Bright new headgear makes Terry Mills stand out and that is exactly the idea.

The Mount Maunganui fire service station officer was issued with his new red helmet last month as part of the national rollout.

Station officers and senior station officers will now wear red helmets instead of the old blue stripes on the yellow helmets to make it easier to identify who is in charge while on the job.

The new helmets were comfortable but took a bit of getting used to, Mr Mills said.


Recruits and others wearing red helmets will change to green helmets with a black crest.

It is not only the colour but the style that is changing.

The current model was introduced in 1985 and has had only small modifications since.

The new F-10 helmet is a close fitting "euro" style, which has a smaller profile and was better suited to the range of incidents firefighters are now called to.

They will be issued as the older ones require replacing.

Fire stations around the country are also being issued with new breathing apparatus.

Tauranga's stations have been using and training with the new kit for about a month.

"It's got telemetry communications on it," Mr Mills said. "Just by them pressing a button we know they are in difficulty. We can keep an eye, from the outside, how much air they've got in their cylinder."