N.F.P.A. Facts

NFPA 1851 standard on selection, care and maintenance of protective ensembles for structural fire fighting and proximity fire fighting 2014 edition.


All P.P.E. shall be cleaned (1) once annually, inspected by an I.S.P., and repaired by an I.S.P. or the manufacturer, as needed.


Advanced inspections of all protective ensemble elements that are issued shall be conducted at a minimum of ever 12 months, or whenever routine inspections indicate that a problem could exist.

General Guidelines

  • Use Tide soap and Dawn Heavy Duty Degreaser only.
  • Water temp not to exceed 105 degrees.
  • Dryer temp not to exceed 105 degrees.
  • Never store gear in direct sunlight.
  • Never use home laundry or dry cleaners.
  • Use only washers & dryers meant for P.P.E.
  • Gear must be tracked.

Record Keeping – Done Right Gear Tracker

The organization shall compile and maintain records on its structural and proximity fire fighting protective ensembles and ensemble elements.

At least the following records shall be kept for each protective ensemble or ensemble element.

  • 1. Person to whom the element is issued to
  • 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. Date(s) and findings advanced inspection(s)
  • 7. Date(s) and findings of advanced cleaning or decontamination
  • 8. Reason for advanced cleaning or decontamination and who performed cleaning or decontamination
  • 9. Date(s) of repair(s) who performed repair(s) and brief description of repair(s)
  • 10. Date of retirement
  • 11. Date and method of disposal

Protecting the public and personnel from contamination

The organization shall develop written SOPs that minimize the publics and the fire department personnel’s exposure to soiled or contaminated structural or proximity fire fighting protective ensembles and ensemble elements. The SOPs shall require that protective ensembles or ensemble elements not be worn or stored in the living areas of fire department facilities.


The public shall not be exposed at anytime except during emergency operations, to soiled or potentially contaminated protective ensembles or ensemble elements. Soiled or potentially contaminated ensembles or ensemble elements shall not be brought into the home, washed in home laundries, or washed in public laundries.

Inspections

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Universal precautions shall be observed, as appropriate when handling ensemble elements.


Any ensemble elements that are found to be soiled or contaminated shall be cleaned or decontaminated before any additional inspection is initiated. Where ensemble elements are found to be contaminated by CBRN agents, the ensemble shall be retired.


The organization shall establish guidelines for its members to follow in determining if an element is soiled to an extent that cleaning is necessary.


The organization shall determine appropriate actions to be taken if an element is found to be in need of cleaning, decontamination, or repair.

Routine inspection

Individual members shall conduct a routine inspection of their protective ensembles and ensemble elements after each use.

Coat and trouser garment elements shall be inspected for the following.

  • 1. Soiling
  • 2. Contamination
  • 3. Physical damage such as the following
                A. Rips, tears, and cuts.
                B. Damaged or missing hardware and closure systems.
                C. Thermal damage (charring, burn holes, melting, discoloration of any layer)
  • 4. Damaged or missing reflective trim.
  • 5. Loss of seam integrity and broken or missing stitches.
  • 6. Correct assembly and size compatibility of shell, liner and the drag rescue device (DRD

Advanced inspection

Advanced inspection and any necessary testing shall be performed by a verified ISP (independent service provider) or the organization’s trained personnel.


The ensemble or ensemble element manufacturer or a verified ISP and the organization shall determine the level of training required to perform advanced inspections. The ensemble or ensemble element manufacturer or verified ISP shall provide written verification of training.


Advanced inspections of all protective ensemble elements shall be conducted at a minimum of every 12 months or whenever routine inspections indicate that a problem could exist.


The findings of the advanced inspection shall be documented on an inspection form.

Interface components

Definition – any material, part, or subassembly used in the construction of the compliant product that provides limited protection to interface areas.


Interface area defined – an area of the body where the protective garments, helmet, gloves, footwear, or SCBA face piece meet. Interface areas include, but are not limited to, the coat / helmet / SCBA face piece area; the coat/trouser area; the coat/glove area; and the trouser/footwear area.

Interface components shall be inspected for the following.

Definition – any material, part, or subassembly used in the construction of the compliant product that provides limited protection to interface areas.


Interface area defined – an area of the body where the protective garments, helmet, gloves, footwear, or SCBA face piece meet. Interface areas include, but are not limited to, the coat / helmet / SCBA face piece area; the coat/trouser area; the coat/glove area; and the trouser/footwear area.

All separable layers of the garment elements shall be inspected for the following:

  • 1. Soiling
  • 2. Contamination
  • 3. Physical damage to all layers, such as the following:    
               A. Rips, tears, cuts, and abrasions
               B. Damaged or missing hardware
               C. Thermal damage, (charring, burn holes, melting, discoloration of any layer)
  • 4. Loss of moisture barrier integrity as indicated by any of the following:
  • 5. Rip, tears, cuts, or abrasions
  • 6. Discoloration
  • 7. Damage
  • 8. Evaluation of system fit and coat/trouser overlap.
  • 9. Loss of seam integrity and broken or missing stitches.
  • 10. Loss of material physical integrity (ultraviolet UV or chemical degradation) as evidenced by discoloration, significant changes in material texture, loss of material strength, loss of liner material, and shifting of liner material. Loss of wristlet elasticity, stretching, runs, cuts, or burn holes.
  • 11. Reflective trim integrity, attachment to garment, reflectivity, or damage.
  • 12. Label integrity and legibility
  • 13. Hook and loop functionality
  • 14. Liner attachment systems.
  • 15. Closure system functionality
  • 16. Accessories for compliance
  • 17. Correct assembly and size compatibility of shell, liner, and DRD (drag rescue device)

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Helmet elements shall be inspected for the following

  • 1. Soiling
  • 2. Contamination
  • 3. Physical damage to the shell such as the following
  • 4. Cracks, dents, and abrasions
  • 5. Thermal damage to the shell (bubbling, soft spots, warping, or discoloration)
  • 6. Physical damage to the ear flaps such as the following
  • 7. Rips, tears, and cuts
  • 8. Thermal damage (charring, burn holes, melting, or discoloration of any layer)
  • 9. Damaged or missing components of the suspension and retention systems
  • 10. Functionality of suspension and retention systems
  • 11. Damaged or missing components of the face shield / goggle system, including discoloration or scratches to the face shield / goggle lens limiting visibility
  • 12. Functionality of face shield / goggle system
  • 13. Damage to the impact cap
  • 14. Damaged or missing reflective trim
  • 15. Accessories for compliance
  • 16. Loss of seam integrity and broken or missing stitches

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Footwear elements shall be inspected for the following:

  • 1. Soiling
  • 2. Contamination
  • 3. Physical damage such as the following – rips, tears, cuts, thermal damage such as cuts, tears, punctures, or splitting.
  • 4. Thermal damage such as charring, burn holes, melting, or discoloration of any layer.
  • 5. Exposed or deformed steel toe, steel mid-sole, or shank.
  • 6. Loss of seam integrity, delamination, or broken or missing stitches.
  • 7. Loss of water resistance, closure system component damage and functionality, excessive tread wear, heel counter failure, accessories for compliance.