Heading in a new direction
HONG KONG'S 4,500 firemen have been given extra protection with the issue of new helmets yesterday.
The New Zealand-made helmets, costing $650 each, are part of Fire Services Department moves to offer better safety.
Fire-fighters were issued with fire-resistant work trousers and gloves in March.
The new helmets differ from the old British-made issue in that they have a transparent fibre-glass visor to protect the eyes and upper face from flying debris and hot water. There is a flap to protect the back of the neck.
Fire Services spokesman Hanny Lee said the helmets were made of lighter material and could help reduce head injuries.
Senior fireman Cheng Chun-hei, of Sai Wan Ho fire station, said the helmet was a big improvement although initially he felt it was heavier because of the visor.
''It shouldn't take too long to adjust to the change from the old helmet, which I have worn for the past 161/2 years,'' he said.