch in addition to the bezel twist option. You can get lights with different safety ratings.
    The light is supposed to be run on primaries and not on rechargables. The reason for this is that the safety rating is granted only for use with primaries.
    Rechargables do work in this light, although some are a bit too short, so the rattle around and will lose contact with the lamp assembly. I'm only using rechargables on the one light that I don't put on my helmet.

    There used to be a rechargable version of this light, but I can't find it on their web site right now. It has a slightly higher output that the normal one.
    You can put this higher output lamp assembly in a normal non-rechargeble light, but again you'll lose the safety rating.

    There are tons of helmet mounts for specific types of helmets available as well as generic ones.
    Also you can get an accesory to convert it to an angle head light.

    The alkaline version is supposed to run 4 hours on a set of batteries.

    As for durability of the light, we have about 100 guys using these lights since 2003 and I'm not aware that one of them has failed, yet. They've gone into countless burning buildungs and none of them have melted or anything. They also get knocked around quite a bit on the helmet and I haven't had a bulb break, yet (not sure about everybody else, but definitely not in my station). The bulb is supposed to last 11 hours, if I remember correctly, but I've run quite a few sets of batteries through mine and I'm still using the original bulb that came with the lamp and it's still as bright as on the first day.

    The newer LED versions have a higher lumes rating and are focusable, but as I stated above I've never tried one.

    There's also a new series of lights from Pila (here in Germany distributed by Parat) the PX1 that use the same 4AA form factor (they fit in the same helmet mounts) and can be had with either a Xenon bulb or with "White" or "Amber" LEDs. But again I've never seen one of these light so I can't comment on them.

    The biggest drawback is that the UKs don't have a battery indicator function, so you never know how much juice is left before the output drops down.


    I hope this helps you in your search.
    Markus

  16. #16
    Flashaholic neal71's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    I like the black jack attachment, but I am not sure what light would fit the best with his helmet. I would really like to keep it a surprise so I am really leaning towards the streamlight. Anyone have any personal experience with this light, or heard anything about them?

  17. #17
    Flashaholic guardpost3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    this is the same setup I use and i love it, the beam on the streamlight is perfect for cutting thru smoke, i actually bought the more expensive streamlight vantage but ended up going back to this rig because of the beam. they are durable as hell and not too expensive to replace if you happen to mess one up.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    I'm surprised not to see more than one mention about incandescent bulbs. My personal experience through fog is that a "cool" LED will show the fog rather than what you're pointing at. A "warm" LED is better at cutting through fog (and I suppose it is exactly the same for smoke) and a lot of guys here say that Incandescent is the best at cutting through fog and smoke. I don't have and INCAN yet, so I can't say by experience, but that's what I would recommend for a firefighter's use. It is more expensive and batteries won't last as long, but safety is the real issue here...
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  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Linger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    Incan filament is vulnerable when they're hot. A helmet might be banged about and hit. Sure I realise they were used for years before LED's advanced, but is this one circumstance where a breaking bulb is not an option?

