Most recently the NPFA has issued changes to its’ standard for “Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus for Emergency Services”, aka NFPA 1981. As emergency service personnel we all should become familiar with this standard and how the changes affect us. The new changes take effect on Aug. 31 2013
The NFPA has provided free access to this document and we have provided a link to their page. If you are not a member you will need to register to read this standard, or any other standard, on the NFPA site. Registriation takes only minutes.
In short changes involve:
1. Low pressure alarm points have been changed from 25% to 33%.
2. The EBSS, or the buddy breathing option, is now part of the standard. It remains an option but if purchased it must conform to the 1981 standard on EBSS. Unfortunately it still remains an option on the SCBA and not a mandatory item.
4. Technical and safety changes for the heads up display or HUD.
5. More stringent facepiece testing. High heat and flame and radiant heat tests have been added.
6. Introduction of new voice intelligibility test. This also includes requiring a mechanical speaking system as a backup.