"Firemen's brass may go," made headlines on the front page of The Canberra Times on this day in 1964.
The 'brass' was reference to the traditional symbol of the fireman - the brass helmet. It was used by fire brigades from the late 1800s until 1964.
On this day, 56 years ago, both the red and white helmets arrived for the Canberra firefighters. The white helmets were for the firefighters and the red for the senior officers.
A point in the brass helmet's favour was that it offered more protection against falling debris.
The chief fire officer, inspector Charles Holdom, said the light weight and protection against live electric wires were the main advantage of plastic helmets.
A plastic helmet weighed 0.6 kilograms as opposed to the brass one at 3 pounds (1.3 kilograms). They were also more comfortable and cooler to wear.
Today, international trends in firefighting helmets change almost every five years.
The present helmet complies with the Australian standard for structural firefighting helmets.
They are designed to be durable, long-lasting, impact-absorbent, protective and lightweight.
The colour of the helmet is different depending on the rank of the firefighter.
Most firefighters have yellow, while the commissioner has a black helmet.