    Bugger part of the recommendations is that often uber users won't take a vanillar led surefire or streamlights, the emitters / drivers are known to be substandard in comparison to the hosts. Oh well.
    +1 Pelican brand has something of a reputation for these, do they not?
    Last edited by Linger; 11-26-2009 at 04:49 PM.
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    I have had positive experiences with the Streamlight 4aa luxeon and UK Eled 4aa. These are non-metallic bodies and hence less likely to burn skin after entry into hot environments and doffing of equipment. Both are easy to activate with heavy gloves and able to shed water adequately. If he is using the standard structural firefighter helmet, the clip type mounts seem to be okay. If the intent is for a much lighter weight hard hat for wildlands use, then I would recommend the rubber band mount as it holds the weight of the light closer to the center of mass and is less likely to tilt the hard hat. Or, for non-structural work, you might even want to consider a dedicated headlamp such as the PT EOS for wildlands or if he is an EMT or medic -- consider the bike version as it allows for a variety of mounting options. Personally, I avoid metallic lights due to the issue of heat conductivity and any lights with complicated switches as one's attention must be focused on the scene/patient.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    I've been using a surefire c3 HOLA with a flip down red filter on my Cairns 1010. I fabricated a mount so it attaches to the faceshield mounting screws. I tried rim mounts, but they get banged off too much. I've been using my set-up for over 10 years with no problems (we run 3500 calls/year). It's been through all sorts of crap. In my bunker pant pocket I've got a surefire m6 HOLA attached with a gear keeper line. Great for getting under the smoke. I'm currently modding it with a Lighthound P7 head. In my coat pocket, I've got an old L2 which I sometimes use for medical calls and general stuff.
    btw. Our department use the streamlight survivor xenons. I don't like them, but that's a personal thing.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    Quote Originally Posted by to_fire View Post
    I've been using a surefire c3 HOLA with a flip down red filter on my Cairns 1010. I fabricated a mount so it attaches to the faceshield mounting screws. I tried rim mounts, but they get banged off too much. I've been using my set-up for over 10 years with no problems (we run 3500 calls/year). It's been through all sorts of crap. In my bunker pant pocket I've got a surefire m6 HOLA attached with a gear keeper line. Great for getting under the smoke. I'm currently modding it with a Lighthound P7 head. In my coat pocket, I've got an old L2 which I sometimes use for medical calls and general stuff.
    btw. Our department use the streamlight survivor xenons. I don't like them, but that's a personal thing.
    Interesting! Can you post pics?

  23. #23

    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    C-Beam, I'll try to post, but I'm new to the forum and not quite sure how to post pics. Or if you like I'll try to email the pics to you. Please be patient.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    upload them to tinypic.com and cut and past the [img]xxxx[/lmg] in the post.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    Quote Originally Posted by guardpost3 View Post
    the term your looking for is "Intrinsically Safe"
    Yep that's the word.

    I used to do hazmat work, I used mostly Stealthlight 4AA Incandescent lights, but also Surefire G2's whenever I could.
    Last edited by Double_A; 11-28-2009 at 11:55 PM.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* TooManyGizmos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    Neal71 .

    Did you see this similar helmet light thread ?

    .
    ~ "She" says ...... I have ... TooManyGizmos ~

  27. #27
    Flashaholic tundratrader's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    I got one of the Blackjack mounts and a surefire gtl-fyl for my helmet. The blackjack doesnt work because we carry goggles on our helmets and the mount for them is right in the way. So mine is not on my helmet but I carry the light. On my helmet I have a UKEAA light that works well not the brightest but it works. The GTL-FYL is very good though. It is basically a nitrolon body with 6p bezel and z59 clickie. No one has figured out what makes it IDLH atmosphere safe. It is very durable. I have a malkoff m60w in mine right now and it works well in smoke cuts through all but the thickest. When it is very smokey in a building all lights are useless anyways. We carry pelican recoil led lights as well that work quite well on regular AA batteries. Surefire actually sells a helmet light combo now. With a malkoff you have brightness and longer runtime as well.
    New to being a Flashoholic but have always had a taste for the good stuff. I edc a Malkoff MD2 with M60W or Surefire C2 with m61. XM-18 along with Victorinox cybertool 29 and Leatherman crunch.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    C-Beam
    Here's a couple of pics with my C3 mounted to the side of my 1044.
    I hope this works??!!
    Mount can be slightly moved/bent to adjust where the C3's hot spot needs to be.

    Sheet steel mount heated and hammered around C3 body.


    Sorry about the blurry pic...phone-cam

  29. #29

    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    Thanks! I need to make something like that.

  30. #30
    Flashaholic guardpost3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Lights For A Firefighter

    Good job
    must work well, it looks like its been there for a while.

    What does the red helmet signify in your dept? (in my dept, red helmet=captain)

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