How to Install a Bourke Eye Shield

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The Bourke Eye Shield was once a standard part of the firefighter's uniform.
The Bourke Eye Shield was once a standard part of the firefighter's uniform. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

The Bourke Eye Shield is often worn by volunteer and professional firefighters as an accessory for standard issue Cairns fire helmets. It was invented by New York Fire Department firefighter Les Bourke after he was temporarily blinded and suffered a forehead gash from a swinging piece of metal that he hit with his fire hose. Today, the Bourke Eye Shield has been superseded by more efficient eye protection. However, it can be used along with other types of protection. Some firefighters wear it for the sake of tradition. You can easily install this shield on your Cairns helmet.

Things You'll Need

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Grease pencil or permanent marker
  • Drill with 3/16-inch bit
  • 2 Machine screws (included)
  • 2 Flat washers (included)
  • 2 Fiber washers (included)
  • 2 Stop nuts (included)

Grasp the edges of both of the lenses of your Bourke Eye Shield and press them downward to open the shield.

Position the shield on your helmet so that the inner edge of the brass frame is about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch from the outer edge of the helmet dome.

Mark the position of each of the two screw holes in the shield by making a dot or "x" on the brim of your hat for each hole before you remove the shield so that you can drill mounting holes.

Drill a hole in each of the two marked spots.

Insert the two machine screws into the screw holes on your Bourke Eye Shield so that the screws face upward. Place a fiber washer firmly above each of the screws so that each washer is flush with the edge of your shield.

Reposition the shield so that you insert the screws through the holes you have drilled on the underside of your helmet brim. The fiber washers should rest firmly under the holes..

Slip a flat washer over each screw so that the washer rests on top of your hat brim.

Fasten a stop nut to the end of each screw. Tighten the stop nut by grasping it with your wrench while tightening it with your screwdriver.

Remove the protective film from the lenses of your Bourke Eye Shield. Wear your helmet as you normally would.

Tips & Warnings

  • The Bourke Eye Shield does not conform to present standards for eye protection. Wear it only in conjunction with goggles or other protective devices according to the rules of your fire department.

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