Today’s Responder is focused on the needs of all first responders regardless of uniform or badge. This blog is produced by NFPA’s Public Fire Protection Division, staffed by fire fighters, paramedics, fire marshals, emergency managers and safety professionals. Together, they work on more than 90 NFPA documents, standards and guides ranging from personnel protective equipment and professional qualifications to emergency management and public safety communications centers.
The mission of the international nonprofit NFPA, established in 1896, is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.
NFPA 1936 is the standard to which powered rescue equipment is tested to assure the end user has safe tools to perform rescue operations.
Only manufacturers whose rescue tools have been certified to the rigorous requirements of NFPA 1936 can receive conformity documentation and adhere an NFPA compliance label.
NFPA 1936 is the only certification standard for rescue tools in North America. The standard specifies the minimum requirements for the design, performance, testing, and certification of powered rescue tool systems and the individual components of spreaders, rams, cutters, combination tools, power units, and power transmission cables, conduit, or hose.
Approved rescue tools to NPFA 1936 use NFPA standards that are developed through a consensus standards development process approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This process brings together volunteers representing fire service personnel, insurance, special experts and industry professionals to achieve consensus on fire and other safety issues.
For rescue tools certified to NFPA 1936, product conformance verification is required to be performed by a product conformance verification organization, such as UL, SEI and TUV. The product conformance verification program requires manufacturers to establish and maintain a quality assurance program that meets the requirements of NFPA 1936. In addition, continued product conformance verification shall be maintained by a product conformance organization by means of random inspections.
For further information, and to read the entire document, please go to www.nfpa.org/1936.
So last week I had the opportunity to be in Washington D.C. as an attendee and as an exhibitor at the EMS Today, the JEMS Conference and Exposition. I have attended this conference and expo before but this was the first year that the NFPA as there as an exhibitor. And I must say that this was a very successful confernce and expo for the NFPA.
While we did have a booth as part of the expo I did manage to step away to attend some of the many educational sessions that were offered to the attendees. Some were very fitting as they addressed the need or direction of national ambulance standards. As you may or may not know the NFPA has NFPA 1917, Standard for Automotive ambulances which is currently in revision. Any information about the second edition can be found at NFPA 1917 and select the “next edition” tab. Some other educational sessions I attended, and there were are lot on this subject, were on Community Paramedicine (CP) and Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) as these two topics are “hot button” issues right now for EMS due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Now the NFPA EMS technical committee will be meeting in April of 2014 to address these very same topics due to a request for a new project on these subjects. Once the meeting information is confirmed you can find it at NFPA 450 and select the “next edition” tab.
Something else I also found very interesting, while I was attending to our booth on the expo floor, was the amount of foot traffic to the booth and some of the questions that were asked of me. The one I got most frequently was “Why is the NFPA at an EMS conference and expo”? My answer to that question is that the NFPA has almost 40 standards that are related to EMS, with the most recent one being NFPA 1917, Standard for Automotive Ambulances. Most people were surprised with that little fact of how many standards we have relating to EMS and the fact that many of them are not “fire centric”, meaning that they only apply to fire based EMS.
So all in all it was a great conference and expo and I am looking forward to next year’s EMS Today Conference and Expo. This year we managed to dodge the winter weather with just heavy rain, but it seemed that many were faced with heavy snow. The 2013 expo did see some snow but nothing we couldn’t handle. Let’s see what next year brings.
Oh one final note, come see the NFPA booth at EMS World Expo in Nashville, TN this November 9th-13th, 2014. Hope to see you there!
So I am sure that anyone who views this blog has certainly heard how loud sirens on ambulances are and has probably asked themselves “why are they so darn loud”? From personal experience it would seem that you can hear an ambulance with its siren activated coming from a good distance away and might seem piercing or deafening once the ambulance is upon you. Well there is a reason, believe it or not, why an activated siren is so loud. Imagine yourself standing on the sidewalk when an ambulance with an activated siren drives by you, the siren is incredibly loud. Now also imagine yourself in your personal vehicle sitting at a stop sign with the windows closed, radio on, maybe talking on the cell phone or with other occupants in the vehicle with you engaged in conversations. Now that same ambulance pulls up from behind you then is beside you and I would venture to say that the sirens would not be as loud as they were if you were standing outside. I get the statement is obvious but in order for the siren to be heard by the operator of another vehicle where that operator might be exposed to other stimuli the need for a loud siren is imperative. Not only for your safety but for the safety of the ambulance operator and patients, if applicable.
