Here Are 8 Reasons Why Fire Helmets Are Made Of Leather

why are fire helmets leather

Firefighters are some of the bravest people you will ever meet. They put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. When firefighters walk into a burning building, they need to be prepared for anything that might happen. One crucial gear in any firefighter’s arsenal is a fire helmet. But did you know that these helmets are leather? It may seem strange at first, but there’s more to this than meets the eye!

Here are 8 reasons why fire helmets are made from leather;

  1. Leather Helmets Absorbs Heat
  2. Leather Fire Helmets Are Lightweight And Comfortable
  3. Leather Fire Helmets Are Easy To Clean
  4. Leather Fire Helmets Cannot Melt
  5. Leather Fire Helmets Self-Extinguishes
  6. Leather Fire Helmets Does Not Conduct Electricity
  7. Leather Helmet Has Low Center Of Gravity
  8. Leather Helmets Heightens The Sense Of Smell

To learn more about the above-mentioned reasons why firefighter helmets are made of leather, keep reading this article.

1. Leather Helmets Absorbs Heat

The first reason why fire helmets are leather is that it absorbs heat. When firefighters are fighting a fire, one of the biggest risks to their life comes from the intense heat and flames that quickly spread throughout any building.

Leather is a perfect material that absorbs this heat so that it doesn’t affect the firefighter as much. This is especially important for firefighters who need to be able to stay in a hot environment for long periods of time without being at risk of overheating or passing out.

Not only does leather absorb heat but also it is excellent for also preventing burns to the head of the firefighter.

2. Leather Fire Helmets Are Lightweight And Comfortable

One of the reasons why fire helmets are leather is that leather is lightweight and comfortable. This means that firefighters can wear their helmets for long periods of time without getting tired or uncomfortable.

The fact that leather is lightweight also makes it more comfortable for firefighters because they can wear them all day without feeling weighed down by their gear.

Leather as a material is very durable yet it is lightweight making it the perfect material for fire helmets.

This may be the number one reason why leather is used in making these important pieces of equipment. The lightweight and durability of leather make it a perfect material for firefighters to wear on their heads while they’re running into burning buildings.

Leather is also very flexible material. This means that the fire helmet can be molded to the shape of the firefighter’s head so that they are very comfortable when they’re trying to save lives or put out fires.

3. Leather Fire Helmets Are Easy To Clean

Another reason why fire helmets are leather is that they’re easy to clean! Leather that has been treated doesn’t absorb water, so a firefighter’s helmet will stay dry even when it comes into contact with water.

When the helmet does get dirty, all a firefighter has to do is wipe it down with some soap and water and then let it air-dry in order to restore its original condition.

And because it is leather, it is easy to use leather shoe care products to treat and protect the leather fire helmet.

4. Leather Cannot Melt

Another reason why fire helmets are leather is that they’re not going to melt.

If a firefighter has a plastic helmet, he or she could find themselves in danger if the heat gets too intense and it melts off their head! Leather won’t do this because it will only burn as long as there’s air in front of it to feed the flame.

This means that even if the temperature rises above 500 degrees Fahrenheit and above, firefighters can remove their heads from harm by backing out of an area with no oxygen (in other words, leaving).

This kind of thermal-heat resistance also benefits our brave men and women overseas who wear these same types of helmets when fighting fires in Iraq.

5. Leather Self-Extinguishes

Another reason why firefighters wear leather helmets is that they are self-extinguishable.

If the helmet catches on fire, one instinct may be to throw it off immediately in order to protect themselves and others around them.

But don’t toss that hat just yet! A well-made part of a fireman’s outfit will have been treated with an accelerant (or chemical) which prevents them from catching alight as easily as regular cotton clothes would.

So if you remove your headgear where there is oxygen present (again: outside!), this substance will smother the flame before it has time to spread any further.

This is absolutely great not only for protection the fireman during a fire, but it also means that they can leave their helmet on for longer if need be.

Not only does leather helmet self extinguish but also leather helmets has natural fibers which help protect against heat damage from fires.

This means that if a firefighter’s helmet starts heating up too much on a certain side, he or she can move around so the other side of the helmet has more contact with air which helps cool it off.

6. Leather Does Not Conduct Electricity

Another reason why fire helmets are leather is that they don’t conduct electricity.

When firefighters are on the field, they deal with so many different types of threats from fires to electrocution.

Leather helmets work as a barrier that protects the firefighter’s head and neck, which can be exposed during an emergency at any moment if their helmet falls off or is compromised in some way.

The fibers inside leather are similar to rubber insulation so they protect against electric currents.

This means that if a firefighter is electrocuted in the line of duty, their leather helmet will not conduct any electrical current to other areas of his or her body making it safer for him or her and those around them.

Leather helmets also do not give off an electric charge when touched which gives firefighters more time to break contact with one another during rescue operations as they are able to remain closer together without the risk of being too close.

7. Leather Helmet Has Low Center Of Gravity

The low center of gravity on the leather helmet makes it less likely to fall off or be knocked askew in the event that a firefighter falls.

They are also more resistant to slipping from their heads during rescue operations and can withstand greater degrees of an impact than other types of helmets like plastic ones – which will give out under pressure when they hit something hard enough, causing them to break open.

Leather helmets are heavier and feel more substantial because they have been soaked with water before being molded into shape for optimal protection against different hazards such as fire, heat, electricity or anything else that may put these brave first responders at risk for injury.

8. Leather Helmets Heightens The Sense Of Smell

I have had a friend of mine whose father was a firefighters for close to 30 years say the leather helmets firefighters wear heightens the sense of smell.

Firefighters are able to better detect fire in structures because they have a heightened sense of smell, and that is thanks to their leather helmets.

Almost like a super power, leather absorbs scents better than other materials such as plastic or metal and makes it easier for firefighters to locate things like gas leaks.

This helps them to detect and promptly warn people who may be at risk before an explosion happens.

The smells stay inside the helmet and don’t get mixed up with outside air currents. They also come out of the helmet quicker when they are close to something hot. This means that firefighters can find fires quicker and put them out faster if they need to! Cool right!


This article is my research on why fire helmets are leather. I explain a host of reasons why firefighter helments are made of leather.

One of my favorite reasons apart from how the leather material helps to keep the firefighter safe is how leather is able to quickly absorb smells enabling firefighters to have heightened sense of smell.

I hope this article has been informative and helps you to understand why fire helmets are leather.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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