Trying to make firefighters more comfortable while on the job has won Wanganui firm Pacific Helmets a Silver Pin at the Best Design Awards.

The awards were hosted by the Designers Institute of New Zealand at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland on Friday night in front of a capacity crowd of 1050 people. The Castlecliff-based firm won the award in the product category for its F10 MKV structural firefighting helmet.

The supreme award in each category or discipline is the Purple Pin, followed by the coveted Gold Pin, and then Silver and Bronze pins.

Pacific Helmet's design director, Sam Milson, said, "[The helmet] addresses the issues that firefighters around the world have with their personal protective equipment " namely, weight and comfort."

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He said Pacific Helmets took a different approach to designing. Rather than try to reduce the weight, the company shifted it, bringing the helmet's relative centre of gravity closer to that of the firefighter's head. It also had a distinctive shell design that removed much of the weight from the front of the helmet.