This video shows a pretty amazing study or example of how and when sirens from an ambulance might be heard. It most definitely sheds some light on the subject of why activated sirens are so loud.
A quick search for close call videos on YouTube provides plenty of instances where responders are not wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) with self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). There are a couple of videos where responders are not wearing any PPE whatsoever. After watching this video clip it reminded me that we often fall subject to complacency. It's just a car fire right? So don't let it be a life changing or life ending event. Wear NFPA compliant PPE and SCBA.
Talk about thinking outside of the box, pardon the pun, and
designing something that works best for the end user and the patient. Here is a
really neat article about a group of students from MIT who designed an
ambulance that meets their needs as providers to that they can provide the
highest and most efficient level of service to their patient’s as well as being
focused around safety.
With responder safety and the safety of the occupants inside
an ambulance being a focus point we are seeing marked changes what the inside
of an ambulance looks like. This article comes at a very interesting and
pivotal time, as it relates to the design, performance, and testing of
ambulances. I say this as NFPA 1917, Standard for Automotive Ambulances is
currently in revision and the technical committee responsible for the document recently
met to address almost 500 public inputs that are suggesting change to the 2013
edition of the document. The committee will be meeting again in December,
meeting information can be found here, to finish their work that will be
published as part of the first draft report. You can follow the progress of the
revision of the document here.
On another note, I do happen to have a connection to the
ambulance that was designed at MIT and I am hoping to get up to see it and get
some photos of it. So check back soon.
(A research project sponsored by the FPRF, NFPA’s research affiliate)
Help us help today’s fire service! Unwanted fires are volatile and increasingly dangerous, and personal protective equipment (PPE) used by fire fighters is critical for their safety. But when is gear dirty and when is it contaminated?
Replacing firefighter gear too infrequently may influence contamination risks such as presumptive cancer, and replacing it too frequently incurs significant expense. We need your help by collecting critical background information to guide standards revisions and to support future research needed to fully clarify and resolve this issue. This on-line survey is part of a research project by the Fire Protection Research Foundation and involves approximately 30 brief questions and takes about 5 minutes. Go to www.nfpa.org/PPECareSurvey and help us help the fire service address this issue.
With so many recent aircraft incidents, emergency service organizations may be looking to review their response procedures to these emergencies. Many of these emergencies have taken place in areas off airport properties without staffed aircraft crash rescue firefighting capabilities. The FAA reports that there are over 19,700 airports in the United States. Of those 5,170 are open to the public and over 500 offer commercial airline services. In 2011, according to the NTSB there were 1,550 aircraft accidents in the United States. The sheer number of incidents demonstrates the need for a level of understanding when it comes to aircraft emergencies for all first responders regardless of their proximity to a major airport.
402, Guide for Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Operations is written to assist airport fire departments as well as structural fire departments with information on preparing for and responding to aircraft emergencies. Chapter 14
Structural Fire Department Operations at ARFF Incidents provides specific guidance to non-airport fire departments that are faced with an aircraft emergency. The guide provides information on specific aircraft emergencies, aircraft construction, extinguishing
aircraft fires and many other areas. Click on the standard to the left to review NFPA 402.
economic times, Fire Departments are forced to get creative when it comes to
the purchasing of fire apparatus that will meet the needs of their
department. Check out a great article on some of the concerns associated with the use of military
vehicles that have been converted/refurbished to function as fire
While these vehicles may come
at a bargain price, they are not without their issues. Multiple NFPA standards exist that can assist
your department whether you are converting a military surplus vehicle or
refurbishing an older apparatus. All apparatus
that are to be converted/refurbished for utilization as front line or reserve
fire apparatus should meet the requirements set forth in NFPA 1912, Standard
for Fire Apparatus Refurbishments, 2011 edition.
NFPA 1912 addresses “the refurbishing of
automotive fire apparatus utilized for fire fighting and rescue operations,
whether the refurbishing is done at the fire department or municipal maintenance
facilities, or at the facilities of private contractors or apparatus
manufacturers”. This standard can guide
your department in the proper updates to your apparatus, increasing operational
capabilities and safety to your personnel.
In addition, fire departments across the country are realizing the
financial benefits of a well-rounded preventative maintenance program for their
existing fleet. NFPA 1911, Standard for the Inspection,
Maintenance, Testing, and Retirement of In-Service Automotive Fire Apparatus,
2012 edition, details requirements for a thorough preventative maintenance
program that can save your department a lot of headaches by identifying issues
early and putting precious dollars back into your operating budget.