AFAC, the National Council for fire and emergency services in Australia and New Zealand is a lead contributor to the development and revision of Australia/New Zealand Standards. The National Council has representation on over 55 Australian/New Zealand, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Committees, with 47 individuals appearing on behalf of AFAC to support its interests.
Standards Australia and ISO facilitate bringing our industry together, whether it is for sprinklers in buildings, construction in bushfire-prone areas, personal protective equipment (PPE), or other relevant topics for us. AFAC, through its representation, plays a key role in the development and revision of Australian and International Standards which advance and guide the interests of the broader emergency management sector.
AFAC is a leading advocate of the development and revision of fire-related standards among Australian and New Zealand fire agencies. Representatives are required to consult with all members when providing comment in relation to the development or revision of Standards and in doing so put forward the collective view that is on behalf of all AFAC member agencies.
Over the past 12 months, AFAC representatives have been actively engaging with ISO, Standards Australia and the sector to develop and revise relevant Standards. This has required us to be flexible and agile, adapting from the usual face-to-face meetings to virtual meetings, in order to maintain committee programmes of work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
From a personal perspective, running international meetings with delegates across the globe in different time zones was extremely daunting, but with the challenges came possibilities. I have found with the Firefighters PPE Committee in particular, the online environment has proven to be a successful tool for international collaboration.
My role as AFAC Director Standards and Strategic Procurement requires me to incorporate extensive knowledge with respect to the fire and emergency services industry, in particular testing, with the compliance and certification of PPE. I assist with the development of specifications and associated tender documents for a range of PPE used by fire and emergency service personnel.
A significant component of my role is being an active member on five Australian and six International (PPE-related) committees. In recent years, my role as leader to the Australian delegation on behalf of Standards Australia at an ISO level has seen my appointment as Chairman of three Australian and ISO Committees, in addition to being a member of the NFPA Correlating Committee for PPE for Fire and Emergency Services.
In the list below are three major initiatives being driven currently at an ISO level, which is a mere snapshot of AFAC’s involvement on the international stage. Each of these projects are being managed under the auspices of the (International) ISO/ Technical Committee 94/ Sub Committee 14: Firefighters’ Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
ISO 23616: Cleaning, Inspection and Repair of Firefighters personal protective equipment (PPE)
ISO/TC94/SC14 agreed to develop a Standard for the cleaning, inspection and repair of firefighters PPE, ISO 23616.
Whilst historically fire and rescue services referenced and certified PPE to NFPA Standard 1851 (Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting. Electrical Solutions), this is not an International Standard. Publication of ISO 23616 will see the first implementation of an International Standard for guidance in this space.
The document was initiated in response to growing concerns of contaminated PPE and potential health hazards for firefighters; its purpose to provide guidance on the inspection and maintenance of firefighting personal protective equipment (PPE).
Development has seen involvement from fire and rescue services worldwide and manufacturers of PPE all wanting to provide guidance to effectively minimise and manage the risk.
Sub Committee (SC) 14 Working Group (WG) 1 met in Arnhem in June 2019 and Melbourne in November 2019 and considered 480 comments, demonstrating the significance and interest in this complex Standard.
A virtual meeting was held on 26–28 August 2020 where comments from a second ballot were addressed. The draft standard was then prepared for a Draft International Standard (DIS), released in January 2021, which AFAC has opportunity to comment on, on behalf of the industry.
In total, 48 months have been allocated to develop this standard and by all indications it will take all that time.
ISO 24588: Personal protective ensembles for use against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) agents. Classification, performance requirements and test methods
The international Standard for Personal protective ensembles for use against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) was approved as a new work item for (joint working group) Sub Committee (SC)14-/Sub Committee (SC) 13 on CBRN.
Following the meeting in Arnhem, June 2019, a first draft was released which attracted some 161 comments reviewed at the working group’s November 2019 meeting in Melbourne. At that time, agreement was reached for the draft to proceed to a formal Committee Draft (CD).
However, with the Covid-19 pandemic and many experts becoming unavailable to participate in the work, it was decided to request for the Standard to be placed on hold for six months. Work will recommence with a meeting of the Working Group virtually on 15 and 16 February 2021, after which we aim to have a draft circulated as a second CD ballot.
ISO 11999 series (includes Parts 1–10): PPE for Firefighters – Test methods and requirements for PPE used by firefighters who are at risk of exposure to high levels of heat and/or flame while fighting fires occurring in structures (Parts 1–10)
ISO 11999 was prepared by ISO/TC94/SC14 and approved for publication over five years ago. This standard was developed as an ensemble standard and as such has several parts: with each at various stages of publication.
A decision has been made by Sub Committee (SC) 14 Working Group 2 to revise Parts 1–6 and 9, in doing so the committee have been directed that the revision should consider the need for particulate protection and a harmonised approach to single performance requirements for heat and flame.
It has been highlighted that including requirements for particulate protection is only one part and without a focus on compatibility the aim of protection from particulates and other harmful chemicals getting through to the firefighter’s skin would be counterproductive.
- Committee Draft (CD)
- Draft International Standard (DIS)
- Final Draft International Standard (FDIS)
- The Royal Netherlands Standardization Institute (NEN) Standards
- German Institute for Standardization (DIN) Standards
- European Committee for Standardization (CEN), the consultant is an Independent expert whose role is to provide guidance and advice to the Technical Committees (TC), Subcommittees (SC) and Working Groups (WG) preparing draft European Standards
- British Standard Brass (BSB)
- Working Group (WG)
- Joint working group (JWG)
- Project Group (PG)
- Sub Committee (SC)
- Participating member (P)
- Observing member (O)
- ZZ Appendix, Appendix that sits at the rear of a standard, it allows for an International Standard to be adopted but with varying performance requirements specified by Australian content, outlined in the ZZ appendix. The ZZ appendix takes preference over the performance standards in the main ISO Standard and saves the need for creating an Australian duplicate standard.
For more information, go to www.afac.com.au