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Guide to complying with NFPA 1851 (2014 edition)

Overview

NFPA 1851 (2014 Edition) went into effect on August 15, 2013. Fire departments should get a copy of the document and make adjustments to their standard operating procedures as necessary.

Additionally, departments should test their protective clothing and removing from service any clothing that fails the advanced testing procedures or exceeds its service life.

Records

The first section of NFPA 1851 deals with the records that departments must keep on each element of protective ensembles. Departments must keep at least the following records:

  1. Person to whom element is issued.
  2. Date and condition when issued.
  3. Manufacturer and model name or design.
  4. Manufacturer's identification number, lot number or serial number.
  5. Month and year of manufacture.
  6. Dates and findings from advanced inspections.
  7. Dates and findings of advanced cleaning or decontamination.
  8. Reason for advanced cleaning or decontamination and who performed cleaning or decontamination.
  9. Dates of repairs, who performed the repairs and a brief description of the repairs.
  10. Date of retirement.
  11. Date and method of disposal.

Selection

NFPA 1851's section on selection explains what the department should consider before purchasing protective clothing.

The department should perform a risk assessment, and based on the results, develop its purchase specifications for protective clothing.

Inspection

The section on inspection identifies two levels of inspection for protective clothing: routine and advanced.

Routine inspections are the first level. The fire fighter to whom the department issues the protective clothing performs the routine inspections.

Your department should train each fire fighter to perform a routine inspection. Your department's standard operating procedures (SOPs) should contain a requirement for each fire fighter to complete a routine inspection of their protective clothing after each use.

Advanced inspections are much more involved. Fire departments can contract with an independent service provider (ISP) to conduct advanced inspections, or train specific personnel for the task. Training for department personnel must come from a verified ISP or the manufacturer of the protective clothing.

In addition to training, advanced inspections require special equipment, including a light for the light test, a bucket with an alcohol mixture for the puddle test, and a pressure apparatus for testing the moisture barrier.

Care and maintenance

The fire department should provide a means for cleaning and decontaminating protective clothing. Routine cleaning is the responsibility of the fire fighter and can be as simple as brushing off debris or rinsing the protective clothing with water.

Advanced cleaning should be performed with approved equipment by trained personnel.

All repairs to protective clothing must be performed by the original manufacturer, ISP, or a member of the fire department who has had training in the repair of protective clothing. The training must come from the manufacturer or a verified ISP.

Storage and retirement

NFPA 1851 provides guidelines on proper storage of protective clothing.

Fire departments should use NFPA 1851 in developing standard operating procedures for special incidents. This includes procedures for handling and maintaining custody of protective clothing worn by fire fighters at incidents where serious injury or fatalities occur.

Departments must destroy or dispose of retired elements in a manner ensuring that they will not be used in any fire fighting or emergency activities, including live fire training. (Departments can continue to use retired elements for training that does not involve live fire.)

For more information

The commission's compliance team can answer your questions about complying with NFPA Standards.

Standards compliance

Compliance program overview

Overview of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection's compliance program.

Compliance notices and alerts

Notices and alerts from the commission's compliance program.

How to comply with NFPA Standards adopted by the commission

A list of NFPA Standards adopted by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection with explanations about how to comply with the standards.

Risk assessment information and templates

Information, templates and guidance to assist departments in performing NFPA 1851-compliant risk assessments for selecting personal protective equipment

Compliance inspection guide (PDF)

This form provides a guide for regulated departments to help prepare for a compliance inspection.

Certified training facility inspection guide (PDF)

This form provides a guide for certified training facilitiesto help prepare for a commission inspection.

Wellness-Fitness Rule (PDF)

An overview of how to meet the requirements of §435.21, Fire Service Joint Labor Management Wellness-Fitness Initiative.