Join the conversation on how NFPA standards address PFOAs in firefighter PPE

An updated blog on this topic can be found here.

Currently, there is a lot of attention on the presence of PFOAs in firefighter PPE, the potential impact of PFOAs on firefighter health, and the role of NFPA standards in the continued use of PFOAs. But did you know that NFPA staff does not write NFPA standards? NFPA standards are written by volunteer technical committee members representing a diverse and balanced set of stakeholders. In fact, you play an important role in shaping the requirements of NFPA standards. Here are a few things you should know about how the NFPA standards development process works and how you can participate in the process.

Open to the public. The NFPA standards development process allows anyone (except NFPA staff) to submit input directly to the Technical Committee that is responsible for each standard. As a requirement of our process regulations, the Technical Committee must then provide a response, which may come in the form of a revision (change to the requirements) or an explanation for why the standard was not revised. In addition, all NFPA committee meetings are open to the public, which allows anyone to witness the committee’s deliberations and, when requested, to address the committee directly. This exchange of ideas with people that are subject to or directly affected by the standard is at the core of the NFPA process, which is designed to be open, transparent, and consensus-based.

NFPA 1971 is the current standard. NFPA 1971, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Firefighting and Proximity Firefighting is the standard for firefighter PPE. The 2018 edition contains the current requirements related to firefighter PPE, but it is coming up for revision. The Technical Committee will meet in early 2022 to discuss any proposed changes (Public Input) and consider any revisions that need to be made in the next edition of the standard.

So how can you make your voice heard? How can you submit proposed changes to NFPA 1971?

NFPA 1971 is being consolidated into a new document NFPA 1970. Going forward, all of the requirements and information found in NFPA 1971 will be combined with NFPA 1975, NFPA 1981, and NFPA 1982 to create a new document that will be known as NFPA 1970, tentatively titled Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting; Emergency Services Work Apparel; Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) for Emergency Services; Respirators for Wildland Fire Fighting Operations; Personal Alert Safety Systems (PASS); Breathing Air Quality for Emergency Services Respiratory Protection. (Note: The committees are likely to adopt a shorter title before final publication.) This means that you will be able to submit your suggested change(s), called public input, directly to the draft of the new, consolidated NFPA 1970 and that any proposed changes to the requirements of NFPA 1971 should be submitted to the new document NFPA 1970.

The public input period will extend to early November 2021.

If you are looking for more information about the emergency response and responder safety (ERRS) document consolidation project, please visit nfpa.org/ERRS. This page contains the updated, relevant information about the consolidated standards and the project schedule, as well as other information on the project’s purpose and goals.

Once NFPA 1970 is open for Public Input, you will be able to submit any proposed changes you feel the Technical Committee should consider and why you are proposing them.

STAY UP TO DATE - Sign-up for e-mail alerts at nfpa.org/1970. Signing-up for e-mail alerts is the best way to be notified whenever the page is updated. The page allows you to stay informed of the latest information about NFPA 1970, including the document revision history and the development of the next edition. In addition to automatic Alerts, you can also access the public input submission system, apply for membership on the Technical Committee, ask a technical question (for NFPA members and public sector officials only), find related news, or see any related products in NFPA’s catalog.

Need any help or have any additional questions? NFPA staff is here to assist. As the neutral facilitators of the NFPA standards development process, we ensure that you are able to participate and that your voice is heard. Contact Chris Farrell or Barry Chase.

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Chris Dubay
VP, Engineering and Chief Engineer

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