Thursday, 20 December 2007

Mind your head

Today has been a pretty quiet day at the lifeboat station, other than Neil our LOM arriving with 30 bottles of wine! Every Christmas Mrs Phyl Cleare gives each of the crew a bottle of wine. Mrs Cleare is the lady who bought us our first D Class, Phyl Clare II, along with her late husband, Jack. She also bought our current D Class and it is named Jack Cleare in his memory. Thanks Phyl and Happy Christmas from all at the station.

I was also expecting my line manager, Dave Page (Divisional Engineer/South) to come and visit today for one of our P&D (Performance & Development) meetings but he suffered a blow out in the outside lane of a dual carriageway on his way up from Cornwall and he needed to return home to steady his nerves and possibly change his trousers! Anyway this gave me a chance to get a few things done at the station.

Over the years the RNLI has had various different types of helmets ranging from bump caps to motorcycle helmets. More recently though we have been using helmets produced by Gecko Headgear. These started off as the Mk8, then the Mk9 and most recently the Mk10 (left to right Mk8, Mk9, Mk10)

At first glance they look pretty similar but they are very different. The Mk8 was available in XS, S, M, L, XL and XXL and as a result everyone had to have one of their own that was the right size. They were also pretty uncomfortable and I never really had one that fitted me properly. The Mk9 was a great improvement, there were 2 sizes, Small and Normal. A correct fit was achieved by fitting different thickness pads into the helmet, 3 different thicknesses were provided and within 5 minutes you had a pretty comfortable fit. The drawback was though that you still needed one each.

The introduction of the Mk10 though changed all of this. It is fitted with an inflatable liner that moulds to your head, simply opening a valve on the end of a tube allows the wearer to adjust the fit. This means that there is no need for people to have helmets of their own as they can be adjusted to fit very quickly.

As I was going to have to order 5 new helmets for newly enrolled crew at a cost of £160 each it seemed like an excellent time to rationalise the helmets at the station. Previously some crew have had 2 helmets, 1 for the ALB, 1 for the ILB this was due to the fact that they are stored in totally seperate places and ILB helms had intercom wires that just get in the way if you're not plugged in. So after talking with Martin the Coxswain and our Divisional Inspector we decided to change the system completely. We decided to put 8 helmets aboard the ALB, 6 in the ILB shed and 3 for the ALB shore crew. This meant that we could send 9 helmets to another station in our Division and send the remainder back to Poole for re-allocation although its unlikely that the Mk8 helmets will be re-issued as they are pretty much at the end of their working life now.

Ensuring that the money people give us is put to best use can be a bit tricky but in this case its just a case of using your head!

Look out for tomorrow's post . . its someone's birthday . . someone who has a blog but currently is not in control of it . . someone who is going to be nearer 40 than 30 . . I'm saying no more!


Mart said...

Another interesting post about something I would have never thought about if you hadn't posted about it!

I work for the ambulance service and we seem to have gone completely the opposite direction, up til about a year ago we had vehicle based helmets, 2 per motor, which adjusted fairly quickly with the twist clicks they weren't the comfiest but we don't were them all that often, whereas now we have our own personal issue 'lego space man' style helmets that feel like they weigh half a ton and you can't use a stethoscope with them...... another well thought out plan by management

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mart, you never know lego might be about to bring out an ambulance man :o)

Unknown said...

The first lifeboat, The Sheffield, had come to Runswick in 1866 and was manned by a crew who had to be able to row for miles in stormy sea. The launching of the boat was a feat in itself: the children placed lanterns on the beach to mark the way then the boat was pushed on rollers to the sea edge by anyone available to help.

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