In recent months there has been a growing interest in the area of protective clothing and equipment for Fire Fighters from stakeholders within the sector. This article will take a look at what’s happening in the world of standards and an overview from Russell Shephard the chair of the joint Australian/New Zealand (A/NZ) Committee SF-049 Firefighters Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment.
Australia mirrors the work at the international level through the Standards Australia technical committee SF-049 – Firefighters personal protective equipment. Being an active member of this mirror committee allows Australia to have a ‘voice’ and provide input at the international level.
The international technical subcommittee (SC) of Technical Committee 94 SC 14 recently held their 16th meeting in Greenville, South Carolina, USA in the middle of July this year. Several resolutions were passed and future work plans were agreed upon in a number of areas including:
- Developing a New Work Item Proposal for Station Wear for Firefighters
- Developing a Wild land respirator protective devices (RPD) Standard
- Revising ISO DTR 21808 – Guidance on the selection, use, care and maintenance of personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to provide protection for firefighters. The revision of this Standard will be focused on providing guidance for fire services when referencing the requirements of ISO 13506 “Protective clothing against heat and flame – Part 1: Test method for complete garments – Measurement of transferred energy using an instrumented manikin”
The above subcommittee will hold their 17th Meeting in London on June 2017. One of the key working groups WG1 “General Requirements” is due to meet in October 2016 in St Galen, Switzerland to progress the important draft Standards currently out for ballot.
With the recent appointment of Russell Shephard as ISO/TC94 Chairperson in 2016 (ISO being International Standards Organisation) for a term of 6 years, there are already significant synergies between a number of the working groups and sub-committees. Russell is also currently the Chairman of ISO TC94 SC14 as well as the joint A/NZ Committee SF-049 Firefighters Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment.
Russell’s current role is Manager of Standards for the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authority Council (AFAC). Prior to this, Russell worked for 34 years with Australian Capital Territory Fire Service and Emergency Services Agency, and also served in various positions with the United Firefighters Union. Russell also contributes as a Committee Member to eight other national and international committees and as a result of his international contribution, was awarded the inaugural W.R. Hebblewhite Medal in 2015.
“For many years there was limited participation from countries within this committee. Recently through a restructure of the committee, increased commitment from those involved and the appointment of new convenors to working groups has seen significant changes. These working groups have focused on key requirements for firefighter’s PPE that is underpinned by a risk hazard approach. Also, an increase in publications across a range of fire related activities such as structural firefighting, wildland firefighting rescue and HAZMAT has also contributed to the committee’s success” reported Russell.
More recently the committee has established a Joint Working Group (JWG) with ISO TC94 SC13 for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN), this JWG will consider what is required to address the issue of protection against CBRN and if indeed all aspects of protection can be achieved. The SC14 committee is also seeing great attendance from the participating countries as the development of these international standards provides a reference for countries without their own national standards for firefighters PPE.
Some of the main Australian/New Zealand Standards currently active for firefighting PPE are:
- AS/NZS 4821:2014 Rul 1:2015 – Protective footwear for firefighters – Requirements and test methods (EN 15090:2012, MOD) (Ruling 1 to AS/NZS 4821:2014)
- AS/NZS 4067:2012 Amd 1:2014 – Protective helmets for structural firefighting
- AS/NZS 4821:2014 – Protective footwear for firefighters – Requirements and test methods
- AS/NZS 2161.6:2014 – Occupational protective gloves – Protective gloves for structural firefighting – Laboratory test methods and performance requirements
- AS/NZS 4967-2009 – Protective clothing for firefighters – Requirements and test methods for protective clothing used for structural firefighting
- AS/NZS 4824-2006 – Protective clothing for firefighters – Requirements and test methods for protective clothing used for wildland firefighting (ISO 15384:2003, MOD)
We look forward to further developments, both domestically and internationally around this very important work.
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