What Firefighters Should Know About the NFPA 1851

What Firefighters Should Know About the NFPA 1851
  • Opening Intro -

    Firefighters require PPE to stay safe from the abundant hazards of the job.

    From durable headgear and respirators to fire protection gloves and heavy-duty boots, firefighter uniforms quite literally contain PPE from head to toe.

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Firefighters require PPE to stay safe from the abundant hazards of the job. From durable headgear and respirators to fire protection gloves and heavy-duty boots, firefighter uniforms quite literally contain PPE from head to toe.

It’s critical that firefighter PPE remains in the best conditions to maximized personnel safety, which is why routine inspections are so important. Read on to discover what firefighters should now about the NFPA 1851, the importance of upholding the standard at your fire department, and how to do so.

The NFPA

The NFPA, or National Fire Protection Association, was established in the late 1800s. The organization was created in hopes of minimizing annual loss to fire damage.

Since its inception, the NFPA has released accessible fire hazard education programs and resources for a range of audiences.

The association has also created a slew of standards to help homeowners, companies, and firefighters confirm that they’re reducing fire risks when possible.

Currently, there are roughly over 300 NFPA consensus codes and standards that are utilized all over the world.

NFPA 1851

Of the wide selection of NFPA standards, NFPA 1851 is quoted as the “standard on selection, care, and maintenance of protective ensembles for structural firefighting and proximity firefighting.”

  • Structural firefighters respond to emergencies involving structural, chemical, vehicle, wildland fires, and more, suppressing these types of fires as well. These firefighters also educate the public on fire prevention and perform local fire inspections.
  • A proximity firefighter is a specialized firefighter who performs fire suppression, property conservation, and rescue at fires of extreme radiant, conductive, and convective heat.

Because their duties differ, structural and proximity firefighters have slightly different PPE repertoires. Nonetheless, both firefighting types uphold the NFPA standard.

Different Ways To Uphold NFPA 1851

The way that different fire departments apply the standard may differ, but the intent is all the same – to keep PPE up to code to ensure the adequate protection of all firefighters.

Let’s look at a few different methods that fire stations use to upkeep their firefighting PPE.

  • A daily PPE inspection is required of each individual firefighter at that station, followed by a monthly inspection by battalion chiefs, aided with routine cleaning schedules and outsourcing cleaning services for more heavy-duty cleaning.
  • Regular inspection and issuing two firefighting gear sets to personnel so they can wash gear in the extractor after every encounter with smoke and other fire elements.
  • Retire gear after ten years of use (per the NFPA 1851 standard) and replace as necessary.
  • Prohibit fire gear from being brought into the station’s living area or to individuals’ homes. Provide lockers to avoid this being an issue.
  • Keep gear separate when possible and toss it when it starts showing signs of wear and tear.
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By following a mix of the above-mentioned ways, firefighters can uphold the NFPA 1851. In addition to partaking in routine cleaning and inspection, it’s important that each first responder at your station is aware of what firefighters should know about 1851.

Knowledge of the standard will ensure a more unified approach to taking care of firehouse PPE.

Image Credit: what firefighters should know by envato.com

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